Car wash kit resources
Keep pollution out of our streams and Puget Sound
For community or charity fundraising events, choose a more environmentally friendly way to go or sell tickets to professional car washes through the Puget Sound Car Wash Association's Charity Car Wash program (external link).
How to build and operate your own car wash kit
To build your own car wash kit you will need the following:
- Storm drain insert: a plastic tub that is inserted into the storm drain after the grate is removed. The pump is placed inside the tub insert. (Once the tub is filled with soapy water it is pumped out through the attached hose.) The tub insert needs to fit the size of the open storm drain. You may have to purchase a tub insert for this purpose from a company that makes Car Wash Kits.
- Pump: (Small 1/6 (one-sixth) horsepower submersible sump pump).
- GFCI adapter plug - Ground-Fault Circuit Interruptor (Class A).
- 100 foot hose (garden hose 5/8” – minimum 50’) to connect pump to sink or toilet.
- 100 foot electrical cord (electrical extension cord, 16 gauge).
- 1 economy grate puller – caution, the grate is heavy.
- 2 or more orange safety road cones to go around the open grate.
- Traffic vests for safety.
- 1 heavy duty nylon carry bag or any type of container to put all kit items in for storage.
Most of these items can be purchased at local hardware stores. Safety items, such as road cones and vests, may be more difficult to find. National Barricade* (206 523-4045) in north King County sells safety equipment.
How to use your car wash kit.
- Locate the nearest storm drain, electrical plug in and sink and/or toilet. (The storm drain should be located where the water from the car wash will drain.)
- Put on your traffic vests.
- Set up your road cones in the street next to your storm drain.
- Pull up the storm drain grate using a metal hook. Caution: the grate will be very heavy. Avoid injury.
- Place the tub in the catch basin. (This is the opening after the grate is removed.) Make sure the safety road cones are around this opening to prevent someone from falling or driving into the drain.
- Attach the hose to the pump.
- Attach the electrical cord to the pump cord. Put it in the tub.
- The directions with the pump will tell you when to plug it in. You may need water in the tub before turning on the pump.
- Place the other end of the hose into the nearest toilet, sink or floor drain.
- Follow all safety instructions with any equipment or kits purchased.
Where to buy a car wash kit
These local businesses sell car wash kits. (King County does not recommend or endorse these suppliers or their products.)
Bowhead Environmental & Safety, LLC
1420 NW Gilman Boulevard, #2145
Issaquah, WA 98027
1-800-909-3677 Fax: 888-234-3677
GEOMAT™ Patented Waste Water Recovery System
A Division of Executive Auto Care, Inc.
Car wash resources and alternativesUsing a professional car wash is always preferrable to washing a car on pavement to avoid sending pollutants into nearby water bodies. Locate a car wash or a green auto detailing business near you using the below resources. If you are a small or medium business, you may be eligible for a Local Hazardous Waste Program incentive to prevent harmful chemicals from going down the drain.
- Puget Sound Car Wash Association (PSCWA) (External Link)
PSCWA offers a great, environmentally-friendly alternative for fundraising. Non-profit organizations can sell tickets redeemable at over 30 environmentally-friendly, professional car washes throughout the Puget Sound area. Most commercial car washes recycle water, use less water per car and remove solids before discharging wastewater to the sanitary sewer. So instead of letting water quality go down the drain, raise funds through ticket sales.
PSCWA Hotline: 1-800-509-9274.
- Local Hazardous Waste Program in King County - Voucher Incentive Program
Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from the Voucher Incentive Program (VIP) by partnering with waste management consultants to reduce the amount of chemicals going down the drain. Call 206-263-3080.
- Waterworks grant
Sponsors of charity car washes and jurisdictions are eligible to apply for a WaterWorks Small Change grant up to $2,499 to purchase carwash kits, provided the kits are used in the Green-Duwamish or the Sammamish Cedar watersheds and that the applicant can demonstrate that the kits will be frequently used and/or made available to the community.
- Advanced Mobile, LLC (external link)
Vehicle cleaning service
- Washington State Department of Ecology (external link)
Car Washing and Stormwater Permits