Washing your car may not be your favorite chore but it does offer extra movement. In turn, you burn a few calories when washing cars.
Some rough estimations are that the average person will burn around 103 – 178+ calories per 30 minutes of washing a car at a moderate effort.
You do want to keep in mind that details like your body weight, body composition, exact washing intensity, and more will influence your actual results.
Additionally, it is fair to say that there are many sports and activities that are more effective than washing a car for burning calories.
This article will also go over more detailed estimations, how you can burn more calories while washing a car, and more.
Estimations calories burned washing cars
Some cheat sheets simply how many calories you burn while hand washing and waxing a car into between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).
That being said, you can also get more precise estimations with MET values.
These MET values are basically estimations (or measurements) of how physically intense certain activities are.
You can then use the MET value of something like washing a car in the formula below to get calorie-burning estimations.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
One source mentions an MET of 3.5 for washing a car at a moderate effort (2).
To save you the time of taking out a calculator, you can find the results of using this MET for different time intervals and body weights in the table below.
It is important to note that these are still rough estimations.
In reality, there are details that influence your results but are not part of the formula above.
Calories burned while washing cars
You will likely find it most convenient to put a number on how many calories you burn per time frame of washing a car.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||3 calories||52 calories||103 calories||155 calories||207 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||4 calories||64 calories||128 calories||192 calories||256 calories|
|185 Pounds (84 kg)||5 calories||76 calories||153 calories||229 calories||306 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||6 calories||89 calories||178 calories||267 calories||356 calories|
Influences on calories burned while washing a car
As briefly mentioned getting the calorie burning estimations right for washing a car (and other activities) is hard to do.
The main reason for this is that there are just so many hard-to-measure details that influence your results.
At the same time, there are still a few factors that influence the calories burned with car washing a lot.
Knowing what these factors are can help you get better estimations and increase your results during each session.
Some of these big factors are:
- Body weight: How much you weigh influences how much energy your body uses to move. This applies to washing a car too.
- Muscle mass: Two people can weigh the same number of pounds but have different amounts of muscle mass. This will influence the calories burned while washing a car slightly.
- Intensity: There is a difference between leisurely cleaning your car in the sunshine and really trying to finish the task as fast as possible. This second intensity tends to burn more calories per minute.
Ways to burn more calories while washing cars
From the previous section, it should be clear that there are a few ways you can burn more calories while washing a car.
Picking up the pace is the main way to burn more calories per minute of car washing.
This tends to be valuable since many people struggle with finding the time to move more.
In theory, you could wear a weighted vest or wrist weights while washing your car too.
Because your body is to move more weight, it will have to burn more energy for the same movements.
Additionally, you can implement resistance training workouts to build more muscle mass.
This extra healthy weight will have a similar effect as the previous option to burn more calories while car washing.
Can you lose weight from washing cars?
Seeing the number of calories you burn is fun but even more fun would be losing some weight on top of getting a clean car.
Before going into some theoretical examples, you need to know that your actual results will depend a lot on other lifestyle habits like your diet.
That being said, let’s say a 155-pound (70 kg) person hits a weight plateau and decides to wash all the cars in the neighborhood to see results again.
In that case, this person would burn an extra 1280 calories or about 0.37 pounds (0.16 kg) of body fat after washing cars for 5 hours.
If this sounds like the situation you are in, you do want to keep in mind that when you stop washing cars and don’t change anything else, you slowly regain the weight.
Muscles used when washing cars
When washing cars, you mainly use muscles like your deltoids (shoulders), chest, triceps (back upper arms), biceps (front upper arms), trapezius (upper back), obliques, and abs.
Additionally, you work your glutes (butt), hip flexors, hamstrings (back thighs), quadriceps (front thighs), and calves to a tiny extent.
You may see small amounts of endurance improvements in these areas after many car washing sessions.
At the same time, you should not expect any growth or strength increases in these areas.
If this is your goal, you want to turn to resistance training exercises instead.
Is car wash a good workout to burn calories?
Washing a car by hand does burn some calories but it is not the best workout for this purpose.
You should see any results as a small bonus on top of having a cleaner car.
If you don’t necessarily need to do this task, it is typically smart to turn to other activities and sports that burn more calories.
Some at-home friendly examples include running, jumping jacks, and high knees.
Even if you wear a weighted vest or build muscle to burn more calories while washing your car.