Determining Factors for Purchasing a New Bus Wash System

By Jack Jackson

The determining factors districts should consider when spec’ing a new bus wash system are budget versus wash frequency versus cost-per-wash. Since washing is an expense, not a revenue source, it is imperative that the most effective way to wash for the district should always be the most efficient and ecological way.

Purchasing Considerations

We believe cost-per-wash is the most effective way to measure. We can easily help with the math of all the methods available. For Awash, our system over the lifetime (more than 15 years), including capital cost, yearly maintenance and human labor works out to $2.00 per wash. 

References and referrals are the best ways to find a wash system manufacturer. First, find a company or agency with a similar-sized fleet and similar washing desires. That is the first step toward understanding the good, bad, and ugly situations they experienced in their washing history.

Secondly, match your budget to the needs of your operation. Do you want to wash weekly, monthly, or seasonally? 

Thirdly, for vendors – current customers are our best references. Go visit to see what suits your operations culture and needs. Understand the supplier / vendor’s history of years in business and service availability.

Environmental Factors

Regardless of weather or road conditions, all vehicles must be washed to maintain integrity. Oxidation will set in regardless of weather or road conditions. Brushing is the only way to effectively eliminate oxidation. Friction and contact by the brushes will remove all contaminants, dirt, and oxidation. Brushes do not scratch, only the dirt imbedded in brushes scratch, so keep your brushes clean by using soap.

Water usage, environmentally friendly chemicals, and electric costs are the top three environmental factors which affect bus washing. 

A Tower Wash machine uses only five amps of electricity to run and five minutes to wash a bus. The requirements only five gallons of water and one ounce of soap per minute, per cycle of wash and rinse. Our Awash soap is non-foaming and biodegradable.

Chemicals and Wash Products

For a Tower Wash system, the only chemical needed is biodegradable, non-foaming soap that is fed by a direct injector to the machine. The system can utilize any other chemicals or soap products, as well as recycled and reclaimed water. In washing, simplicity is strength as brushes do the cleaning and soap cleans the brushes.

Concluding Thoughts

Cost-per-wash is the best metric to solve any budgeting need. Set your needs, work out the costs and figure out what wash system works best to your cost. Vendors like us can help with a template to figure out what your cost per wash is today and what you would like your cost pe wash to be.

Awash Systems products suit all motorcoach or transit bus applications from the largest to the smallest, inside a building or outside in a parking lot. Washing a bus in less than five minutes, we have customers with less than 10 buses and others with over 1,000 buses.

Jack Jackson is president of Awash Systems Corp. “We solve vehicle washing issues where no one else can.” Email: or call 1-800-265-7405. Visit