Car Wash License

You must have a Car Wash license if your business cleans vehicles, including washing, detailing, drying, polishing, vacuuming, or other cosmetic care of vehicles, either at a fixed location or as part of a mobile, on-demand, or “pop-up” service. 

You can apply:

  • In person at the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Licensing Center in Manhattan or NYC Small Business Support Center in Queens. OR
  • Online using the DCA Business Toolbox at

You do not need a Car Wash license if you:

  • Sell, lease, rent, or repair motor vehicles as your main service and only offer car washing as an additional service to this main service. (For example, your business is a repair shop and you wash the cars that you repair.)
  • Operate a self-service facility for washing vehicles where customers—not facility employees—clean vehicles.
  • Clean vehicles on an intermittent basis to raise funds for a not-for-profit organization.
  • Are a federal, state, or local governmental agency.