Make Your Car Washing More Environmentally Friendly

Many do not realize that washing your car, especially at our homes, can have major environmental impacts whether it’s excess water use, dangerous car products or improper drainage.  This makes it essential that we take the appropriate precautions before clean our vehicles.

Car Wash
Photo by Free as I can be.

Curb Water Use

The average water hose in homes use anywhere from 5-10 gallons of water per minute depending on the pressure of the water.  If you decide to use the hose for 10 minutes of the washing, you can use as many as 100 gallons of water or more just to rinse a car. This means that we have to ensure we are not allowing our hoses to run while not rinsing our cars off.  When your not directly rinsing off your car, make sure turn off the water hose.  An  automatic shutoff nozzles can also be used to ensure water is not being wasted.  If you have a pressure washer, you will get the maximum water savings because they only use a fraction of the water of hoses as well as provide higher pressure.

Eco-Friendly Car Products

Before you buying any products to clean your vehicle, make sure that they are non-toxic, contains low or no phosphates and are  biodegradable.  Some of these products may be slightly more expensive, but will ensure your safety as well as the environments.  If you car is not that dirty, you can always just scrub with no soap and still get your car clean.

Proper Drainage

Just because you decide to go with a safe cleaning product, does not mean that there are still not dangerous chemicals entering into the ground.  The variety of chemicals that can end up on our vehicles are not safe to directly enter our grounds.  If possible, try washing your vehicle on the grass or a surface that will allow the water to be filtered (i.e. gravel) before entering into the ground.

Home vs. Commercial Car Washing

Commercial car washing services may not always seem like the best option, but may be much more environmentally friendly than you might think.  On average, a commercial car washing service only uses as little as 15 gallons of water per person for self-service.  Conveyor services can use considerably more water, so be sure to use self-service.  Many car washing businesses also recycle as much as 80% of their water and properly discharge of water to ensure that is treated before reentering our water systems.  Not all car washing businesses are created equal so ask the appropriate questions to make sure that they are providing environmentally friendly services.

Wherever you decide to wash your car, hopefully these tips can ensure that your car washing experience can reduce our impact on the environment.

If you enjoyed this post, keep yourself updated with all my latest posts:
Subscribe to my RSS Feed

RSS Icon
Sign Up for Daily Morning Emails


  1. You can wash your car over the lawn.. so that you can water the grass.. but of course without the soap.

  2. Great article and interesting idea Nehh.

    There are now some great eco friendly car washing products that can really improve your footprint.

  3. Have you guys seen the waterless car washes? I’d consider switching to an waterless car wash this summer. Trade the hoses and buckets for a small spray bottle and two microfiber towels. Currently popular overseas, waterless car wash products are finally here in the U.S.

  4. Generally car owners not car about all such important things but hope your article may create awareness in car washing method.

  5. Alright! more great tips! Thanks for posting! I think i will be more considerate next time i wash my car.

  6. Yeah I think it is important that we all try to help out the environment as much as we can. Personally I am in the city, and I could wash my car outside if I wanted to… but I opt to just go down to my local car wash instead as It’s much better for the environment compared to me washing it on my own. This post kinda of gives me the idea that someone should open up Car Wash Dedicated as being a Green Car Wash. I bet it would be very successful!

    Till then,


  7. In my home town of New Mexico it was on the news that there was a truck workers had to clean that had chemical residue on it. The workers just washed it off and it went down public drains, they did not follow the correct procedure. This kind of carelessness is completely unnecessary and preventable.

  8. Your suggestion seems effective to decreases the excess use of water.

  1. August 11th, 2009

Best Green Blogs Eco Friendly, Environment & Green Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Environment Blogs Green Top Sites - Ranking the Best Green Sites on the Internet Renewable Energy Topsites Promote Your Blog