It is possible to be clean and green.
When it’s time to wash your vehicle, you can take some simple steps and do it in an environmentally friendly fashion. And, despite what you may think, it doesn’t take lots of extra time and effort. The ingredients are different and you may already have some at home that will do the same – if not a better – job. An added bonus is they’re cost-effective too!
Did you know washing a vehicle is one of the biggest sources of water waste in a family household? While most toilets flush only about 3.5-7 gallons, a fifteen-minute car wash can waste 40-140 gallons. That means you’d have to take an hour-and-a-half-long shower to waste the same amount.
Here are tips that will help you shine up those wheels in no time:
- Go to a commercial car wash: Yes, really. Car washes are required to treat the dirty water. If you wash your vehicle at home, the dirty water can end up in a storm drain which would pollute the surrounding streams and rivers. If you must wash it at home, dispose of all your soapy water in the sink or tub because it will eventually be treated.
- Go biodegradable:If you use soap that has harmful chemicals in it, it could harm wildlife that it comes in contact with it. Use biodegradable, phosphate-free, and water-based cleaners. Biodegradable soap is a lot less harmful. You can make it at home with some liquid dishwashing detergent, sustainable laundry detergent and three gallons of water.
- Conserve water: Using a water spray gun with a shut-off will go a long way toward limiting unnecessary water usage. This way you can keep track of how much water you are using and be more accurate in where you are using it. If you must use a regular garden hose, make sure it has a shut-off valve.
- Use a sea sponge: The process to mold sea sponges into something humans can use is very eco friendly; there are no harmful by-products that result and there is little waste. You can go one step further by disinfecting your natural sponge by soaking them in vinegar or boiling them in water. Bonus: Use old T-shirts and towels to dry off the vehicle without scratching it.
- Made in the shade:If you’re washing your vehicle at home, do it in the shade. Itwill limit the amount of water you use, since it won’t evaporate as easy – especially on a hot, summer day.
- Carpet treatment: To clean the carpeting inside the vehicle, sprinkle some baking soda and wait 15 minutes before vacuuming. This will freshen up the interior and you can also mix it with a few drops of your favourite essential oil if you desire.
- The power of lemon: A mix of two parts olive oil and one-part lemon juice in a squirt bottle will clean any hard surfaces in the interior of your vehicle. Spray the dashboard and centre console, then wipe it away with a clean rag. This natural mixture will keep your car shining and smelling great without harmful chemicals.
- Vinegar for windows: To clean your windows, spray some vinegar onto them and wipe it with a rag. Dry with clean rag. They will sparkle and you’ll avoid using products with ammonia. Bonus: Warm soapy water and rubbing alcohol can help clean your wipers.
- DIY tire wipes: If you’re the type that likes shiny-like-new tires, you can make your own. Find the directions here.
RELATED READING: 8 insurance tips for buying your first car