In the last decade, Americans have been encouraged to take a second look at their recycling habits, what eco-friendly products they buy and how they are supporting environmentally friendly companies. Did you know cleaning your car in a commercial car wash is considered far more eco-friendly than washing it in your driveway? Located in the heart of Portland, EcoCarwash is one of many places you can take your car to make it sparkle like new, while doing something good for the environment at the same time. Here are a few reasons why taking your car to any car wash is a good call to make.
Saving Water While Washing
When you wash your car, the water in your driveway flows into the drains with oil, dirt and detergents mixed in. But U.S. federal laws require commercial car wash facilities and dealerships, like Chapman BMW, to drain their wastewater into sewer systems. Then the water gets treated before it is discharged back into the great outdoors.
When going through a commercial car wash, it may seem as if far more water is used than what you would spray on the car with a hose, but most car washes utilize computer-controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps to minimize water usage. According to the International Car Wash Association, commercial facilities use an average of 45 gallons of water per car wash. This compare to the average 80-140 gallons of water used in our car washes at home in our driveway.
These commercial facilities also recycle and re-use the rinse water used in car washes. Most of us can’t claim we do that with the run-off water from our driveway. These are just some of the ways eco-friendly practices can have a positive impact on our base of natural resources.
Wash Your Car
If you do wash your own car, here are a few tips that will make your efforts more aligned with being eco-friendly.
- Use a non-toxic, biodegradable soap free of phosphates, fragrance, chlorine and petroleum-based ingredients. About.com suggests an easy way to create your own biodegradable car wash soap by mixing one cup of liquid dish washing detergent and 3/4 cup of powdered laundry detergent (each should be chlorine- and phosphate-free and non-petroleum-based) with three gallons of water. This concentrate can then be used sparingly with water over exterior car surfaces.
- Avoid acid-based wheel cleaners or hose-off engine de-greasers.
- Dispose of dirty waster inside a sink or toilet, as opposed to the driveway, street or sidewalk.
- Make sure your car isn’t leaking oil or other fluids.
- Wash your car on an unpaved surface, such as a lawn, if possible so the rinse water can be filtered before reaching a storm drain or waterway.
- Turn the hose off while washing the car and rinse quickly.
- Use reusable cloths rather than disposable products to wash and dry your car.
Look for a self-serve car wash station, where you can bring your own eco-friendly car wash products, control the amount of water you use with a pressurized water dispenser and drain the rinse water into sewer grates. If you want to know where you can find some good green cleaning products, try looking at one of the Whole Foods markets in Portland. There are four locations in North Portland, as well as in Tigard and Hillsboro.
Being green takes extra effort. It’s easy to discard paper, metal and cardboard into normal trash bins. But when you make the effort to move recyclable debris to a proper recycling bin, it gives our future generation a helpful step in securing future resources for the planet.
Guest Author Tia Marcinkowski
Tia majored in English and still helps out at her father’s auto body shop in her free time. Her prized possession is the Camero she rebuilt in high school.