Looking for a more eco-friendly way to keep your car clean? Scrubbing up in the driveway probably isn’t your best option. When you wash your vehicle at home, the water runs off into the drains, and all that soap ends up wherever your drains go . . . often a lake or river.
That’s not a good thing, unless you are using eco-friendly products. Fortunately, there are a number of other options when it comes to keeping your vehicle sparkling.
Take It to a Pro
Washing your car at home can use up to 150 gallons of water. Not only is this a waste, it’s actually prohibited in some areas where there are water shortages. Professional car washes use 20-40 gallons of water, which is a significant improvement. While this isn’t the best option for green cleaning, it’s your best choice of the two.
While it may not sound like a good way to get something clean, a waterless cleanser can actually work very well. These cleansers are spritzed onto the vehicle, where they collect dust and dirt with electrostatic. You simply need to wipe the vehicle down with a soft cloth to remove all that dirt and leave the car gleaming.
Today, there are a few waterless cleaners on the market, including EcoTouch Waterless Car Wash, which are sprayed onto the vehicle, rubbed in, and then buffed to a high shine, as seen in this video: YouTube.
DIY Natural Cleaners
Spray-on cleansers not working for you? Then you may need to get tough on stains. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it naturally, though. Here are a few tips for dealing with common issues you may have with your car.
Tree sap – Parking under trees can have sticky consequences that may be tough to get off. Rub peanut butter on the area and let it rest for a few minutes. Wipe away with a clean cloth before you use a cleaner. Shortening may also work.
Tar – Road tar can cause unsightly black spots on your vehicle, but, again, peanut butter can help get rid of the sticky stuff. Just follow the directions above.
Bugs – When bugs get dried and sun-baked on your car, try soaking a cloth in a bit of vinegar and rubbing the bug stains. They should come off fairly easily. The area will need to be rinsed and waxed again, as vinegar can be damaging to finishes.
Limit Your Water Use
It is still possible to wash your car at home and do it in an ecologically sound manner if you take certain precautions as you scrub. The first thing to do is limit your water use by filling a bucket with water instead of using a continually flowing hose. This will keep the amount of liquid used to a minimum, and can ensure that you use just a few gallons to get the entire vehicle clean.
Parking over a porous surface such as gravel or grass can also help limit the amount of water that runs into storm drains, but to really prevent all those toxins from escaping, be sure to wring out your rags or sponges into a bucket. When you’ve finished washing the car, this water can then be disposed of down an interior drain, such as the bathtub or toilet, from where it will be taken to a treatment plant instead of running directly into a lake or river.
A relatively new method of washing your car – with steam – can save an incredible amount of water and also avoids the use of chemicals. DetailXPerts CEO Emmanuel Williams uses steam cleaning to wash up to 15 vehicles with just two gallons of water. The method doesn’t require any cleansers – just converted water and treated fiber cloths to wipe the vehicles down. Without soap residue, vehicles can stay clean longer, making it easier to spread out the washes.
From steam washing to waterless wiping, there’s no shortage of methods to clean your vehicle in a green manner. There’s no excuse for wasting water and flushing oil, chemicals, and other toxins into lakes and rivers just to keep your car clean when you have so many green choices available. Opt for a more ecologically friendly car wash next time your vehicle is dirty, and help contribute to a cleaner environment.