Eco-Friendly Ways for Keeping Your Car Clean

A recent survey of U.S. travelers, as reported by Forbes this spring, found almost two-thirds of travelers often or always consider the environment when choosing hotels, transportation and meals.

Today, many families and individuals throughout the nation are concerned about their carbon footprint, a term used for the amount of carbon emitted through activities such as driving a car or lighting a home. If you’re one of them, have you thought about going green when it comes to washing your vehicle?

It’s important to keep your vehicle reasonably clean, not only to help keep that paint shiny, but to improve visibility, which can reduce the chance of an accident.

This can also help you save money. Without any accidents on your driving record, many insurance companies offer discounts to safe drivers. Of course, when it comes to car insurance, it’s especially important to compare rates using sites such as, which can help you to save even more. Perhaps that extra cash can even be used for the family vacation of your dreams.

Of course, washing your vehicle with harmful chemicals is not a good idea, as it introduces them into storm drains and soil. Instead, consider these options for better “green cleaning.”

Wash your vehicle on a permeable surface

Washing your car on a paved driveway causes everything that was stuck on your car, such as tar, oil, gasoline, and even particulate matter from exhaust fumes, to head directly to the nearest body of water. All of it gets there completely unfiltered and untreated, unless your storm drain leads to a sewage treatment plant — most do not.

Instead, park your vehicle on a surface that is flat and made up of grass, gravel or dirt. The natural microbes in the grass, soil and dirt are effective natural filters. They serve to help break down those potentially toxic compounds in the water to prevent them from running into the storm drain.

Reduce the amount of water used

Cleaning a car is said to take between 80 and 140 gallons for each wash, including the water used to soak the sponge and the water that flows freely from a garden hose. Going to a self-service car wash where the run-off water is captured typically uses only about 15 gallons of water per wash. You can also use your own biodegradable soap, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals getting into environment.

Going completely waterless is possible, too, by purchasing products such as the EcoSmart Waterless Car Wash & Wax.

Cleaning your car’s interior

You can save money and help save the environment by making your own car cleaning products. A solution of 1 cup water, one-half cup vinegar and one-quarter cup rubbing alcohol mixed together makes a great window cleaner that will help remove even the grimiest dirt.


Written by Lewis Shaw

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