Traditionally, all you had to worry about when washing your car was scratching the paint. But the drought in California has introduced much bigger concerns, leading to statewide restrictions on water usage that have affected the hose-and-driveway method and even the professional car-wash industry. But with new concerns come new innovations, and in San Diego, car-wash companies have responded with eco-friendly approaches that are gentle on the environment but still aggressive on dirt. Ditch the Bucket Environmental concerns have led to a reassessment of our daily habits, and car washing has not escaped the scrutiny. In just five minutes, a DIY wash with a garden hose can use up to 60 gallons of water. In addition to usage concerns, experts have shown that the chemical runoff from a driveway car wash empties into our lakes and rivers via storm drains. The car-wash industry isn’t exempt either. In recent years, the International Carwash Association created WaterSavers, a program that promotes water recycling and conservation among its nationwide network of facilities. To be a participating member of WaterSavers, a car wash must follow a strict protocol that requires the facility use no more than 40 gallons of fresh water per car, route all its water to a treatment facility, and use water-efficient equipment. The Waterless Wash and Mobile Detail While some car washes have committed to reducing their water usage, others have abandoned it entirely. Enter the waterless carwash, which typically uses biodegradable soaps that do double duty to rinse and clean the car’s exterior without the need for a bucket or hose. The eco-friendly mission has even expanded into mobile car detailing. In San Diego, LA, and San Francisco, companies are sprouting up as an alternative to the conventional wash and detail facility. For instance, Earth Car Wash technicians, who travel to the customer’s location, limit their use of water to a minimum and employ all-organic wax, protecting agents, and shampoo.
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