It's not uncommon for a car owner to think commercial car washes are less eco-friendly and more wasteful than washing a vehicle at home. On the surface, it makes sense. This perception is strengthened by the fact that most individuals assume that because they have control over the amount of water they use, they can automatically choose to use less.
The reality is that it's difficult to measure the amount of water used at home. It's easy to think, "I control the water flow. I can recycle water and use it on the lawn or use eco-friendly cleaning products and stop water usage when I see fit," contributing to this belief.
As a result, a potential consensus is that commercial car washes are less environmentally sustainable — until you look closer. Automatic eco-friendly car washes (and memberships) with the proper procedures and tools are the most sustainable vehicle maintenance option, and cause the least environmental harm.
But how? We'll explain soon enough. But before we jump into the nuances of the commercial car wash and why they're a better eco-friendly way to keep your vehicle and the environment clean, let's talk about why you should care in the first place.
Importance of Caring for the Environment
"What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" ― Henry David Thoreau, Familiar Letters
Better still, what good is a car if you haven't got a tolerable planet to drive it on?
The natural environment around us is our home. From the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe — the environment keeps us alive. That's why taking a sustainable approach to car washing is so important.
However, the urgency extends beyond the present and into the future. Consider the legacy we leave behind for our families and children. The World Health Organization even asserts that better environmental practices could prevent 23% of premature deaths.
Of course, taking an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to the environment is easy, but it's also a dangerous assumption. Often, we read about environmental issues without genuinely feeling connected to their global impact as we remain engrossed in our daily lives, oblivious to the consequences of our choices.
But it's important to know that every little thing we do can add up and impact the environment. How we use energy, manage waste, and live our lives all contribute to the planet's health.
Witnessing inspiring examples, like children in Barcelona "jumping out of bed" to join bike buses to school or wounded combat soldiers working with scientists to restore coral reefs with a twofold mission of saving an ecosystem threatened by disease and rising sea temperatures while helping veterans heal, remind us that every individual effort matters and that a connection to nature is a powerful tool for change.
Now with an understanding of the significance of preserving the environment, let's explore how you can contribute to a more sustainable world by simply changing the way you view vehicle maintenance and washing your own car.
Car Wash Memberships: More Frequent Washing, Less Intensive Washes
A car wash membership is a subscription service where you pay a regular fee for frequent car washes. You get convenient access to wash services at a fixed cost and can save money in the long run. It's a relatively better way to keep your car clean without damaging the environment, and here's why.
Membership encourages regular car washes, allowing you to visit the facility as often as needed within a month, all for a fixed cost. This not only keeps your car consistently shiny and free from dirt, dust, and grime buildup but also safeguards the paint and finish, preventing damage caused by contaminants.
Frequent car washes also enable the staff to use biodegradable soaps and gentler cleaning products, as there is less dirt and grime to tackle. This approach ensures that less aggressive chemicals are necessary, reducing potential harm to your car and the environment.
The environmental benefits of car wash memberships shine brightly. When you wash your car at home, you might use a lot of water and let all the dirty water runoff flow into the streets and storm drains. But commercial washes use high-tech equipment to use less water and even recycle it.
One Desk reports that commercial car wash facilities use approximately 30-70 gallons of water per car wash. In contrast, when you wash your car at home in the driveway, you usually use a significantly larger amount of water, ranging from 80 to 140 gallons per wash. So, you're helping to conserve water and prevent pollution by using a car wash membership.
In the long run, having a car wash membership is not only more convenient and better for your car, but it's also a greener choice. You're taking care of your car and taking care of the planet at the same time.
What Makes an Eco-Friendly Car Wash Truly Eco-Friendly
An eco-friendly car wash adopts washing processes and technologies that minimize environmental impact while providing effective car cleaning services. That said, some automatic car washes use the "eco-friendly" label as a marketing tactic without implementing genuine green practices.
Here's what to look out for when you're ready to commit to a car wash membership:
Water Reclaiming/Usage Techniques
When washing your car, a substantial amount of water, laden with dirt, grease, and chemical residues, flows off the vehicle's surface. Unfortunately, at-home or conventional car washes often allow this wastewater runoff to be directed into storm drains and sewer systems, leading to the potential pollution of local water bodies and the environment.
In contrast, eco-friendly car washes prioritize responsible water management by implementing specialized recycling systems like water reclamation tools and settling tanks. These recycling systems efficiently collect the runoff water, and through a careful separation process, contaminants and sediments are removed, enabling the water to be recycled for future washes as opposed to a home car wash.
This closed-loop water reclamation approach uses less water overall, preserving precious freshwater resources and preventing harmful pollutants from entering the ecosystem.
To ensure that recycled water meets rigorous cleanliness standards, eco-friendly car washes take an additional step. They use advanced filtration techniques to eliminate impurities, chemicals, and solid particles from the collected water. This thorough treatment guarantees that the recycled water is safe and suitable for reuse.
Moreover, some sustainable car washes go a step further and employ water purification technologies such as reverse osmosis or UV treatment. This way, they achieve an even higher level of water quality, ensuring that the recycled water conserves resources and delivers outstanding car wash results with high-pressure nozzle systems and hoses.
An eco-friendly car wash also places a strong emphasis on energy efficiency. This means using modern, energy-saving technologies and practices to minimize the overall energy consumption during the car wash operation. These energy-efficient features include LED lighting, motion sensors to control lighting and equipment, and optimizing the heating and cooling systems for maximum efficiency.
Eco-friendly car washes can also employ solar panels to harness renewable energy from the sun, reducing their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. This way, automatic car washes actively reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.
Friendly Cleaning Products
Eco-friendly car washes use biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning products. These car wash cleaning products break down naturally and pose minimal risk to aquatic life and ecosystems. Using friendly cleaning products makes a car wash eco-friendly because it avoids releasing harmful chemicals into water sources and soil.
Using eco-friendly cleaning products reduces the impact on the environment. It ensures the well-being of car wash employees and customers who may come into contact with these substances. These car washes contribute to a safer and healthier ecosystem by opting for eco-friendly cleaning products.
Another characteristic of a truly eco-friendly car wash is the adoption of reusable supplies. Instead of using disposable materials like single-use towels, eco-friendly car washes employ microfiber cloths and wash mitts that can be washed and reused multiple times.
Even better, eco-friendly car washes use wasteless car wash solutions. This approach to car washing drastically reduces the need for excessive water usage and prevents potential water contamination. This way, they reduce waste and also decrease the demand for raw materials, making the car wash more environmentally sustainable in the long run.
Certifications and Endorsements
Reputable eco-friendly car washes often seek third-party certifications or endorsements from recognized environmental organizations. These certifications (like "Green Seal" and "WaterSavers") validate their green claims and demonstrate their dedication to meeting strict environmental standards.
Keep your car clean regularly without sacrificing the environment
As leaders in the car wash business and environmental advocates, we know you don't have to compromise on your car's cleanliness or the environment's well-being when you can have both. That's what an eco-friendly commercial car wash affords you. But how do you know the right eco-friendly car wash to visit around you?
It's easy. Use EverWash. EverWash makes it easy to find and use professional car washes. The app helps you quickly find nearby commercial car washes without wasting time driving around. Just open the app, find the closest one, and go there without any worries.
Learn more about EverWash for a better way to wash your car, or click here for our blog post on "How a Professional Car Wash Can Help the Environment"