skip to main content | skip to footer
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Sustainability - Sustainability - Greener DENR

Sustainability

Greener DENR Logo

 

“Greener” Car Washing

Brittany Hurtado, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation

Now that spring has sprung it won’t be long before the pollen attacks us. Everything will be covered in a thick layer of yellow dust…including your car. Before you wash it, here are some things to consider that will help preserve the health of your local water systems. People usually want to know which is “greener” - hand washing or using an automatic carwash?

Automatic Carwash

Water from an automatic carwash is required by law to be cleaned and treated before entering any water systems. In addition, it’s estimated that automatic carwashes use less than half the water as opposed to hand washing a car. So paying a little more is worth it to be “green.”

Hand washing

Any water or chemical cleaner that goes down your storm drains goes directly into the ponds and streams, which later collects into larger bodies of water. Therefore, hand washing your car is not the best option. But washing your car on a surface such as grass or gravel, as opposed to the pavement, can filter the dirty water. People should try to wash cars on grass or gravel when possible.

There are “green” car cleaning products (such as “Simple Green” or Gliptones “Wash n Glow”) that are biodegradable and contain fewer pollutants. Or you can simply make your own cleaning product by mixing one cup of liquid dishwashing soap and 3/4 cup of powdered laundry detergent (each should be chlorine- and phosphate-free and non-petroleum-based) with three gallons of water. This concentrate can be used sparingly with water over exterior car surfaces.

Another option?

If money is a factor, a cheaper solution is to use the self-serve carwash where you put change in and use the water wands to clean your car. Water used after washing is treated before entering a water system.

For more information, go to: http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/car_wash.htm.
 

Web Content Display Web Content Display

DENR Sustainability Vision

DENR is the primary environment agency and model for sustainable actions of all North Carolina government agencies.


DENR Sustainability Mission

To inspire a culture of sustainability within DENR by promoting environmentally responsible actions.

 

25608 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.