Detailing Your Own Car: How It Hurts the Environment
March 9, 2015
Did you know that detailing your own car can actually hurt the environment? Many people take their car’s appearance seriously, as some think it is a direct reflection of themselves, by making sure their pride and joy is sparkling clean. But they do not always think about “how” doing it themselves can be harmful to our environment.
Warmer weather is approaching and that is usually the time when detailing your own car comes into play. Everyone in the neighborhood takes out their hoses, detergent, sponges and towels for this springtime ritual. But, over the last few years there are been some products introduced into the market that lessens the use of water in getting our cars cleaned. Here are some ways in which we hurt the environment every time we wash our vehicle.
We Waste Water
Did you know that the International Car Wash Association reports that washing just one car at home uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water while using a commercial car wash uses between 10 and 45 gallons of water? Just think, if you were to use steam to clean your car it would take even less than that. Actually, it takes a little more than one pint of water!
We Do Not Recycle the Water We Use
The National Conservancy recommends using a quality commercial car wash as a more environmentally friendly way to obtain a cleaner vehicle. They cite that it is “greener” than detailing your car on your own or going to a charity car wash that doesn’t recycle the water they use. EPA findings stated that “charity car washes are one of the worst
activities that result in our increasing water pollution”. This is primarily because most car wash fundraisers are done directly on pavement without means to properly dispose of the water used in washing those vehicles, so the water is carried off without any means to filter it before it hits our storm drains. Dirty water from our vehicles contains soap residue, abrasive detergents, grime from our tail pipes, gasoline, heavy metals from rust and our car’s engine oil, and all this can flow right into our storm drains, contaminating our lakes and streams and thus the wildlife living nearby. By law, commercial car washes have to have a system in place to recycle their water rather than let the water run-off into the storm drains. If you do it yourself, be sure to dump your waste water down the sink so it can be filtered before being put back into the water system.
We Use Inappropriate Cleaning Products
Many of the residual soaps that run off into the storm drains contain phosphates which create an over-abundance of algae in our waterways. This algae then dies and takes the much needed oxygen out of the water which suffocate our fish during that decomposition process. We also use too many paper towels and other non-recycled products in our car washing process, such as sponges and broken buckets. This allows our landfills to be filled with more garbage, creating less space for people to live in. These piles of garbage contain trace amounts of all kinds of garbage hurting our environment now and for many generations to come. There are many non-detergent cleaners and better quality soaps on the market today that actually contain lubricating agents that will help keep dirt off your car longer. The dirt will actually “slide off” of your vehicle instead of adhering to it. Most commercial car wash establishments use the best quality, bio-degradable products on your vehicles that will not harm the environment.
So whether you choose to continue to detail your vehicle yourself or find a “greener” alternative, be sure to check out the DetailXPerts blog for many articles that will teach you more about green auto washing.
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