I remember as a young boy growing up in Massachusetts when one summer we were experiencing a drought. There were orders from the state to limit water use including your local car wash.

I didn't know this at the time, or maybe it didn't exist back then ('90s), but car washes are actually quite water conscious in terms of consumption and reuse. High pressure hoses and the recycling of water really make a difference.

Fast forward to the winter of '22, sand and salt are everywhere and most annoyingly, on your vehicle. Now, in 15 degree weather, you're probably skipping the Saturday morning car wash in your driveway and opting for the actual car wash.

a car Running through automatic car wash.

What you probably didn't know is that although you're spending a little more money, you're doing the environment a great service. Yes, you read that correctly.



The dirt, grime, oil, and soapy water all end up down the storm drain, and that can be harmful to the water supply.

There's no problem with washing your car. It's just how and where you do it. The average driveway car wash uses a total of 116 gallons of water! Most commercial car washes use 60 percent less water in the entire washing process than a simple home wash uses just to rinse off a car. Most soap contains phosphates and other chemicals that harm fish and water quality. The soap, together with the dirt and oil washed from your car, flows into nearby storm drains which run directly into lakes, rivers, or marine waters. The phosphates from the soap can cause excess algae to grow. Algae look bad, smell bad, and harm water quality. As algae decay, they use up oxygen in the water that fish and other wildlife need. -mass.gov

In some town bylaws, it may say that a ticket or a fine could be issued if you're caught washing your vehicle in your driveway. Massachusetts as a whole, however, at this time has not enacted any law showing its illegality. If you must wash your vehicle at your home, it has been recommended that you do it on the grass.

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