The Bike Wash (a how-to guide)

do it yourself bike wash tutorial

It started the way most things start around our house… we were already plenty busy that day. We had friends coming over in the afternoon and we planned to spend our morning running errands. We did the whole ‘divide and conquer’ thing.

And then it happened. I texted Josh and said, “hey, pick up the stuff to make this since you’re going to Lowe’s anyway.” And I texted him a picture of this awesome kiddie bike wash I saw on Pinterest.

And that’s how it all started. Three trips to Lowe’s and one trip to Wal-Mart later (plus about 4 hours), we had our bike wash hooked up to the hose and we were praying that it would work properly.

Much to our surprise (yes, surprise… we’re not great DIY’ers), it actually worked! We invited some more friends over and before you know it, we had 9 little people (and a few big ones!) running through the bike wash and riding bikes through it.

Now, let me tell you, it was not super fun to make so many trips to the store! It was really HOT outside that day! And the kids were super antsy.

So, just in case you want to make one of these bad boys yourself, here’s the complete list of everything you need to buy (so you only have to make one trip to the store… you’re welcome!) and just how to assemble this contraption. Have fun!

Supplies Needed :
65 Feet of 1/2 inch PVC pipe
1    foot of 3/4 inch PVC pipe
6 PVC caps – 1/2 inch (for the ends of the pipe)
2 cross adapters – 1/2 inch
15 PVC Tee adapters
1 PVC 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch adapter
8 1/2 slip elbows
1 garden hose adapter
PVC cement & purple primer (we bought a combo pack with both at Lowe’s but I couldn’t find it online)
paint (if you want to paint it… we used spray paint and needed 2 cans)
rope (to tie on the sponges… we used less than 10 feet total)
sponges (we used 4 big ones, but you could use any size or quantity)
vinyl tablecloths (we used 3 because I wanted 3 different colors, but I cut them in half first, so we still have an extra set of “streamers”)

bike wash supplies

Tools Needed:
Drill (to drill the holes for the water to come out of) & 5/64 drill bit (5/64 is perfect size so the holes aren’t too big and you lose all water pressure)
Scissors (to cut a hole in the sponges to tie the rope through)
Tape measure (to measure the PVC before cutting)
Saw (to cut the PVC into the proper lengths)
Patience 🙂

1. Go shopping (we got the tablecloths, sponges, and rope at Wal-Mart. Everything else came from Lowe’s)
2. Measure the PVC and cut into proper lengths
You need to cut your 1/2 in PVC pipe into the following:
10 2.5 ft poles
20   1 ft poles
4   2 ft poles
3   4 ft poles

Cut 1 ft of 3/4 in PVC pipe

3. Assemble the sides using the diagram below… glue all the joints except the ones noted in the diagram.  We built ours so that in the winter when we need to store it, it will collapse easily.  To do this there were 9 places that we did not glue the pipe together.

bike wash diagram

4. Paint (optional)
5. Attach top rows
6. Drill holes wherever you want.  We drilled them in the pipes on the top and middle rows.
7. Assemble sponges… cut hole in sponge and tie rope through… tie other end of rope to top of last row as shown in picture below
8. Lay out your tablecloths and stack them on top of each other. Cut 2-3 inch strips from bottom to about 3-4 inches from the top to make streamers. Tape to last row on top. Note: I cut my table cloths in half first because they were really big.
9. Attach hose. Turn on water. Run through first to make sure it works properly 😉 (Note: It took about 2-3 minutes of the water running full blast before it started to shoot out all of the holes, so have patience!)

Another note: We did not glue the top rows or the side stabilizers on because we wanted to be able to take it apart and store it in the garage during the winter (you know, and still have enough room to park the cars in there!). If you glued everything, it would definitely be a lot more sturdy.

The first picture was our initial drawing and gives you another view of how it will look put together.  We modified it a little as we went on to the drawing above.  We also hope that this is not super confusing, and sorry if it is.

homemade bike wash building

pvc bike wash built for the kids

kids playing in water bike car wash


Josh Solar (624 Posts)

I am a: Joy Seeker. Big Dreamdoer. Family Adventurer. Connoisseur of fine music. Practitioner of Gratitude. Painter of Watercolors.

Yesenia Emeric
Yesenia Emeric

YAY! totally excited to have won the Road Trip in a Box! thanks again :)


Awww, man, I'm so bummed. :( Oh well! I already entered the giveaway for the other one. One way or another, I'm going to get one. Did you happen to get any photos of my crazies using the bize wash? Just curious! I love the complete instructions. Maybe this will make somebody else's life easier! :)

Kyle O'Neill
Kyle O'Neill

Yeah! (Well, Bummer that I didn't win the Road Trip in a Box) But Yeah! Because I've been excited about getting a how-to on the drive-thru bike wash since the teaser video earlier this summer! What a great idea, and I can't wait to try it out!


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