You may not realize it, but washing your car can be especially damaging to the environment. This is partially because running water from your hose during the duration of your car wash uses a ton of water, and partially because the water washes toxins that have accumulated on the surface of your car away and into your immediate environment.
Soaps, waxes and cleaning products used both on the interior and exterior of your car also contribute to environmental blight. Fortunately, there are alternatives to help minimize the impact cleaning your car has on the environment.
Take your car to a car wash facility.
Most car wash facilities have drains installed that collect water runoff and treat it. This helps to minimize the damage caused by tar, exhaust and gasoline particles that accumulate on your car’s surface. Treating the water also helps neutralize the synthetic chemicals that may be in your cleaning products.
Using the car wash instead of washing at home also greatly reduces water usage. Your average home car wash with the hose can use up to 100 gallons of water. At most, the car wash will utilize 50 gallons of water for the same (if not better) results.
If you do not have access to a carwash facility, wash your car on the lawn and not on the driveway. Washing your car on a permeable surface helps to neutralize some of the toxins as microbes in the soil will help to break them down.
Eliminate water use altogether.
There are many car wash products on the market these days that do not require water at all. Most are spray on products that should then be wiped off with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to read the instructions on the product your purchase for best results.
Eco Touch Premium Car Care makes several waterless cleaning products that you can try at home!
Green your cleaning products.
You do not need to go with conventional commercial cleaning products to achieve that new car smell. There are a number of organic products on the market, as well as cleaning solutions that you can concoct at home, that work well without the environmental cost. Nature’s Green Magic, for instance, has an organic car care line complete with washes, waxes, interior sprays and air fresheners.
Many household products also work well when it comes to car cleaning. Vinegar, for instance, can help to remove dried on bugs. Simply saturate with a spray bottle, let sit for a few minutes and wipe off. Butter and shortening can be used to neutralizes tree sap and resin so that they can be wiped off as well.
Baking powder is a timeless interior odor neutralizer. After vacuuming the floors, carpets and seating, sprinkle baking powder on, let sit for up to two hours, and then vacuum up.
Choose your car wash methods carefully and space them out!
Vacuuming is relatively environmentally friendly cleaning method. By vacuuming regularly, you can remove debris and dirt that contributes to odor, deterioration and seat stains, before you need to use a chemical product (or even your green alternative!). So, vacuum regularly, and do full-on washes less frequently.
Washing and waxing can be limited to specific times of year. For instance, washing is often more important during the winter months when salt and other substances are used on the road. Wax before the start of winter and at the end of winter, but limit waxing outside of these times.
Quick eco-friendly tips
In addition to these biggies, there are some quick fixes you can employ:
- Use a nozzle on your hose to prevent water from being wasted when you are not actively using it.
- Use reusable microfiber rags instead of paper towels or disposable rags.
- Use refillable bottles and DIY your cleaning products as much as possible to minimize packaging waste. Recycle bottles when needed.
It is possible to keep your car shiny and clean without causing undue harm to the environment. By following these steps and practicing discernment when washing your car, you will be able to make the process as green as possible, and minimize the effect on the environment.
As an added benefit, using green cleaning products, particularly on the interior of your car, will minimize your exposure to synthetic chemicals and toxins that are bad for your own health. While it may seem like it takes a little added effort, cleaning your car the green way is better for your car, the environment, and for you!
Matthew has always had a passion for making something old look new again. He has been working with Clear Renew in Perth for nearly a decade. Clear Renew is a trusted Australian company that, like Matthew, wants to help every client’s home, business, or vehicle shine as if it’s brand new. When Matthew isn’t saving his clients both time and money, he enjoys camping with his family and hiking.