Car Washes More Eco-Friendly Than You Are

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I’ve got to come clean: I use an automatic car wash. I’m WAY too OCD to start cleaning my whip at home. Thanks to a press release from the Splash Car Wash chain, I’ve got a cover story: environmentalism. The company whose name is begging for a spear wants us to know that it’s qualified for the International Carwash Association’s WaterSavers™ program. And you haven’t. Which makes you—and you know who you are—bad, bad people. “The Facts: Using a commercial car wash helps you go green because compared to driveway or parking lot car washing, effluent is routed to treatment facilities as opposed to the curb and storm drains. Once in storm drain systems, toxic wastewater can enter local lakes, streams, rivers and oceans where it becomes a threat to aquatic life. The contaminants found in car wash wastewater are twofold. Firstly, there are the residual chemicals and matter — more severe than run-of-the-mill dirt and dust — that are freed from a car’s exterior when washed. These substances can include oils, greases, rust, trace amounts of benzene and residues from brake pads and exhaust fumes. Secondly, the wastewater can include chemical residues originating from the cleaning agents (soaps, degreasers, sprays, wipes, etc.) used in the car washing process.” And then there’s the water . . .

The Facts: Professional car washing also uses less water with advanced, computerized technology to control water output reducing the water amount used by up to 60 percent compared to a home wash with a garden hose. Splash Car Wash uses special pumps and nozzles that combine half water and half air to create pressure that effectively cleans without requiring large amounts of water. At home washing requires between 80 and 140 gallons per car. Splash Car Wash uses less than 45 gallons per car.

So that’s it guys. Put down that hose and step AWAY from the Griot’s Garage brochure. Think of the fishies!

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
2 of 42 comments
  • Puppyknuckles Puppyknuckles on Aug 26, 2009

    What about the amount of energy it takes to run those giant spinning brushes and slappy flap-curtains, not to mention the rollers that pull cars through? Have you seen the ones with light shows? I wash by hand out of a bucket at a coin-op DIY place in Brooklyn. The only electricity used is the quarter machine making change, and the water is on a 4 minute timer so trust me none goes to waste. My own arm energy seems like the eco-friendliest.

  • Blue adidas Blue adidas on Aug 26, 2009

    puppyknuckles Where in brooklyn is a DIY car wash? I'm in Manhattan and there's nothing too close. Would love to have a place in the city to go.

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.