A recent email from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) caught my attention:
C.A.R. Green Tip of the Week: Wash your car
Commercial car washes are more water efficient than garden hoses. A typical commercial car wash uses 100 gallons less water and, often, professional washes reuse and recycle the rinse water.
I thought this was interesting, but I can beat 100 gallons or less – in fact much less. Here’s the story how I figured it out.
In San Francisco washing a car and keeping it clean is always a work in progress. For the most part, when it is not raining, I make this a weekly habit, even in cold weather.
A few years ago I downsized from a single family home to an apartment. The building had a hose, but since it was being used for an auxiliary bike lock, I had to reassess my car washing ritual. I started going to local gas stations with car washes instead, but all of that recycled water on my beautiful little Mazda Miata bothered me. So for awhile, believe it or not, I used Windex on my whole car – no water at all. To say it kindly, this proved to be a tad laborious.
Standing in my garage thinking over the possible options for washing my car, I came up with a plan:
The end result is my car is sparkling clean – and I have used under 10 gallons of water. Admittedly, it may take a few more buckets for a regular-size car, but I get satisfaction in getting the job done with barely any water. I got exercise, because I wasn’t sitting on a bench watching other people wash my car. Oh, and don’t forget I just saved $15 to $20.
OK, I will concede that washing a car with a few buckets of water and using Windex for the odd spot is a bit quirky, but it gets the job done. Today consideration for our environment is an important part of living a full life in San Francisco.
If you have new green solution, please share it!