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Four Eco-Friendly Tips for Washing Your Car

COMMUNITY CENTERClean Water & WaterwaysYard & LandscapingMar 26, 2014Guest Contributor

Author: Guest Contributor

Lots of Americans love to keep their cars clean, especially if they have a classic that they are proud to own and show off. Because of that, some eight million cars are washed at car washes every day and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend a whopping $5.8 billion at car washes each year. While that might help keep neighborhoods looking nice, washing cars can make waterways not so nice. Fortunately, there are lots of great green car care tips for car owners who want to keep their ride sparkling without damaging waterways.

Go Professional

Commercial car wash facilities are greener than you might think! Commercial car washes send dirty water into the sanitary sewer system not the storm drains. This prevents the road muck from your undercarriage from polluting local waterways. And while you might think that commercial car washes use a lot of water, many actually recycle some of the wash water for reuse. So save yourself the work and go for a professional cleaning in the name of being green.


Blasting the hose as hard as you can at bugs and debris that build up on your car might be the easiest way to get it ready for soap. Heck, it might even be kind of fun. However, it wastes water and is unnecessary. By scraping away bugs or dirt clumps beforehand, you will be able to wash your car without using as much water, making a little bit of prep work a great green car care idea.

Check Your Soap

Car washing soap comes in all different varieties. Choose one that is biodegradable, phosphate-free and water-based.  Doing so will prevent harmful chemicals from entering the environment and polluting soil and waterways.

Get Off the Driveway

Runoff from washing cars is a significant cause of water pollution and is relatively easy to minimize. By moving your car to a natural permeable surface (grass, dirt, or gravel), runoff will soak into the ground and natural microbes will act as a filter to remove some of the compounds from the wash water. This helps reduce the amount of dangerous pollutants that enter storm drains and flow to local rivers and streams.

Dry Wash

Though sponges, buckets, and hoses are part of the tradition of cleaning cars, you don’t always need them. There are a number of great waterless car wash products that are eco-friendly and help you go green.

In a perfect world, cars would never get dirty and drivers would never have to worry about taking the time out of their day to wash off dirt and grime. But, the world isn’t perfect, and washing the car is a regular chore for many Americans. Thankfully, there are lots of helpful green car care tips that allow drivers to keep their car clean without wasting water or harming the environment.



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