Aberrant DNA methylation could potentially serve as a biomarker for colorectal neoplasms. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of using DNA methylation detected in bowel lavage fluid (BLF) for colorectal cancer screening. A total of 508 BLF specimens were collected from patients with colorectal cancer (n = 56), advanced adenoma (n = 53), minor polyp (n = 209), and healthy individuals (n = 190) undergoing colonoscopy. Methylation of 15 genes (miR-1-1, miR-9-1, miR-9-3, miR-34b/c, miR-124-1, miR-124-2, miR-124-3, miR-137, SFRP1, SFRP2, APC, DKK2, WIF1, LOC386758, and ZNF582) was then analyzed in MethyLight assays, after which receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were analyzed to assess the diagnostic performance of BLF methylation. Through analyzing BLF specimens in a training set (n = 345), we selected the three genes showing the greatest sensitivity for colorectal cancer detection (miR-124-3, 71.8%; LOC386758, 79.5%; and SFRP1, 74.4%). A scoring system based on the methylation of those three genes (M-score) achieved 82% sensitivity and 79% specificity, and the area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.834. The strong performance of this system was then validated in an independent test set (n = 153; AUC = 0.808). No significant correlation was found between M-score and the clinicopathologic features of the colorectal cancers. Our results demonstrate that DNA methylation in BLF specimens may be a useful biomarker for the detection of colorectal cancer.