Blog    |    Plastic Tanks for Mobile Auto Detailing

plastic tanks for mobile detailing

Our world has never been so full of information. We have access to enough data to fill mountains of computers and countless numbers of documents, and we carry this around in our pocket today. With nothing more than a phone and a WiFi signal, we can run a business and make more than our ancestors made with back-breaking labor. We are rich in information and ways to connect with clients. However, we continue to be more and more starved for time in our lives.

Basic things like getting groceries, paying bills, or going to a meeting are now being done online or being delivered to us to save us the time of driving to the store. We cannot seem to come up with enough innovations to help us save time. We don’t even have time to clean our cars properly.

Fast Money Freelancing

That’s where you come in. With the help of plastic water tanks for mobile detailing, you can offer car detailing and cleaning, and you can bring these services to your customers instead of waiting for them to come to you. This is far superior to taking out scrub buckets and trying to get customers in parking lots, especially after trying to get permission to even be there.


Mobile car detailing can be a professional occupation where you make house or office calls, perhaps setting up appointments and payments online. There is only one thing holding you back from starting your own mobile auto detailing business right now: a plastic tank for mobile auto detailing.

Plastic tanks for mobile detailing

Pressure Washer Water Tanks

A 100-gallon poly tank will fit in a pickup truck, trailer, or van and are a popular size for mobile auto detailers. This gives you enough water to get through a day. Depending on how liberally you use your water, you can expect to get 10-15 cars washed with one full tank. Since the typical mobile detailer does between two and six autos each day, a 100-gallon tank is plenty large enough to get you through a very busy day, and then some.

Since this tank will spend hours in the daylight, it is important that you purchase a tank made with UV-protected polyethylene resin, specific for outdoor storage. Often plastics exposed to sunlight will leach chemicals into the water they hold. When using water to clean and detail vehicles, these chemicals are not your biggest concern. However, the algae, which grows in water exposed to sunlight, will cause you problems. It will contaminate your clean water, sticking to the cars and trucks you are cleaning, and it will clog up your pump, causing it to fail eventually.

Pressure Pumps for Plastic Tanks

You will need an excellent commercial pump to help you with your auto detailing business. These come in both electric and gas powered models. Gas powered pumps are probably more practical for mobile auto detailing operations because you may not have access to electricity. That would leave you in need of a gas-powered generator which would put you back using gas power again. Commercial pumps are not cheap, but you can get a good pressure pump with a soap injector for around $2000. You may choose to invest in a special Foam Gun as well as a standard spray gun to help lather your vehicles.

Soap for Mobile Auto Detailing

You will probably need to invest in a smaller plastic tank to store your soap as well. Many regular kinds of soap (hand soap, dishwashing detergent, glass cleaner, etc.) are too abrasive to use on auto paint. They will strip off the protective wax coat. Once that coat is removed, the paint will become susceptible to the harmful UV rays from the sun, which will cause it to fade prematurely. Make sure you use a soap designed specifically for automobiles.

There are four categories to consider when looking at automobile soaps.

  1. The first is how much foam forms. The foamier your soap is, the better it will clean the vehicles. Those tiny suds capture the dirt particles and lift them away from the paint when you rinse the car off. More foam equals better quality soap.
  2. The second category is the PH Balance. You want to make sure your soap is not too acidic. Acidic soaps often leave behind an acidic residue which can be harmful to the paint on your vehicles.
  3. The third category is lubricity. How slippery is the soap? The more slippery it is, the better it will clean and the safer it will be on your automobiles. Lubricity ensures that all the dirt particles leave the body of the car when it is rinsed. Make sure your soap is very slippery.
  4. The final category to consider is biodegradability. You want to be sure that your soap is not causing pollution. This is especially important if you are running a mobile unit and may be washing and rinsing vehicles on property that neither you nor your customers own. Polluting the property by leaving harmful soap residues may get you in legal trouble. Make sure your soap is biodegradable.

There are three different kinds of soaps you may use in mobile auto detailing work.

  1. The first is Strip Shampoo. This is a special kind of soap that is only used when you need to polish scratches and are going to completely re-wax the vehicle. It is best to keep this in a separate plastic tank, so it does not get mixed in accidentally with other soaps. Be sure to use a stripping shampoo that is specific for automobiles rather than just trying to use a harsher general soap. You want to evenly strip the waxy coating away without damaging the paint underneath.
  2. The second is a Wash and Wax Shampoo. This is a mid-grade kind of car shampoo that cleans and restores the paint’s waxy protective layer without completely removing it. This is a great soap to use if the car is not terribly dirty, or as a second wash. You don’t want to accidentally wax in any of those dirt particles on your automobiles.
  3. The last kind of soap is general use auto shampoo. This is the most common kind of soap used in auto detailing. It cleans without damaging the car’s paint wax and is the mildest of the three types of auto shampoo. This is the kind of shampoo you will want to keep on hand in a smaller plastic tank of your own for convenient access and easy storage.


With all of these soaps, be sure you rinse the car well. This is why it may be essential to have a tank, as big as 100 gallons perhaps, which can provide you with the clean water you need to do your mobile auto detailing work. The last thing you need to occur is to run out of water, requiring you to leave your client’s vehicle out, covered with soap suds. That will not get you repeat customers.

Speaking of rinsing, there is a new rinsing mat that mobile auto detailers use to help avoid spilling, control water runoff, and even reclaim used water. This is a large, inflatable, polyvinyl mat which forms “bumpers” around the outside edges of vehicles to prevent water runoff. The water can easily be reclaimed with a wet/dry vacuum. This is a vital addition to your mobile auto detailing business. There is only one thing you will need to use this on the go: your client’s keys.

If you can get your client’s automobile moved onto, and the off the mat, you will be good to go. They can come in sizes up to 10×20 feet which allows you to handle almost any vehicle, including stretch limousines. This rinsing mat will go a long way in keeping you eco-friendly and keeping your clients amazed at how you can pull up to their office or home, move your car to an open spot in the parking lot, and have their car sparkling and clean, with little sign of water anywhere around it. In fact, it might impress their neighbors and co-workers so much that one appointment may turn into a full day of work (and the pay to take home with it.)

Mobile auto detailing is not a cheap investment, but it is readily available work that you can do with just a bit of training. To do it well, you will need several thousand dollars worth of equipment. Depending upon your location though, you may make that all back in less than a week, leaving you with an income of several thousand dollars a week afterward. Don’t cut corners and settle for less valuable equipment and plastic tanks that fill up with algae and plug up your other equipment. Make sure you get plastic tanks for mobile auto detailing so that your business gets a reputation for fantastic quality, quick service, and plenty of open appointments so that your customers cannot wait to see your truck or van pull up to wash and detail their vehicle.

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