Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug. If you’re the former, you’re in luck, because Sactown boasts a wide array of high-quality, environmentally conscious car washes to keep rides clean. The most common type of Sacramento car wash is an automatic facility, but the city also has several alternatives that will keep you on good terms with Mother Nature.Automatic Car Washes: Then and NowThe automatic car wash wasn’t invented in one fell swoop. First, there were drive-thru washes, where workers cleaned vehicles as they drove through a tunnel. Then, in 1946, a system was developed that pulled a car through automatically by latching its bumper to a conveyor belt. Water rained down from above while manually controlled brushes scrubbed the car’s surface, finishing with a dry from a giant blower. The sequence is the same today. However, the conveyor belts now engage the wheels, and the brushes turn and swish by themselves. In addition, there are jets that shoot foam and even dispense wax and polish. This process expends an excessive amount of water, though—about 45 gallons. Several area car washes have gone to great lengths to combat this problem. One such Sacramento car wash is the Blue Coral Green-certified Folsom Glenn Car Wash, which uses approximately three times less water than a standard driveway wash. The city’s sole full-service car wash also utilizes a water-recycling system that keeps contaminated water out of local streams and rivers. Harv’s Car Wash is another eco-friendly option. A participant in the international WaterSavers program, the facility makes conservation its top priority by using reclaimed water and high-pressure nozzles to wash vehicles.Washing by Hand: An Economical AlternativeThe average at-home car wash uses roughly 80–140 gallons of water. That may be wasteful, but what’s the alternative if you want to personally clean your car? Self-serve facilities are the the answer to that question. Orbit Car Wash is one of the city’s most notable examples. Here, visitors wash their rides by hand while a water-capture system collects and cleans excess water for later use. Orbit also invites drivers to use its touchscreen control panel to select their wash type and pay from the comfort of their cars, vans, and SUVs, which is just one example of the numerous tech-savvy features at car-wash facilities around town.