Is washing your car doing more harm than good? (Giveaway ends 8/24/13)



We do not have the luxury of a house and a driveway to wash our cars in. If we want to wash our cars we need to take them to the local car wash. I wouldn’t mind washing my own car by hand (it can be fun on a hot summer day) but our condo complex doesn’t allow that in the parking lot and we don’t have access to the hoses (only the landscapers are allowed to use them).

As a child I remember helping my dad wash his car and my mom’s car. It was fun. I wish my kids had the opportunity to experience that at least once.

I used to be terrified of car washes. I used to think those long fabric pieces that came down and went back and forth were octopus legs. 🙂 Thankfully I out grew my fear. I actually think going through a car wash is fun now.

If you wash your car in your driveway or in the street you might be shocked to know that washing  your car can do more harm than good. I’m not talking about damage to your car but rather it’s dangerous to our environment. Dirty water that gets rinsed from your car enters storms drains. Toxic and harmful chemicals make their way into the storm drains.

A study by the City of Federal Way, Wash., found that residential car washing led to numerous pollutants being released each year into their storm sewer system, including 190 gallons of gasoline, diesel and motor oil; 400 pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen; and 60 pounds of ammonia.

That is horrible! Who knew a simple thing like washing your car in your driveway could have such a serious impact on our environment.

WaterSavers®, a consumer awareness campaign from the International Carwash Association® (ICA) wants to make consumers aware of how harmful washing your car in your driveway or on the street can be. Even charity car washes can have a negative impact on our environment.

You may be surprised to learn that professional car washes are typically a much greener option for washing vehicles than washing your car in the driveway at home. Washing at home with a garden hose can use more than 60 gallons in as little as five minutes, but most professional car washes treat and recycle water, virtually eliminating waste. The average homeowner uses 116 gallons of water to wash a car, according to the Mid-America Regional Council, and most commercial car washes use 60 percent less water for the entire process than a homeowner uses just to rinse the car.

WaterSavers professional car washes use only 40 gallons or less of fresh water per car wash – that’s less than the typical home washing machine uses per load. The process cleans and re-uses the water for future car washes, or it undergoes treatment prior to returning it clean to the environment. For more information and to find a certified location near you, visit WashWithWaterSavers.com.

This summer, instead of grabbing a bucket and hose, take your car to a local professional car wash to help save water, protect aquatic life and preserve the environment.

Taking hubby's car through the car wash.

Taking hubby’s car through the car wash.

We are HOPEFULLY going to be able to FINALLY buy a house in the very near future (fingers crossed!). Knowing that simply washing our dirty cars can have such an impact we are going to think twice about doing that. I think it’s best to continue washing our cars at the local car wash.

Be sure to check out WaterSavers on both Facebook and Twitter too.

Do you wash your own car in your driveway, on the street or in a parking lot? Knowing the facts about car washing are you going to make a point of having your car washed at a professional car wash?

WaterSavers Summer Prize Package

To help encourage you to take your car to your local professional car wash rather than wash it yourself, I have a special WaterSavers prize package for a lucky reader. The prize package includes;

  • Branded USB Car Charger
  • Pop-Up Trunk Organizer
  • Car Vent Clip
  • $20 VISA Gift Card

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on August 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me how you wash your vehicle? Do you wash it yourself at home or do you take it at a car wash?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I am working with the International Carwash Association to share these tips. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.


  1. Melanie Montgomery says:

    At a car wash..maybe once a month

  2. Jane (EJ) says:

    We take the vehicles to the car wash

  3. Hey Kimberly! I washed my mom and dad’s car too! I live in an apt now so have to take it to the car wash. Incentive in the mail today was a $1 off coupon to where I usually go, so for $3.99, I’m going this weekend. I dust it off with a car duster between washings, which is wonderful btw. In Cali it doesn’t rain that much, so I can get away with that. I could really use this prize pack so thanks!!

  4. I take it to a car wash.

  5. Stephanie Gregory says:

    I wash my car at home with my kids

  6. Ann Fantom says:

    I use professional car wishes in the winter, but I hand wash in our driveway the summer.

  7. We wash our van and truck at the car wash..

  8. I take it to a car wash once or twice a season I don’t do it often, I always forget about it.

  9. My husband usually washes the cars at home. Every now and then he’ll take them to the car wash.
    Thank you!

  10. Wanda McHenry says:

    My husband will put the car through a car wash at the gas station when he fills up my car, which is only every couple of months.

  11. My husband will tell you that I NEVER wash my own car. I have teenagers, so they either wash it for me at home or my husband takes care of it himself.

  12. My husband usually washes it at home.

  13. I take mine to the car wash but not very often.

  14. April Yedinak says:

    I take my car to a car wash.

  15. Most of the time it is washed at home. Sometimes we will take it to a car wash.

  16. Stephanie Phelps says:

    We wash our car at home most of the time but I only get around to that about every other month!

  17. I wash my car maybe twice a year!!

  18. We usually wash our car at home during the summer, and take it to a carwash in the winter.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. I take it to a car wash

  20. Tammy Shelton says:

    My son in law washes our cars at the Car Wash.