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 and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  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.
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  12. My husband usually washes it at home.

  13. I take mine to the car wash but not very often.
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  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
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  20. Tammy Shelton says:

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

  21. D SCHMIDT says:

    We always go to the car wash but just moved so need to find a new one in our new area.

  22. at home and at a car wash—

  23. steve weber says:

    If the weather is nice enough I will wash it myself.

  24. I need to do it more often, but usually go to the car wash.

  25. Kimberly Schotz says:

    We always use the car wash

  26. My husband usually takes it to the car wash.
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  27. melissa Resnick says:

    i take it somewhere

  28. Jessie C. says:

    We take it at a car wash

  29. We do both. In the summer we wash at home and during the winter we wash it at the car wash.

  30. Jessica To says:

    I usually wash my truck at home in my garage.

  31. Cynthia R says:

    the real answer is i don’t wash my car, which means i have a dirty car, i think in the last year i’ve washed it once at home and another time brought it to a gas station car wash.

  32. We dont go through car washes or do it in the driveway, we pay $2 to spray off the car..
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  33. usually at home. thankyou, ken
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  34. Suzanne K says:

    I take my car to the car wash to be cleaned – added benefit is that they also clean the inside!

  35. Thomas Murphy says:

    I take my car to the car wash.

  36. I almost always take the car to a professional car wash unless I’m being frugal, in which case I do it myself at home!

  37. we wash it at home with the water hose!
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  38. Sherrie C. says:

    My husband washes our car because he’s always worried about his paint job getting damaged.


  39. car wash

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  40. Katie Roch says:

    Most of the time we wash our vehicles ourselves unless they’re really dirty in which case we take them to a car wash.

  41. I usually take mine to a car wash!

  42. Andrea Williams says:

    We take our van to the car wash.

  43. We live in the country and wash the car in the backyard. In the winter, I go to the car wash.

  44. There’s a car washing station at my apartment complex which comes in handy for a quick hose-off, but for real washes I go to an actual car wash
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  45. Jen Haile says:

    I take it to a car wash!

  46. Most of the time we wash it at home, but at times we take it to a car wash.

  47. I take it at a car wash
    Thanks for the contest.

  48. subscribe email: slehandwc at gmail dot com

  49. At home, but interesting to learn that going to the car wash is more eco-friendly

  50. We usually wash the car at the do-it-yourself bay at the local car wash.

  51. Michelle Hudak says:

    My husband usually washes it at home

  52. We take it through the car wash. I like to know the undercarriage is clean as well, and I can’t get underneath at home. Also, it’s only 4 dollars for a regular was at our local place, so it’s affordable.
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  53. Debra Hall says:

    my son washes mine at home

  54. I wash my car at home.

  55. ReggieMann says:

    I take my car to a car wash

  56. We do both – sometimes car wash, sometimes ourselves.

  57. Monique Rizzo says:

    I don’t do any of it, but hubby does it at home, by hand!
    Thanks for the chance.

  58. I like to wash at the car wash once a month.

  59. Jennifer Reed says:

    I take my car to a professional car wash.

  60. Jennifer Reed says:

    I follow by Bloglovin under Jennifer Reed.

  61. Most times we wash the car at home.

  62. Jennifer T. says:

    I used to wash mine at home but in the last year I’ve started going to an automated carwash. I just found out it’s a WaterSaver’s one.

  63. Michele P says:

    I usually wash my vehicle at the local car wash.

  64. Jennifer T. says:

    I follow on Bloglovin’ under MagMom73.

  65. Jessica Cox says:

    we take it to a car wash

  66. Jessica Cox says:

    I follow on bloglovin as jessicacox12764

  67. I wash mine in the rain.

  68. Stephanie Larison says:

    My husband takes it to the car wash

  69. Angela Kinder says:

    Since we get a coupon for a free car wash whenever we get our oil changed, we take it to a car wash.

  70. Angela Kinder says:

    Since we get a coupon for a free car wash whenever we get our oil changed, we take it to a car wash.

  71. Jody Sisson says:

    In the summer we wash our cars at home, in the winter we go to the car wash.

  72. joseph gersch jr says:

    i wash my car myself

  73. Michelle Small says:

    We take our cars to the do it yourself car washes in town.

  74. Eileen Burke says:

    I usually wash it at home.

  75. Audra Weathers says:

    I wash mine in the driveway by hand, but not very often.

  76. i take it to a car wash.

    rafflecopteR: daniel

  77. We have a great new car wash in town & we take our cars there – plus, they have an awesome vacuum!

  78. Paula Tavernie says:

    I wash myself in the driveway!!

  79. wash at home

  80. Jill Myrick says:

    My husband always takes our cars to the car wash to clean them.


  81. we do both depends on how lazy we feel

  82. I do both, depending on how much time I have. I hate paying the high price for a car wash and they don’t do much of a job but sometimes there is just no time for good home car wash.

  83. Mary Casper says:

    I wash it at home

  84. My dealer does it for me
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  85. Nicole C. says:

    We take ours to a Car Wash!

  86. I take it through the drive through car wash.

  87. matt lehman says:

    i like to wash my jeep myself, i really should do it more often though.

  88. Traci McCormick says:

    We usually take it to the car wash but wash it ourselves, not the machine.

  89. Nicole Millheim says:

    I usually go to a car wash and do it..but lately the sap on the trees have been sticking to the car and I have had to do it by hand

  90. Lisa Garner says:

    I usually wash my car at home but will be rethinking this.

  91. Sometimes I wash it myself but the last time it was washed when I got it serviced.

  92. Susan Smith says:

    My husband usually washes it at home.

  93. kyl neusch says:

    wash myself

  94. I wash it at the car wash since our apartment complex won’t let us wash it here anyway.

  95. christopher h says:

    I take it to a self wash

  96. There is only one car wash in town and we use that 🙂 LOL
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  97. Terry Cross says:

    Sometimes at home but mostly the car wash

  98. Sandra Travis says:

    I do a combination of car wash and home wash. Depends on what kind of mood I am in.

  99. Miz Vickik says:

    We wash ours in the driveway.

  100. I wash my car, thanks!

  101. Following via bloglovin – kimberlybreid – Kim Reid

  102. Rebecca Lock says:

    I take it to the car wash. I live on dirt roads in the country so my car does get dirty often.

  103. Brittney House says:

    I go the car wash at least twice a month.

  104. Leslie L Stanziani says:

    We wash our vans at home every couple months.My kids love “helping” so that they have an excuse to play in the hose.

  105. Leslie L Stanziani says:

    I follow on bloglovin as lstanziani or Leslie Stanziani ( not sure which name it would show up under).

  106. We take our car to the car wash.

  107. We wash our car at home. Luckily, we have a well and not city water.
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  108. Mihaela D. says:

    I take it to a car wash 🙂

  109. Starr Greenwell says:

    I always take it to the automatic car wash.

  110. I don’t really wash my car I let the rain take care of it for me!

  111. We wash it at home.

  112. Jamie Brigham says:

    I barely ever wash mine at home or at a car wash, I usually let the rain clean it until I get in the mood for my car to be perfectly clean then I was it myself by hand.

  113. When it’s warm out we wash it with the kids. They love it and think its fun. When it turns colder we go through the carwash.

  114. We take our car to the carwash

  115. Bloglovin name Annette E

  116. susan smoaks says:

    typically i take it to a car wash unless i am pressed for time then i wash it at home

  117. I wash it at home

  118. I’m too busy to hand-wash at home; I’m glad to hear it’s actually better to have it done in a car wash.

  119. Donna Pyszk says:

    I take it to one of those self car washes where you put in quarters for what you want to do .. wash, rinse, extras etc…

  120. Richard Hicks says:

    half the time we wash it at home and other times at car wash

    brich22 at earthlink dot net

  121. Francine Anchondo says:

    car wash

  122. kristin sims says:

    I don’t do either….I guess a dirty car doesn’t bother me, it only gets washed when it rains 🙂

  123. Scarlett Graham says:

    We was the car at home. My son loves to.

  124. Michelle C says:

    We wash the car at a car wash.

  125. Janice Cooper says:

    Do both actually but lately head to the speedy car wash 🙂

  126. Trisha McKee says:

    I wash my car at home. That’s more fun! My daughter helps me. We turn the music up and have fun.

  127. Thanks for the giveaway…we wash & wax the cars at home about 80% of the time; we wash them in the grass to prevent runoff.

  128. My son washes my car at home.