I’ve seen a couple of eco car washes popping up lately, so I wanted to highlight them in case you’ve been looking for an eco-alternative to the regular toxic soap and wasteful water routine. I rarely wash my car… usually only when my husband points out how dirty it looks and insists. I never notice dirty cars, but it is nice when the car is clean, every once in a blue moon.
Eco Detail is a new waterless auto detailer who uses nothing but all natural eco-friendly products to clean your car, saving 50 gallons of water per car. That’s a lot of water to save!
They have a location in San Diego and several around Los Angeles. I just tried them and the guy was with my car for at least two hours! It looked really great and it has stayed clean for a long time. He used no water and all of the products are apparently natural. I was a little suspicious because they were really colorful products with no labels, but it did smell clean and completely non-toxic. Even so, I called to confirm—the exterior cleaner is a ph-balanced, plant-derived solution (with some polymers). On the interior, they use a special bio-enzyme solution.
Keep it Klean is another company in Los Angeles I’ve called to wash my car. You call them up and make an appointment, and they come to your house. They offer a waterless, eco-friendly car wash using a citrus-based cleaner that is not harmful to the environment, which is great. For the interiors, they use Green Works brand cleaning products.
Unfortunately, for shampooing and detailing, they use the normal cleaning-type stuff, which contains palm wax (here is more info on why palm oil is bad from kind lifer Wildflower). So, not ideal, but it doesn’t seem or smell anywhere near as toxic as the stuff they use when you take your car to a drive-in type place.
If you can’t make it to a waterless one, check in with your local car washes to see if they recycle their water. I was surprised to find out that car washes in LA do it, thank goodness!!
For washing your car at home, Mary Cordaro gives us some great suggestions: For the exterior, just add a couple of drops of any castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s, to a bucket of water and clean with a soft cloth. It works even better with a soft microfiber cloth. For the interior of the car, wipe down all non-fabric surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth–no cleaner needed! Vacuum the carpets and fabric upholstery. For a general cleaner, you can mix water and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Spray, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe with a clean cloth. For dirty or stained carpets, try AFM Carpet Shampoo.
The most eco thing I can think of is don’t wash your car! Ha! If you have these waterless dudes or dudettes come wash your car, ask them to use your soap for interiors so everything is non-toxic and eco-friendly.
Anywho, these options seem better than wasting a ton of water and using chemical-laden soaps to wash your car. If anyone knows of a better service, please share.
Is there an eco-car wash near you?
How do you keep your car clean and eco-friendly?