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Here's why you shouldn't hand wash your car

Fast Facts

  • The best place to wash your car is a car wash with proper water treatment equipment.
  • When you hand wash your car the soap and grease drains directly into storm drains.
  • Storm drains empty into creeks and rivers where they can pollute our water.
  • If you're in an area that does not require car washes to treat their water then wash your car on grass with biodegradable phosphate-free soap.

Why is going to the car wash better for the environment?

The BEST place to wash a car is a car wash. That is if you live in an area that requires (or if they have done so voluntarily) for car washes to be plumbed to the waste water treatment plant (WWTP). All municipalities of a certain population density are required to do so. All of the water from these places are treated just like waste water from your house.

Many of the automatic car washes recycle their water to minimize their cost and cut down on water use. Some of them even use less than 35 gallons of water to wash a vehicle. 

What if I don't want to pay for an automatic car wash or my city doesn't require car washes to treat their water?

IF you're in an area that does not require car washes to pipe to their WWTP or you simply do not want to pay the costs of an automatic car wash, we then suggest you wash your car on a grassy area. And then yes, you want to use a biodegradable, no phosphate soap on your car. If possible, please try to keep all water staying in the soil to help keep the dirt, grease, brake pad dust and other heavy metals leaving your car to stay in your soil. 

IF you do not have a grassy area, then a dirt or gravel area will be the next option. 

Any place is better than your driveway or street. All that water will end up in the street and enter the storm drain which leads directly to creeks and streams untreated! 

Recommended in order 1) car wash; 2) grass; 3) dirt or gravel.

And for those that say they should not wash their car, that is not the best option for the environment either because when it rains and the car is washed with rainwater that runs onto the street and therefore, the streams.

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