Car Washing

washing a carWhen you wash cars on the street, driveway, or in a parking lot, the water cannot be absorbed by these hard surfaces.

Water from washing cars may contain oils, greases, solvents, detergents and other pollutants runs directly into the storm drains, which is not treated, but instead empties directly into our local waterways. This degrades water quality and harms aquatic life in our streams, rivers and ocean.

Things You Can Do

  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash where waste water is captured and drains to the sanitary sewer.
  • When washing your car at home, wash on an area that absorbs water such as grass or gravel.
  • Use biodegradable, phosphate-free waster-based cleaners only.
  • Minimize water usage. Use a hose nozzle with flow restrictions to minimize water volume.
  • Empty wash buckets into sinks or toilets.
  • When planning a car wash fundraiser, partner with a commercial car wash facility. Consider selling car wash tickets instead of actually washing cars.

Consider partnering with a commercial car wash and hold your fundraiser there. You can sell coupons good for a car wash at their location. This helps to protect our water quality because commercial car washes recycle some of the wash water and send dirty water to the sanitary sewer system where it is treated to remove harmful pollutants before being returned to the environment. 

If you must have your car wash in person at a community location, we now have car wash kits that will assist you in hosting environmentally friendly car washes available for check out. 

Each kit contains everything you need to keep runoff out of the storm drains. 
To request a kit for checkout, contact our Storm Water Public Relations Specialist at

You can watch the video tutorial of how to use it here: