Washing the car
There are many ways to clean your vehicles without wasting too much water.
Home car washing
You can save water when cleaning your car at home by:
- using a waterless car wash product
- using a low flow/high pressure wash
- washing the car in the rain
- washing the car on the lawn, using biodegradable cleaning chemicals, gives your grass a good watering in addition to cleaning your car
- washing with greywater from your bath
- using a bucket or a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle
Commercial car washing
Generally, commercial car wash operators must meet certain requirements regarding water use and wastewater disposal. As a result, using a commercial car wash is a much more environmentally sustainable practice than washing a car at home.
When soaps and other solvents are used to clean cars, they dissolve not only dirt and grease into the waste water but also toxic surfactants, hydrocarbons and heavy metals such as copper, lead and zinc. These compounds are very dangerous for the plant and animal life in our creeks, rivers and coastline waters.
In a commercial, regulated car wash, the dirty, contaminated run-off goes through special settlement pits to sewer. None is allowed to run off into the stormwater systems which drain into the rivers and bays, as often happens with home washing.
Commercial car washes are also water-efficient with very high pressure pumps and small nozzles on the trigger guns. When the automatic equipment is linked to a recycling system, 70-80% of the water is reclaimed, cleaned and re-used.