Protect Your Vehicle and the Environment With Eco-Friendly Car Wash Soap
Washing your car is an important way to remove dirt, chemical residue, bird droppings, and other things that can damage the finish of your vehicle’s paint. However, if you’re not using an eco-friendly car wash soap, you could be harming the environment every time you wash your vehicle.
Learn more about the environmental impact of washing your car at home versus taking it to automatic car washes. Then discover the best eco-friendly car wash soap you can use to get a beautiful shine without using harmful chemicals that can pollute water and hurt the environment.
Commercial Car Washes vs. Washing at Home: Which is More Eco-Friendly?
You might think you can save water by washing your vehicle in your own driveway, but the truth is, going to a commercial car wash is typically the greener choice.
One of the most important factors you have to consider when washing a car is water use. Although it seems like a commercial car wash might use a lot more water than what comes out of a standard garden hose, most car washes use high-pressure water nozzles that utilize water more efficiently.
Related: Why You Need a Water Filter for Your Garden Hose
In fact, according to the Western Carwash Association, the average person washing a vehicle at home in the driveway uses between 80 to 140 gallons of water. However, the average commercial car wash uses only 9 to 15 gallons of fresh water during a wash cycle.
In addition to using less water, many commercial car washes have sophisticated water reclamation systems that allow them to catch, filter, and reuse water many times over.
Environmental Impact of Car Wash Soap
However, it’s not just water usage you have to think about when you’re washing your car at home. You also have to consider the soap you’re using and where it goes when you rinse it away.
Most car wash rinse water ends up heading down storm drains and into sewer systems. From there, it eventually emerges into rivers, lakes, canals, and other waterways full of aquatic life. Any car soap chemicals in the water can adversely affect water quality and the health of these animals.
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Plus, it’s not just potentially toxic soap you have to worry about. This rinse water can also be contaminated with heavy metals like zinc from tires and copper from brake dust, as well as residue from gasoline, motor oils, and exhaust fumes.
On the other hand, commercial car washes are required by federal laws to catch wastewater and drain it into sewer systems. This way, the wastewater gets cleaned and treated before it’s discharged.
The Best Eco-Friendly Car Wash Soap
If you need to wash your car at home, you want to make sure you’re using an eco-friendly car wash soap to protect the environment. Here are your top choices for getting your vehicle sparkling clean and keeping harsh chemicals out of storm drains and waterways.
1. DIY Car Wash Soap
Did you know you can easily make your own car wash soap? You can when you use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner!
This cleaner is made with a plant-based, biodegradable formula that can effectively remove tough dirt and grime without harming your car’s finish. Plus, since it’s one of the top biodegradable soaps on the market today, it’s okay to let the dirty water run off into grass or dirt.
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To use Sal Suds for car washing, simply add a half tablespoon of cleaner to a bucket of water. Use a cleaning cloth or mitt on the body of the car and a stiff brush on the wheels. Finally, rinse off the soap and immediately dry the car to prevent water spots.
It’s important to note that while Sal Suds is made by the same company that makes Castile soap, this is one of the few times when you can’t swap Sal Suds and Castile soap. If your water has any hardness, the Castile soap could cling to the minerals and leave a film on your car. So always stick with Sal Suds.
If you’re searching for a natural cleaning hack to get the windows of your car sparkling clean, look no further than club soda. The carbonated fizz helps break up the dirt and speeds up the cleaning process.
As an added bonus, club soda isn’t highly acidic like other natural cleaners, such as vinegar. Therefore, it won’t harm the paint or finish on your car.
2. Simple Green
This Simple Green car wash concentrated soap is specially formulated to effectively clean off the toughest grime, grease, dirt, bug stains, and more from all types of vehicles and materials. You can use it to clean cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, RVs, motorcycles, ATVs, trailers, and more.
Plus, it’s also safe to use on paint, clear coat, windows, metal chrome, canvas, vinyl, and rubber. It will safely lift away dirt without stripping away waxed surfaces and leaving your vehicle looking dull.
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The biodegradable formula is non-toxic and phosphate-free. It’s also clean-rinsing for a streak-free shine. You only need 1 ounce of concentrated soap for every gallon of water, so it’s also an economical option for cleaning your car.
3. Chemical Guys EcoSmart
Chemical Guys is known for its wide range of car cleaning products, including this EcoSmart Waterless Car Wash and Wax. This product helps you wash, wax, and protect your car all in one step.
The concentrated formula is made using natural carnauba wax to trap and lift dirt away from the vehicle surface and leave behind a stunning shine.
However, Chemical Guys EcoSmart isn’t just a green solution to car washing because of its eco-based formula. It’s also a waterless car wash, so you can clean and protect your entire vehicle without using any running water, a garden hose, or a bucket of water.
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Simply dilute the concentrate to make a ready-to-use spray. Mist the product over your vehicle, and watch as it lifts away dirt and grime. You can then use a cleaning cloth to safely wipe everything away without worrying about scratching your car.
You can use the product pretty much anywhere and at any time — whether it’s wet or dry, or in the shade or sun. It’s also safe to use on paint, metal, glass, clear plastic, fiberglass, and more.
Optimum Car Wash is a biodegradable foaming car wash soap that creates a thick lather to trap dirt and grime so you can easily rinse them away and leave a clean, shiny surface.
Although this pH-neutral car wash soap is tough on dirt, it’s gentle on your vehicle’s wax coat and sealant. This helps keep the coating intact and extends your car’s UV protection.
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A little bit of this concentrated soap goes a long way. You only need a half ounce of soap for every gallon of water to create a rich, foaming lather. You can then apply the foam wash to your car using a foam sprayer or a standard car wash sponge.
In addition to using this soap to clean your car, you can also use it to wash your motorcycle, RV, boat, and more.
Binbata has come up with a unique solution to make washing your car a little easier on the environment: these car wash soap sheets. Each soap sheet contains a concentrated formula of car wash soap that quickly dissolves in water.
These sheets eliminate the plastic waste that comes from car wash soap bottles because they come in recyclable packaging. Plus, just like these convenient and eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets, they’re incredibly easy to use.
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The packaging is compact, lightweight, and easy to store. Since the sheets are pre-measured, you don’t have to deal with any spills or mess when trying to measure out the right dosage.
The car wash soap sheets use a plant-derived, neutral formula that’s tough on dirt and gentle on the paintwork. Plus, the rich lubrication provides a zero-scratch cleaning that won’t damage your car.
The formula is effective enough to remove all types of stubborn messes, including bird droppings, insect residue, tree sap, water spots, oil stains, and more.
Tips for Making a Home Car Wash More Eco-Friendly
Choosing a biodegradable car wash soap isn’t the only way you can make washing your car at home more eco-friendly. Here are some other helpful tips that can make this task a little easier on the environment:
- If possible, try to wash your car on the grass or any other unpaved surface. This way, the rinse water can naturally filter through the dirt before reaching a waterway.
- Likewise, don’t pour your bucket of dirty water onto your driveway or street. Instead, take it inside and pour it down a drain.
- Avoid using hose-off engine degreasers and acid-based wheel cleaners that will send harsh chemicals into the water supply.
- To conserve water, turn off the hose whenever you’re not actively using it.
- Instead of microfiber cleaning cloths and single-use paper towels, consider using reusable cotton cleaning cloths to wash and dry your car.
For a good compromise between hand-washing at home and going to an automatic car wash, consider a self-serve car wash station. Here, you can bring your own eco-friendly product to clean your car. This way, you know you’re using something that will clean your vehicle and be gentle on the planet.
Plus, their high-pressure nozzles help get your car clean without using a ton of excess water, and the drains send the rinse water to treatment plants instead of directly into waterways.
Make Your Vehicle Sparkle With the Best Eco-Friendly Car Wash Soap
Washing your car to get rid of dirt and grime is an important part of car maintenance, but it also has a considerable environmental impact. Fortunately, there are ways to make car washing gentler on the planet.
If possible, consider washing your car at an automatic car wash to help conserve water. If you can’t take your car to a commercial car wash, you can make washing it at home more sustainable by choosing the right eco-friendly products.
The next time you need to wash your car by hand, be sure to select the best eco-friendly car wash soap to keep dangerous and toxic chemicals out of our crucial water sources.
More Helpful Tips on Eco-Friendly Living
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