Clean Car Can Say, ‘I Saved Water’

Car washes have two superpowers. They keep your car sparkly clean. And compared to washing a vehicle with a hose and soapy water, they can save water.

Checkered Flag Express Car Wash in Lake Forest is a star example. The local business was recently honored by IRWD as a certified WaterStar. By employing a water-recirculation system, it uses about 75% less drinking water on average for each vehicle washed, compared to traditional car wash methods. Recirculation technology retrieves water used in the washing process, removes dirt from the water through filtration or treatment systems, then reuses the water on the next wash or subsequent rinse.

A typical traditional car wash uses 50–80 gallons of fresh water per vehicle. Checkered Flag’s system uses fewer than 20, making up the difference with reused water. Thus, one car wash can save more than 6 million gallons of drinking water a year.

The water eventually is released into the sewage collection system—where it is reborn yet again through IRWD’s recycling process.

To find a car wash in your area with a recirculated-water system, watch for ads online, in local papers, and on car wash signs.