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Car Wash vs. Driveway: Which is better?

April 05, 2021 2 min read

Car Wash vs. Driveway: Which is better?

Spring cleaning can be pretty satisfying. Rolling up your sleeves, tackling checklists of rooms and trouble spots, greeting the warmer weather with a much-needed refresh. And that shedding of winter’s dusty coat probably includes the itch to give your car a good scrub.

It might be a ritual of yours to grab your bucket and head out to the driveway, but did you know that’s one of theleasteco-friendly things you can do? Believe it or not, commercial car washes are better for the environment than washing your car at home. 

Why Opt for the Car Wash?

For one thing, car washes are required by law to drain their wastewater into sewer systems for treatment. Compare that to the mixture of chemicals and residue that runs down your driveway, into storm drains, and out into local creeks, streams, and waterways.  

Car washes are also equipped to minimize water usage. In fact, automatic car washes  average less than 45 gallons per car, while washing a vehicle at home uses about 80 to 140 gallons. For context, a  10-minute shower uses about 25 gallons.

If you’re still looking to do it yourself… 

Try This Super Simple DIY Eco-Friendly Car Wash

Fill a bucket with the water and soap, and stir until mixed. Add the essential oil and stir again. Using a soft cloth or sponge, wash the exterior of your car from the top down, one section at a time. Rinse each area well with clean water before the soap has a chance to dry.

Other Tips to Minimize Your Environmental Impact 

  • Move off the driveway.Wash your car on your lawn so the rinse water can be filtered through dirt instead of flowing directly into storm drains.
  • Empty your bucket inside. When you’re done, dispose of your dirty water in a sink or toilet rather than pouring it into the street. 
  • Be conscious of your water use.Turn your hose off when you’re not rinsing your car off (and keep it quick!). 
  • Take care of soapy puddles. Rinse away any remaining suds so no thirsty animals are harmed.

And Since You’re in Spring Cleaning Mode… 

The formula above comes from Karyn Siegel-Maier’s  The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning.

everything you need for a naturally clean home.

It’s packed with approachable (read: not time-consuming or expensive) recipes for herbal cleaning products. Ah, we love that clean home smell. In our homes, and in our car.

Happy Spring.


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