Community Car Washes are often a great fundraiser for school groups, scouts, athletic teams and other community groups. However they do come with an accidental side effect. Most car wash detergents contain phosphates or other ingredients that lead to the over nutrification of our streams, ponds and wetlands. Over-nutrification can lead to algae blooms, phosphate contamination, and have other negative impacts on our waterways. Did you know that all storm drains in the City of Woburn ultimately drain to either the Aberjona River or Horn Pond? They may flow to a wetland or other stream fist, but eventually they all end up in either the River or the Pond, and both flow into the Mystic River, which is already impaired by phosphates.
The used water from a Commercial Car Wash is treated to ensure the phosphates and other chemicals used don’t pollute our waterways. But household and community car washes don’t have the benefit of this treatment, as runoff from these types of car washes just flows down the street and into a stream or wetland, maybe through a storm drain first.
But there is something we can do to help! We asked the Woburn High School AP Environmental Science class to help. They researched and produced a list of phosphate-free and biodegradable car wash detergents that you can use for your next community car wash fundraiser, or even when you wash your car at home. Also, next time you wash your car at home, try parking on the lawn when you wash it if you can. This way the runoff waters your lawn instead of running into the storm drain system! Below, you can find the list of car wash detergents the students identified for you. Check your favorite store for these products, encourage them to carry them, or order online.
Phosphate-free, biodegradable Car Wash Detergents
- Simple Green Vehicle Wash
- Non-toxic formula
- Readily biodegradable formula
- Eco Touch Car Wash Shampoo
- Non-toxic; plant-based
- Packaging: bottle from 100% recyclable #2 polyethylene
- Sonax 314300-755 Car Wash Shampoo Concentrate
- Phosphate Free, pH neutral formula
- Also available in bulk size, 5L
- Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash
- pH balanced formula
- Biodegradable ingredients
- Green Earth Technologies Car Wash
- G-CLEAN™ Heavy Duty Hydrophobic Car Wash
- ULTIMATE BIODEGRADABLE* and environmentally safe