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Why Washing Your Car in the Driveway is Bad and What You Can Do About it

So many people continue washing a car in their driveway regularly throughout the year without considering how they are negatively impacting the local environment.

There are countless harmful chemicals in carwash products that people routinely use, and that doesn’t even consider all the oils, fuels, and other harmful compounds that are clinging to the exterior of your vehicle that you’re about to set free into the waterways nearby.

If you’re cleaning your car in your driveway on a regular basis, you’re probably unknowingly sending chemicals out into the streams, lakes, and rivers nearby. 

Fortunately, there are ways for you to avoid harming the environment by making simple changes to the way you maintain your car’s exterior.

Learn about how simple hand washing can hurt local wildlife when done improperly and what alternatives are available to you to help you avoid making these same mistakes. 

How Driveway Washing Harms Local Waterways

If there’s a storm drain on the street anywhere along your street, your carwashing activities are sending chemicals straight into the waterways in your community and surrounding areas.

This is because all the water that’s rinsed off your vehicle during the washing process carries chemicals, oils, fuels, heavy metals, and much more with it down into the storm drain and out into rivers or other local waterways. 

Even more gentle soaps and detergents can do damage to the animals in the water nearby if it’s allowed to grow to more concentrated levels. While a quick rinse down might seem harmless to you, you aren’t just wasting drinking water on your vehicle; you’re also sending chemicals into the local ecosystem. 

One of the most obvious changes you can make to reduce this issue is to stop washing your car in the driveway and wash it on the grass instead. This gives the water a filter to pass through and captures those particles in the soil rather than the water.

This still isn’t ideal if you’re removing large amounts of harmful chemicals from your vehicle, though, and there are other healthier options for you to clean your car as well. 

Serious Impacts on Aquatic Wildlife

Aquatic wildlife such as birds, fish, frogs, snakes, and more are all delicate creatures that are only as healthy as the water they survive in. Over time heavy metals and toxic chemicals build up in lakes and streams that these animals live in and harm their health.

There’s a reason that local government agencies recommend you avoid or limit the amount of local fish you consume on a regular basis. That’s because these animals have high amounts of heavy metals in them, and they can actually make you sick or harm your health if you eat too much at one time. 

Even gentle detergents can harm the coatings on fish and keep their gills from functioning properly, leading them to struggle to get the oxygen they need for survival. That’s why it’s so beneficial to be mindful of how your actions impact the local wildlife and the environment overall.

By making simple changes to how you maintain your vehicle and by changing the way you wash it, you can reduce your impact without sacrificing much at all. 

Reduce Your Impact When Washing at Home

If you aren’t willing to travel to a carwash that treats all the chemicals and soaps that come off each vehicle, there are steps you can take to reduce your impact on the local environment while still cleaning your vehicle at home. 

Begin by moving off the driveway and onto a grassy surface instead. This prevents as much runoff and gives the ground and local plants a chance to filter the water coming from your vehicle before it reaches local waterways. 

Along with moving your wash over into your yard, invest in biodegradable soaps and use those to clean all the surfaces of your vehicle instead of traditional carwash chemicals.

Also, be mindful to wring out your cleaning rags into a bucket to minimize how much soap and debris gets dropped onto the ground while cleaning your vehicle. You can dispose of all the soaps and remaining chemicals into a drain in your home, where it will be treated before reaching the local water supply. 

Alternatively, if this all sounds like too much work, you can hire a waterless car wash service to visit your home and clean your car so you can skip over washing a car in your driveway entirely. The right provider will get your car clean without harming the environment in the process. 

Visit a Local Car Wash

While a local car wash likely isn’t the best option if you’re interested in protecting your car’s finish, working with one of these companies is still better than hand washing your vehicle in your driveway.

Local car wash facilities include wastewater treatment measures that capture harmful chemicals before they have a chance to reach the local waterways. By going to even a basic car wash, you’re ensuring the chemicals cleaned from your vehicle won’t have a chance to make it to the waters around your home. 

There are different types of car wash services available today, and if you’re set on working with a traditional service, you should choose a touchless car wash to protect your vehicle from scrapes and damage.

It’s risky to visit a traditional automatic car wash that uses brushes to clean your vehicle. This is a surefire way to get scratches on your car. It’s much better to use a touchless service that only cleans your vehicle with high-pressure water that won’t damage your vehicle’s finish. 

There is an even more environmentally friendly option than a touchless car wash, though, and with the right provider, it’s more convenient as well.

You should consider how a waterless car wash can leave you with a clean and protected vehicle without the need to even leave your home in the first place. 

Consider a Waterless Car Wash Instead

A waterless car wash service uses specialized chemicals and cleaning techniques that remove dirt and debris from your vehicle without wasting water in the process.

Only small amounts of chemical sprays are used, along with specialized rags and cleaning tools, and special coatings and finishes for optimal protection.

To get the most from these modern cleaning services, you must work with a reputable provider that has the experience and the tools to give you top-end results.

If you want to maintain your vehicle effectively while also reducing your environmental impact, you should work with a company like No-H20 to have your car cleaned right in your home driveway or at your business without harming the environment in the process. 

Washing a car in a driveway isn’t the best way to clean your vehicle, and it’s pretty harmful to the environment as well.

Taking simple steps to use gentle cleansers on your vehicle on grass instead of a paved surface, or to adopt modern waterless washing services, such as No-H20, will protect the environment while allowing you to maintain a clean vehicle conveniently.

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