Eco-Responsible Car Cleaning

Cars get dirty. Again and again. It’s a fact of life. However, keeping your car clean and shiny is not just a matter of vanity. Washing your car prevents contaminants such as dust, dirt, bugs, pollen, tree sap, salt and atmospheric pollutants from getting stuck to your vehicle. Many car detailing specialists recommend washing your car once a week to stop contaminants from damaging your paint and clear coat.

However, you should also be aware that washing your car in your driveway is one of the least eco-friendly things you can do at home. The wash water containing oil, exhaust residue and aggressive car shampoo detergents will run down your driveway, into rain sewers, and ultimately to rivers—where it destroys other ecosystems. So it’s a good idea to use eco-friendly techniques to make your car shine. Here are some effective and eco-friendly car washing tips.

Use a carwash!

Surprised? It may seem that a commercial carwash uses a lot more water than washing at home, but most of them use water jets and high-pressure pumps that minimize water consumption. What’s more, many municipalities in Canada requires that commercial wash stations divert wastewater to the sewer system so that it is treated before it is released.

If you must wash your car at home, here’s how you can do so in a more eco-friendly way:

  • Use soap sparingly. Even if you use green products, they probably contain some toxic substances. You should use as little as needed to get the job done!
  • Use a pressure washer so you limit the amount of water used. The precision of a pressure washer helps you get the job done more quickly, and lets you use a lot less water than a regular hose.
  • Wash your car on grass or gravel. This way, dirty water is filtered before it drains into the ground.
  • Empty your bucket into a toilet or sink. Domestic waste water is treated before it is released into waterways.

Don’t forget to get the bugs off!

Even though you washed your car, are there still bugs stuck to it? Some warm water, a sponge and a little elbow grease will get them off in no time!

Clean the interior

Remove any trash and unwanted items. If you have any child seats, consider removing them. To clean the dashboard and the doors, dilute a little black soap in a small pail of water. Clean the surfaces by using this soap and water preparation, rinse with clean water, and then dry with a microfiber cloth. Stains can be removed from seats with a solution of white vinegar and dish soap.
Use baking soda to clean and deodorize floor mats. Sprinkle on and leave for 15 minutes. Then, vacuum the mats to remove the baking soda.

Use a car vacuum

A standard household vacuum cleaner may not have the range or flexibility you need to get into your car’s tight crevices. Your best choice is to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner with an expandable hose. One of these vacuum cleaners will provide plenty of suction and maneuverability.

Give your old toothbrush a new life!

A toothbrush comes in very handy for cleaning stitching and air vents, and for getting into tight spaces.

Makes your tires and rims shine

Use household soap for your tires; brush and rinse with clean water. This is just as effective as using a commercial product. To finish off, use an organic or nontoxic tire dressing that will give your tires a beautiful shine. Avoid products that contain phosphates, scents, chlorine or petroleum.

Do you have any other eco-friendly car leaning tips? Let us know in the comments section below.