dadcrafting the (at home) Car Wash

  by Erik Wolgemuth

The arrival of the weekend also often means the arrival of a to-do list. A father seasoned in his dadcraft views this list not as a something to blitz (though occasionally such an offensive is required) but rather as an opportunity to engage with his kids creatively as well as productively. With that in mind, the at-home car wash is a bi-weekly (or so) chore that can easily incorporate kids of all ages. What kid (or father for that matter) doesn’t relish being on the business end of a spraying hose?

However, if you find yourself with a younger child or two helping your at-home vehicular detailing work, you’ll discover that some common sense is missing in their cleaning technique. For instance: siblings and/or parents become hose targets; interior spray washing takes on newfound focus and importance; and premature ragging on dry, dirty car paneling is essentially a homemade 120-grit sandpaper buffing. Such gaps in common sense will significantly impede your progress and results.

A simple solution here is to find another object for them to wash without excusing them from the premises. I’ve found that a garage full of bikes, tricycles, scooters, and such provides the perfect solution. All you’ll need in addition to your typical car washing supplies are a few extra cloths for the kids’ work. They spray, soap, rinse just like dad and the ownership of the task and their hard work is a pleasure to observe. They plug away on their toys, you plug away on yours…and yet, the experience is one enjoyed together. This can quite easily become something of a tradition – the next time you start gathering up your washing supplies, their respective vehicles will line up next to yours.

dadcraft Pro Tip: Since bikes will be assembled in some sort of order out of the garage, use the opportunity to perform some basic bike maintenance. Lightly oil chains (especially because they just got washed), check air in tires, etc.


After the car is washed, maybe it’s time to make a donut run. Or head inside for a little coloring.

Picture by Sebastian Pichler; Used via Unsplash license.