Eco-friendly car cleaning tips

Many motorists are making the switch to eco-friendly car cleaning products, for a variety of reasons. These could be as straightforward as an aversion to certain packaging or chemicals, prevalent in both household and automotive cleaners, or more immediate concerns. If you wash your car right next to your prized flower beds, you probably don’t want potentially toxic run-off water going straight into the pogonias.

Here we’ll take a quick look at the areas where choosing an eco-friendly product will have the biggest benefit.

Car shampoo

If you were only to switch one of your car cleaning products to an eco-friendly version, this is likely to be the most beneficial. That’s because when you cover a car in suds, either with a bucket and sponge or jet washer, all those chemicals and dirt ends up on your driveway, down a drain, or even runs onto your garden. The biological additives in Fragile Earth car wash solution not only make it safe to release into sewers, they even help keep drains clean and free-flowing while reducing odours, according to the manufacturer.

Eco-friendly car wash is non-toxic and biodegradable, so even if it ends up reaching plants or in a waterway, it shouldn’t cause harm to the environment or creatures living in it. Most also come as a concentrate, meaning they will go further than pre-mixed brands, requiring less packaging.

Companies like Eco Touch don’t offer car shampoo in their range at all, instead promoting their Waterless Car Wash as an even more environmentally friendly solution. By using this, Eco Touch reckons the average motorist could save around 380 litres of water, compared with using a hose and bucket to wash their car. Its Waterless Car Wash is applied to bodywork using a simple spray bottle, left to lift and break down dirt and then wiped away with a microfibre towel – a method of cleaning also favoured by London-based valeting company Dropless.

Invest in a portable pressure washer

If your concern is water usage, using a traditional pressure washer to clean your car is probably out of bounds. An alternative is a portable, pump-action pressure washer, which uses far less water. The Streetwize Portable Power Washer is one such example, holding eight litres of water and using a pump to achieve up to 40 Psi of power, while available for less than £20.

Of course, this won’t rival a mains-powered pressure washer for sheer force, so don’t expect to power clean your patio with it, but for cleaning all but the most soiled of vehicles, it should work just fine. That’s especially the case thanks to its brush attachment, allowing dirt to be agitated as you go.

Avoid buying car cleaning chemicals altogether

If you’re prepared to invest some time in research and elbow grease, a lot of car cleaning tasks can be carried out using household items. Checking first and some experimentation is the key here, but age-old examples include using vinegar to clean glass, or even creating a cleaning solution (with around three parts water to one part vinegar) to remove grime from the interior.

Coconut oil can be used to clean and condition leather, and olive oil will shine plastic interior and exterior trim and repel static dust. Baking soda is another cheap and environmentally friendly way of cleaning the car. Sprinkle some over car floor mats and carpet, then hoover it up to remove odours and freshen them up. It can also be made into a paste to clean away stubborn stains. 

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