Is Washing Cars Eco-friendly?


My neighbor washes his behemoth of a monster truck in his driveway at least once a week, and every time he does it, I can’t help but think two things:

1. My car is filthy and I should be ashamed


2. All that water, all that soap. I cringe.

washing car

Washing a vehicle yourself uses a heck of a lot more water than you might think. In five minutes, you can go through more than 60 gallons of water with a hose!

And then there’s the fact that the dirty water doesn’t have a chance to be treated before being washed down storm drains, and the chemicals and detergents could end up polluting streams and rivers.

Sad face.

soapy water

To tell you never to wash your car at home isn’t realistic. We’re all time-crunched, and it’s convenient. Plus, everyone should experience it in their lifetime as a rite of passage.

Because it’s just plain fun.


But, if we can use a WaterSavers professional car wash on occasion, they use an average of no more than 40 gallons of fresh water per vehicle (less than home washing machines) and they either responsibly dispose of or recycle and re-use the water runoff.

And when I hear about studies like the one in Federal Way, Washington which found 190 gallons of gasoline, diesel and motor oil, 400 pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen, and 60 pounds of ammonia pollutants in their storm sewer system…well, I can’t ignore that.

Check to find a location near you.

WaterSavers logo


One lucky reader will win a WaterSavers gift pack which includes: branded USB car charger, pop-up trunk organizer, car vent clip and a $20 Visa gift card.
WaterSavers Summer Prize Package


I am working with the International Carwash Association to share these tips. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

RULES: Giveaway ends 11:59 pm ET, August 28, 2013. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, Eighteen (18) years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law. One lucky winner will be chosen using One entry per household and IP address. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Cheating will not be tolerated, and entries will be verified for accuracy. I will email the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email, or a new winner will be chosen. Entering this giveaway means you are in agreement with this blog’s Terms of Use policy.


  1. Brian E. says

    Thanks for the giveaway…we wash the cars at home, while parked on grass to avoid runoff, about 90% of the time.

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