Car Wash Fundraiser – Green or Toxic?

How can this be a question, you might ask? Green or Toxic?

I don’t want my students/children/children’s friends exposed to toxic products during a car wash fundraiser!

Are there other choices?


I want to share the “how” and the “why” of putting on a Green Car Wash Fund Raiser. I look forward to your comments, at the end of this blog post. If you are in the Eugene or Springfield, OR area (and many other areas in the country also have these kits) you can borrow a Fish-Friendly Car Wash kit.

5 steps to a non-toxic Green CarWash Fundraiser:

1. Educate

This short (3 min) video does a great job explaining what the issues are, and how to address them, in a fish-friendly way.

Where we live, Eugene, OR, all of our stormwater drains into the local rivers. This storm water system was designed to move rainwater. There are no filters, no treatment plants

Fish Friendly Reminder

No processing of any kind of the storm water – just straight to the local rivers. During the summer we swim in our rivers, we fish in our rivers, our children and dogs play in the rivers… Doesn’t it sound like a clean river would be a great idea?

Did you know that when you wash a car, you are washing off: soap (usually toxic), oil, chemicals and heavy metals?

2. Ask Questions

  1. In your neighborhood, where does your storm/street water go? When you or your neighbors wash your car, and the water runs down the street, where does it end up? The answer might surprise you.
  2. What are you planning on using as soap? Have you read the label? Do you know what’s in it? This is a great question to ask the car washing team. The answers will surprise you! And not in a good way.
  3. When you are scouting out locations, walk around. How is the water drained away from your site? Is there lots/some trash in the location that may be washed down the drains? Cigarette butts, wrappers, lots of oil on the pavement and other trash, etc.
  4. Does the location have access to a grass or gravel area where the water could soak into the ground and be naturally filtered?
  5. Is there a place where you can run a waste hose (into the sew system), so the water can be filtered?
  6. Info on toxins in detergent cleaners:Environmental working group:
  7. Where to purchase my recommended and favorate multipurpose non-toxic, organic, biodegradable cleaner – click here.

3. About the Car

  • Often, using a detergent-based cleaner (conventional products) can break down the wax on the car, stripping the wax away and leaving the paint dull and unprotected. This is not a good marketing tool for your fund raising car wash!
  • Good car wash soaps are not made up of detergents and will be rich in lubricants (why? To help the grime glide off the car).
  • Tempted to use a “cheap” conventional detergent product? Think again. The owner of the car will be unhappy with the results and remember the drains to streams? Do you really want to swim in that detergent?

4. Saving Water with the 3 bucket system:

  1. Did you know that a 5/8 inch hose running at 50 pounds per square inch uses 10 gallons of water per minute, compared to washing your car at a self-serve car wash for only 11.1 gallons?
    The average amount of water used to wash a vehicle, using a low-flow nozzle is approximately 20 gallons.
  2. How many cars will you wash during your fund raiser?
    Some estimates on the amount of water used are between 80 to over 100 gallons, per car!
    Use a spray nozzle with an automatic shut-off to wet and rinse the cars.
    Use the 3 bucket method a) the first bucket is for the wheels and rims, b) the second bucket is for clean water and c) the third bucket is for soap.
    Wring the sponges and washrags into the bucket, not the ground.
  3. Empty the buckets into the sewer system (into a sink NOT the storm drain)

5. It’s The Law!

The Clean Water Act, which turned 40 in October 2012 mandates the protection of all freshwater in the United States. This legislation was needed because of all the pollution in our waterways, the dead fish in our lakes, the fires on our lakes and waterways.

Wondering about your local waterways? Check out this app from EPA:

For the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon area…

Looking for more information on non-toxic products? Feel free to contact us and browse our web site, starting with with Healthy Home products. Click here or txt/call: 541.525.0703