Wash rack


A wash rack typically consists of an enclosure, mechanics, and plumbing for washing, reclaiming and recycling wash water. With federal, state and local clean water regulations mandating zero discharge or some form of pollution prevention, wash racks are becoming a must-have for most commercial vehicles and industrial operations.

Wash rack, wash pad, wash bay: all industry terms that refer to a partially enclosed platform or concrete area for washing dirt, grime, contaminants, chemicals, and invasive species off vehicles and vehicle parts. Cars, trucks, boats, construction and maintenance equipment, and even aircraft can take advantage of the benefits of wash racks.

Wash racks can be made of plastic, but metal is the standard (steel is preferred). They are often referred to as containment racks or containment pads because the object is to contain not only the solids but also the wash water and prevent it from spilling out onto the ground. Typically, ‘containment pads’ refer to permanent concrete areas, but that is not exclusive.


Across the country and around the world, the need for washing vehicles correctly is becoming an important factor in everyone’s environmental compliance.

Wash bays keep mud and sludge, harmful chemicals, noxious weed seeds, invasive species, and other nasty stuff from draining off in the ground or sewer, polluting our rivers and streams or spreading harmful vegetation. Read about compliance throughout this site.

Wash bays should do a lot more than create a safe zone for vehicle washing. They need to be equipped with powerful water or foam spray systems, including under carriage nozzles, that wash off damaging grime.

They should filter and contain that harmful run-off, and then reuse the filtered wash (waste) water. When it comes to rugged equipment, there are two types of wash racks: semi-permanent steel? Or permanent concrete. Each option is specifically tailored to the kind of equipment and particular needs of your company or organization.


Any endeavor that aims for success needs thorough planning, and developing a strategic approach towards a vehicle wash rack plan is no exception. This isn’t simply about ticking objectives off of a checklist but about laying down the groundwork and infrastructure for an efficient, successful, and environmentally-friendly operation.

In the early discussions around the approach, it’s important to shift the focus to the nitty-gritty of the planning process rather than jumping straight to contacting suppliers. It’s essential to identify all the needs of the project to ensure they are catered for in the plan.

Delving Deep into Pollution Prevention – A Fundamental Aspect

Every excellent wash rack system gives due importance to pollution prevention, making it a chief priority. To do this effectively, start with a simple question: How many vehicles will the wash rack service daily?

This answer helps estimate the potential pollution scale and, thus, establish an effective runoff management strategy. Within the realm of wash racks, pollution prevention isn’t restricted merely to potential waste but also covers future contamination risks. This implies identifying potential contamination sources, such as oil residues and chemical runoff, and formulating strategies to mitigate them. Doing so ensures the wash rack system’s longevity and operational functionality.

Striking the Correct Balance – Solvents and Wash Water Assessment

With pollution prevention laid out, the next immediate concern is the assessment of solvents and wash water. Again, the answer often lies in asking the right question: What type of materials will the wash rack predominantly deal with?

Depending on your answer, various solvents will be necessary to handle mud, clay, HazMat, or other matter effectively. Here, the goal isn’t simply to opt for the most potent solvent but to strike a harmony between cleaning efficiency and eco-friendliness. This implies exploring solvent alternatives that align with sustainability goals while ensuring minimal compromise on cleaning performance.

Choosing between Stationary and Movable Setup – A Crucial Decision

Yet another pivotal decision in the planning process is whether to opt for a stationary or movable setup. The key considerations here revolve around practical logistics:

  • Is there sufficient access to power and water for the facilities?
  • Is there a need to protect the setup from freezing temperatures?

These requirements will significantly influence the most fitting choice between the two options. A wash rack’s setup should be in tune with your operational demands and the nature of your business, considering aspects like stability, adaptability, power, and water accessibility, along with environmental considerations.

Embracing Sustainability – The Importance of Recycling Wash Water

Implementing a sustainable approach is paramount in today’s context. A specific point of interest here is the recycling of wash water. Understanding your recycling needs and which technologies will best meet those needs is crucial for maintaining sustainable practices.

In the broader environmental conservation context, the recycling of wash water isn’t merely a recommended practice – it’s a testament to responsibility towards our environment. Embracing advanced technologies for efficient recycling minimizes waste and effectively communicates your sustainability commitment.

Equipment Selection – The Role of Specific Needs

Understanding the equipment being washed, how frequently the cleaning will occur, and the types of materials that need to be removed from the vehicles will influence your equipment selection. This information will guide you in choosing the right equipment and cleaning processes.

It’s important to remember that different vehicles or machinery might require different cleaning levels. By tailoring the wash rack setup to meet these unique needs, you can guarantee efficient maintenance operations and potentially prolong your equipment’s lifespan.

Enhance Space Efficiency – Optimize Your Area

One common challenge in executing a vehicle wash rack system is effectively utilizing your available space. The area you have accessible for washing operations will significantly influence the optimal layout and space utilization.

Mastering space efficiency includes assessing the available area for washing operations, maximizing space utilization, optimizing workflow, and minimizing environmental impacts – these are all key considerations that play a vital role.

Meeting Legal Requirements – The Importance of Compliance

Lastly, but most certainly crucial, is ensuring that all operations are in compliance with EPA, State, and Municipal regulations. Understanding what specific regulations apply to your area and operation is foundational to achieving legal compliance.

Compliance with laws and regulations is non-negotiable, and your wash rack plan should guarantee you meet all these requirements. Non-compliance can lead to not only regulatory penalties and financial backlash but even damage your reputation, hence the importance of this aspect.

From pollution prevention to compliance, every aspect plays a crucial role in building a comprehensive and efficient vehicle wash rack. By paying attention to detail, asking the right questions, and incorporating the answers into your plan, you can shape an operational model that is rooted in efficiency, effectiveness, and responsibility.


Oil, mud, grease, heavy metals, soaps, detergents, and other chemicals and particulate matter are all substances that build up on industrial vehicles, trucks and worksites. It’s important to have a system in place that cleans equipment and disposes of wash water and debris properly to prevent these substances from becoming pollutants.

Industrial wash racks should feature water treatment and filtration systems to clean the water recycling systems ensure an eco-friendly operation. These closed-loop systems offer 100% water reclamation systems designed for industrial users who want to clean and degrease parts, large tools and equipment on their shop floor or manufacturing plant?

Look for a low profile 5? High rack with full width ramp for easy and safe access for even unsteady equipment like forklifts, man lifts, dollies and maintenance equipment.

You’re really addressing two issues: creating a movable and enclosed washing area, while also assuring effluent can be adequately processed for proper discharge for sustainable, compliant operations.


  • The above ground wash racks are ideal in places where the operator must meet track-out requirements without acquiring leasehold improvements.
  • The right wash rack will reduce your material and labor costs to keep your equipment clean.
  • On site wash racks eliminate the need to use commercial car or truck washes.
  • Wash water recycling cuts water usage, detergent and solvent usage
  • Eliminate fines and stop work orders: comply with local, state and federal regulations on proper wash water disposal.
  • Concrete containment pads are designed for heavy or medium mud loads often associated with trenchers, garbage trucks, street sweepers, dump trucks and many other pieces of equipment.
  • No construction required. Above ground wash racks are ideal on properties in which a semi-permanent installation is preferred.