Eco Friendly Car Wash…things you dont know

Few people realize that washing our cars in our driveways is one of the most environmentally un-friendly chores we can do around the house. Unlike household waste water that enters sewers or septic systems and undergoes treatment before it is discharged into the environment, what runs off from your car goes right into storm drains — and eventually into rivers, streams, creeks and wetlands where it poisons aquatic life and wreaks other ecosystem havoc. After all, that water is loaded with a witch’s brew of gasoline, oil and residues from exhaust fumes — as well as the harsh detergents being used for the washing itself.

Commercial Car Washes Treat Waste Water
On the other hand, federal laws in both the U.S. and Canada require commercial carwash facilities to drain their wastewater into sewer systems, so it gets treated before it is discharged back into the great outdoors. And commercial car washes use computer controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps that minimize water usage. Many also recycle and re-use the rinse water.

The International Carwash Association, an industry group representing commercial car wash companies, reports that automatic car washes use less than half the water of even the most careful home car washer. According to one report, washing a car at home typically uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water, while a commercial car wash averages less than 45 gallons per car.

Think Green When Washing Your Car
If you must wash your car at home, choose a biodegradable soap specifically formulated for automotive parts, such as Simple Green’s Car Wash or Gliptone’s Wash ‘n Glow. Or you can make your own biodegradable car wash by mixing one cup of liquid dishwashing detergent and 3/4 cup of powdered laundry detergent (each should be chlorine- and phosphate-free and non-petroleum-based) with three gallons of water. This concentrate can then be used sparingly with water over exterior car surfaces.

Even when using green-friendly cleaners, it is better to avoid the driveway and instead wash your car on your lawn or over dirt so that the toxic waste water can be absorbed and neutralized in soil instead of flowing directly into storm drains or open water bodies. Also, try to sop up or disperse those sudsy puddles that remain after you’re done. They contain toxic residues and can tempt thirsty animals.

Waterless Car Wash Products are Good for Small Jobs
One way to avoid such problems altogether is to wash your car using any number of waterless formulas available, which are especially handy for spot cleaning and are applied via spray bottle and then wiped off with a cloth. Freedom Waterless Car Wash is a leading product in this growing field.

A Better Car Wash Option for Fundraising
One last caution: Kids and parents planning a fundraising car wash event should know that they might be violating clean water laws if run-off is not contained and disposed of properly. Washington’s Puget Sound Carwash Association, for one, allows fund-raisers to sell tickets redeemable at local car washes, enabling the organizations to still make money while keeping dry and keeping local waterways clean.

Ten Ways To Save The Planet Without Losing Your Mind

Check back every Monday for more ways to incorporate living green into your everyday life!

Going Green may seem overwhelming at times. You may think if you don’t go all the way why bother. But every little thing you do, does count. Don’t think that you have to have solar panels on your house to make a difference. Here are some small things you can do to help save the planet:

  1. Going to the car wash. Professional car washes are often more efficient with water use. They also dispose of the water properly, while when you wash your car at home metal and other toxic chemicals are washed in to the sewer and end up in our water ways. For a bigger impact use a waterless car wash like Eco Touch.
  2. Bring your own mug. Reusable mugs keep your drink warm longer, while saving a lot of waste. Most coffee shops will happily refill your mug and some even offer discounts. For a bigger impact only buy coffee at shops that use fair trade coffee.
  3. Skip the coffee stirrer. Americans throw away over 138 billion straws and stirrers. Put your sugar and cream in first and the coffee will stir itself. For a bigger impact skip straws in your soda. If you need the straw switch to glass or stainless stain straws.
  4. Be kind when you kill. Use vinegar to kill weeds. It will save you money and won’t hurt the environment or any pets or people. For a bigger impact skip fertilizer and just let your normal clippings do the work.
  5. Recycle those wire hangers. Wire hangers are almost always steel, which is not recycled by all recycling programs. Most dry cleaners will take them back. For a bigger impact buy hangers made from recycled plastic or other sustainable materials.
  6. Stop your junk mail. On average each American gets 40 pounds of junk mail each year. Services like Green Dimes will help you stop your junk mail. For a bigger impact stop receiving phone books and start using online directories to find phone numbers.
  7. Give it away. Before you throw something away, stop and think if someone else could use it. Either donate it or use a site likefreecycle.org. For a bigger impact if you can’t donate it find a way to reuse it in a craft or in some other way.
  8. Only wash full loads. You use the same energy and water to wash one shirt as you will to wash a whole load. You will save money on electric and water bills. For a bigger impact wash everything in cold or warm water.
  9. Skip the receipt at the ATM. It would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long, or enough to circle the equator 15 times. For a bigger impact pay bills online. If everyone would pay online we could save around 18.5 million trees a year!
  10. Download your software. Software is often available for download. It will save you space and a lot of cds and packaging waste. For a bigger impact download your music from iTunes or similar sites.