May 28, 2023

Verify: Can taking your vehicle to the car wash save water?

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TEXAS, USA — Water restrictions are becoming tighter, drought conditions are more severe and no significant rainfall is in the forecast anytime soon across Central Texas. Now, being mindful of your water usage is more crucial than ever!

So, how can you conserve water? You can check for leaks and take shorter showers, but what about washing your car?

As people try to be mindful of their usage, some are starting to boycott car washes, but this could actually hurt more than help.

Can taking your vehicle to the car wash save water as opposed to washing it at home?

Colin McDonald, Senior Policy Analyst at the Texas Water Foundation, and Shawn Kelley, Manager of Facilities, Safety and Support Services at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Yes, not only can taking your car to the car wash conserve water, but it can also protect our local bodies of water.

Kelley says on average, most car washes are going to use less water as opposed to hand washing your car at home.

"At a regular carwash, especially a modern carwash, most of the water gets recycled," Kelley said.

Juan Rodriguez, Manager at the Aladdin Car Wash in Temple, confirmed this is true for most car washes.

"90% of our wash system does use recycled water," said Rodriguez. "There are drains that are underneath the wash that lead into a tank, and then from that tank, it gets recycled, re-filtered and then pushed back through the system."

While car washes can reclaim water, our sources say taking a trip to the car wash can also be safer for the environment.

"If what's coming off your car is not going into grass or some sort of vegetated cover, it's going to go into the street and straight to your local water body," McDonald added. "That means all the phosphates from your soap which gives you your algae blooms, it means your heavy metals and your exhaust dust and grime that's on the bottom of your car is going to the waterway. It means copper dust from the brakes is going to your waterway. That's why it's almost always advised to go to a car wash regardless if we are in a drought or not."

McDonald shared some tips from the EPA that may be helpful if you can't get to a carwash:

If you have something you would like verified, email [email protected] or [email protected].

More verifies by Reporter Sydney Dishon:

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