Washing a car is an activity that we often take for granted. But with California’s current drought situation, water conservation is high on the minds of officials and lawmakers. The state as a whole is aiming to cut back water usage by as much as 25%. Drastic measures are being taken in San Jose, where officials are aiming for a 36% reduction in water usage. Homeowners are only allowed to water their lawns on certain days. Car owners are now also feeling the pain, as they are banned from using water to wash their cars. Does this mean that they’re supposed to drive around in dirty cars?
It means that car wash businesses are winning. You are allowed to take your car to a commercial car wash, since many use recycled water to wash cars. Many have pricey water recycling systems costing $90,000, but the cost savings is well worth the price. When the water flows off cars, it is captured, filtered and reused 4-5 times. This means that each car wash uses only about two gallons of water. This is a savings of about 100 gallons over washing your car at home.
While washing a car with a water nozzle is still allowed in some areas in California, San Jose has banned it altogether. Even quickly washing off a vehicle or two can lead to a police visit – and a hefty fine. While the ban is practical, it can be an inconvenience to those who don’t live near a car wash facility. They’re not on every street corner like Starbucks, and for a person who is used to washing his or her car at home, suddenly having to find a car wash can be a hassle. By the same token, driving around in a dirty car for too long can lead to paint damage and even rust. So is there a way to wash your car at home without water?
There is, in fact. If you absolutely refuse to visit a car wash, you can clean your car at home with a waterless car-wash product. You can get these from your local auto parts store. Grab a bottle and five or so microfiber towels. Start at the roof and spray the product on one section at a time. Wipe the spray with a towel and watch the dirt and grime disappear. Replace the towel once it gets complete dirty so you don’t scratch your car.