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Car washing

Is washing your car damaging the environment?

If your goal is to become more environmentally-friendly, including buying an electric car, one aspect to look at is your car washing habits. Experts recommend washing your car at least once every two to three weeks, but what impact does washing your car have on the environment?

According to a recent survey conducted in Germany, 59 percent of car owners wash their car or vehicle at least once a month. But this frequency of washing is also reflected in other countries worldwide. According to this report, 66 percent of Americans wash their car at least once a month too.

Car washing is an essential element in the upkeep and maintenance of a car. One of the primary reasons to wash your car regularly is to ensure that you maintain the interior and exterior quality of your vehicle, maintain its appearance, and extend its lifespan and functionality. Another reason is to maintain the safety and security of you and the other drivers on the road. An improperly maintained vehicle can harm you and other road users.

More and more vehicle owners nowadays prefer driving directly to a drive-through to get their cars washed instead of doing it themselves. This is one of the reasons you see more drive-through car washes available all over the country.

However, what is the ecological impact of car washing over a prolonged period?

Many countries are trying to implement rules and regulations regarding washing vehicles, such as using collected rainwater, using fresh water, only using specific cleaning agents, and so on. For some countries, these regulations cover a nationwide blanket ruling; however, for some, it’s more of regional rules.

If you’re looking to make your car wash experiences more eco-friendly, here are some tips to look out for:

The amount of water used

Car washes are seen as a necessary evil, and it’s a convenience that helps vehicle owners maintain their cars. Car washes are also helpful in the city when not many apartments have car washing facilities.

Traditional car washes use a lot of water, whether they do it manually or if they do it automatically. It’s evident from the amount of water that runs into the drains and the stormwater systems. Dirty water does not just disappear. Instead, it joins the water cycle and ends up in our rivers and streams, and it eventually finds its way back into our taps, albeit after going through water treatment systems.

So, if you’re looking for an eco-friendlier car wash, look for one that has implemented its water re-use and treatment methods. Car washes with their water system enable the same water to run through the system, clean it up and use it several times for multiple washes.

The type of water used

Yes, water is a precious commodity in many parts of the world. Having a car wash in your area or country is a luxury because you have water access. However, it’s not necessary to use pure, clean water when it comes to car washes. If you want an eco-friendlier car wash, the type of water used in the car wash of your choice also matters. Since cars don’t need clean and unfiltered water, using recycled rainwater or wastewater is one way that car washes can be more eco-friendly. Some car washes have a professional water separator installed either above or below ground. It separates the water, oils, dirt, and debris from the used water. The water is then channeled through the water purification system to clean it even further for it to be used again for the next car. Most water systems also help the car wash save water, which means significant savings for the car wash company.

The type of cleaning solutions used

Many types of car wash services are looking towards becoming greener, which means they will also look for ways to switch up their cleaning detergents and the soaps they use. Plenty of organic and eco-friendly car wash waxes and detergents are available on the market for both professional and personal use. If you’re wondering if your car wash uses eco-friendly cleaning solutions, check online for brands that provide these solutions to businesses on a wholesale level.

If not, as a vehicle owner, you can bring your cleaning solutions and check with the management if they are okay with using them. If you’re looking for eco-friendly cleaning solutions, look for ones free of chlorine and phosphates. Eco-friendly detergents are becoming popular among users and car wash owners, so if you can find one that uses it, it is worth the money and brings value to the environment.

The type of wipes and sponges

You might wonder what sponges and wipes have to do with being eco-friendly. Well, car washes use plenty of wipes and sponges daily. When these sponges and wipes wear out, they end up in the bin and, ultimately, in the landfill. If your neighourhood car wash is going down the eco-friendly route, they’ll also want to switch their cleaning materials, sponges, squeegees and wipes to biodegradable ones. Biodegradable materials will break down and decompose at the end of their lifespan, and these materials are an excellent choice for reducing plastic.

Hand wash versus automatic car wash

Automatic car washes are convenient and cheap. They get the cleaning job done fast, so you don’t have to spend more than an hour to get your car cleaned. However, it’s not the most ecological option since some use petrol to power the system. You can check with your car wash if they use an electrical motorised version or if solar panels power them. Some car washes go the distance to ensure that solar panels power their electrical energy to ensure that the eco-friendliness covers all elements in a car wash. However, this option is not possible for all car washes.

Creating an eco-friendly and sustainable car wash is a complex job, but many car washes are trying to make a difference in how they do things to save money and the environment. As a user, you can decide how and what elements you would be okay with when dealing with a car wash in your area. If they already have a water treatment system, use recycled water, and use biodegradable solutions and sponges, that’s a lot more than what other car washes do.