The Green Way to Clean Your Car

The Green Way to Clean Your Car

Guest Author: Jade Piper

 

Once you own a car, cleaning it becomes part of your routine. Whether it’s once a week, once a month, or once in a blue moon, there are environmentally friendly ways to polish your wheels. This post will give advice on how to clean your car in an environmentally friendly way.

The step-by-step process to clean your car at home the green way!

Before you begin: Start by parking the car on gravel or grass

When you wash your car while it is parked on gravel or grass, it greatly reduces the amount of dirty water that ends up in nearby storm drains. Instead of the water running off your driveway, it will soak down to the ground. 

Method 1: Spot cleaning

Consider spot cleaning your car. Spraying the car down, filling buckets with water, and rinsing sponges can get rather wasteful quite quickly. A simple workaround for this is to use the spot-cleaning method:
• Take a spray bottle filled with water and a sponge
• Walk around the car and clean the dirtiest spots on your car quickly

This method works well when your car is not particularly dirty or dusty.

Method 2: General Cleaning

Step 1: Rinse the exterior of your car with plain water

Using a hose and sprayer, rinse the exterior of your car. Make sure you use a water spray gun attachment on the hose as this will greatly reduce your water usage. Plus, it is a lot more precise than a regular hose.
Pay attention to the bottom areas of the car and the tires as this is where the most dirt accumulates. Try to be conservative with the amount of water you use by only focusing on the dirtiest areas of the vehicle.

Step 2: Use a sponge and some homemade car wash soap to clean the car

Using a hose and sprayer, rinse the exterior of your car. Make sure you use a water spray gun attachment on the hose as this will greatly reduce your water usage. Plus, it is a lot more precise than a regular hose.
Pay attention to the bottom areas of the car and the tires as this is where the most dirt accumulates. Try to be conservative with the amount of water you use by only focusing on the dirtiest areas of the vehicle.

Step 3: Wipe the exterior with a microfiber cloth

Old t-shirts or a soft towel will also work for this. You’ll be able to dry off the car without scratching it.
At this stage, consider incorporating a hydrophobic coating solution such as the spotLESS Windshield Treatment for your windshield. This will reduce the amount of glass cleaner you need going forward by a huge margin.
Plus, it will reduce the amount of wiper fluid needed, allowing you to save on water and be kinder to the environment at the same time.

Step 4: Clean the interiors

Cleaning the interior of your car is not that hard. To do it in an eco-friendly way, here are the steps to follow: 

  • As you are cleaning the exterior, or about 15 minutes before you start cleaning the interiors, sprinkle some baking soda on all surface areas.
  • Vacuum off the baking soda to get a fresh-feeling interior. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the baking soda during this stage to get an even more pleasant smell. 
  • Clean the dashboard and hard surfaces using a homemade cleaning solution. You can make this by mixing two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. All you have to do is spray the target areas with this solution then wipe it off with a rug for a shiny finish. 
  • Clean the windows from the inside using vinegar and a clean rag. 
  • You can make your own air freshener by mixing a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol with 25 drops of essential oil. Put this in a small spray bottle and fill it up with warm water. Shake the solution well and spray the inside of the car. 

Step 5: Dump wastewater correctly

So, you’ve just finished cleaning your car. But you have half a bucket of dirty water left. Should you just dump it out in the street? No! Go dump it in the sink or use it to flush your toilet instead. Water from these areas in your house gets treated correctly, allowing you to negatively impact the environment a lot less. 

What if you have to take your car to the car wash? 

Try to go to a green car wash! You can usually find the best ones in your area by doing just a bit of research. Try to get one that uses green cleaners instead of traditional soap products.

Some commercial car washes also have environmentally friendly waterless car wash systems that do not produce any water runoff from the vehicle. This is a great way to save water while keeping the car looking as good as new.

There are also car wash kits that are designed to conserve water and keep any contaminants generated from car washing from running into the storm drains.

If you can’t find one, you still shouldn’t feel guilty about going to a commercial car wash every so often. A lot of car wash facilities these days are required by law to treat the dirty water they use before releasing it into the city storm drains. Many of them also have high-pressure pumps that allow them to use less water to get the job done very well. Plus, there is the convenience that comes with sitting in your car while machines do the heavy lifting for you.

Final Thoughts

If you have to wash your car at home, there is a homemade eco-friendly cleaning solution alternative for almost everything you need to clean your car. As outlined above, you can make: 

  • As you are cleaning the exterior, or about 15 minutes before you start cleaning the interiors, sprinkle some baking soda on all surface areas.
  • Vacuum off the baking soda to get a fresh-feeling interior. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the baking soda during this stage to get an even more pleasant smell. 
  • Clean the dashboard and hard surfaces using a homemade cleaning solution. You can make this by mixing two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. All you have to do is spray the target areas with this solution then wipe it off with a rug for a shiny finish. 
  • Clean the windows from the inside using vinegar and a clean rag. 
  • You can make your own air freshener by mixing a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol with 25 drops of essential oil. Put this in a small spray bottle and fill it up with warm water. Shake the solution well and spray the inside of the car. 

Cleaning your car may impact the environment in ways that you may not realize. For instance, studies show that the chemicals and particles that are released during the process of car washing contaminate city storm drains and rainwater storage resources throughout the country. This water eventually ends up in natural water sources like rivers and lakes, contaminating those bodies as well.

The good news is that it is possible for car owners to find eco-friendly ways to clean their vehicles. There are also ways to reduce your carbon footprint with how you run your home too. With the tips outlined here, you, too, should have a clean, fresh-smelling car and a clear conscience in no time.