Eco Friendly Car Washing (No Daisy Dukes need apply!)

Eco Friendly Car Wash
After washing with Washdrops my car is sparking clean. And look how wet the ground is--NOT.

The most water-saving cost efficient way to wash your car? Keep reading.

Here’s what I hate about washing my car:

1. It’s expensive. $10 to have it washed and vacuumed. Every week? Ouch. Even if it’s only every two weeks, I can think of other things I’d rather do with my time and $10.

2. It wastes water, especially if you wash your car at home. Get this: Washing your car at home could use 50 gallons, even with a water-saver nozzle (on average, flow from a household hose is 10 gallons per minute). Washing at a self serve car wash uses about 11 gallons of water. Washing at a full service car wash uses about 7 gallons of water—more efficient, but then there’s that $10.

3. It’s a lot of work, especially all the hose-wrangling. That might be the part I dislike the most.

4. Prep time for a home wash. There’s my hose-wrangling objection again, then assembling the tools and materials you’ll need.

5. If you wash your car at home, you have to dress for it: shoes and clothes that can get wet, never mind your hair, makeup and manicure–they all get ruined.

6. It takes a long time. Typically a half hour, but more if my kids decide to help.

Eco Friendly Car Wash

Before: Dirt built up over the winter, even though my car was kept in the garage.

An eco-friendly solution that is easier and cheaper (UM…OK. And, YAY!)

A brand called Washdrops asked to me to wash my car and write a sponsored post about it. I agreed because I’ve used Washdrops before and was pretty impressed (I’ll send you a sample. See below). So, I took the opportunity to wash my winter-weary car and prep it for spring.

I wanted to work with Washdrops because the product gets nice results, of course, but it’s more than that. It’s because the second item on the list really gets me: The water waste that car washing involves. Living on the East Coast, we struggle with clean water issues, wetlands and overloading our sewage systems. And, we are inundated with stories daily about the California water crisis and drought, which worries us, too.

Eco Friendly Car Wash

After washing with Washdrops my car is sparking clean. And look how wet the ground is–NOT.

It’s just so hard to imagine life without access to clean water. The first call to action is to use less water.

The first time I used Washdrops, the goal was using very little water (the product does not need to be rinsed off the car, just wiped away after washing). I’d picked up some samples at an event I attended last summer, but of course they were collecting dust in my office. Then, one day this winter I had an Infiniti Q50 to review but of course, when I went out to take photos and realized it was covered in a nice gritty coat of salt and grime. It was about 25 degrees outside and snow was piled high in my driveway (see the photo). Not such a pretty picture. But, I took a bucket of water, a sponge, a few capfuls of Washdrops and a towel, and 20 minutes later the car was picture-ready.

Here are before and after photos:

Eco Friendly Car Wash

The Infiniti Q50 before: Hard to tell in the photo, but, ew.

Eco Friendly Car Wash

After: I washed the Infiniti Q50 in my driveway so I could take photos of it for a review. And yes, I washed it outside in all that snow in about 25 degrees! And it was easy to do.

This weekend, I repeated the process with my own car, and to show you how little water is actually used, I wore my good Kate Spade ballet flats, jeans and a sweater. No work clothes!

Eco Friendly Car Wash

Wheels before: Dirty, dirty, dirty.

Eco Friendly Car Wash

Wheels, after: much cleaner!

Here’s what I did: I added the Washdrops solution to the bucket of water, and working on a quarter of the car at a time, washed the solution on, then dried it with a beach towel (I could have used a smaller towel, by the way; it didn’t get very wet), following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The car cleaned up nicely, and so did the windows. After I was done I dipped the towel into the wash bucket and wiped down the inside windows, then dried them with a dry corner of the towel. They look fresh and clean, no streaks.

Washing my car with Washdrops, via Panasonic Lumix and POV A500 cameras.

What’s this stuff made of? Secret ingredients, but an eco friendly promise

When I was done I had about a third of the bucket of water left and it was BLACK. Really, really dirty black. I had to rinse out the wash mitt several times; it was thoroughly saturated with road dirt, too.

The manufacturer says the solution is safe enough that you can dump the left over wash solution in your flower beds, but with the amount of dirt in the bucket, (and you know it’s not organic yard-type dirt but carbon exhaust from cars and trucks) I would find someplace to else to dispose of it (like the yard, a compost area where grass clippings decompose or the sewer, because that water gets treated).

The manufacturer of Washdrops won’t say what the solution is made of –a proprietary formula, apparently. But they say it’s biodegradable, solvent-free, butyl free, phosphate free, and ammonia free, so it won’t harm grass or plants. I am pretty sure they can’t vouch for all the carbon and road salt that the stuff mopped up.

Eco Friendly Car Wash

Sparkly and clean: Washdrops didn’t leave streaks on the windshield

Some of my observations:

It took some time to get over the idea there there is NO RINSING after washing; but once I got this, I became more excited about the idea of washing my car.

The solution has a nice, fresh smell. The car smells nice, not like many ammonia-based cleaning products.

Only about two thirds of a gallon of water was left on the driveway, and none of it was on my clothes or shoes.

It was really easy. Took about 20 minutes total and I didn’t break a sweat.

Even with the cost of the water factored in, Washdrops costs about .40 cents a wash (a 32 ounce bottle is about $12 on

It would have taken me more than 20 minutes to drive to the car wash, wait in line, have the car washed and drive home.

Knowing that I can wash my car myself, for a lot less money than the car wash charges, that it takes less time and uses only a gallon of water makes me happy. Now, to teach my children how to do this and I can get on to more important things—spending that weekly $10 on a manicure!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Washdrops. But I wouldn’t have written about this product unless I’d used it and recommend it. All observations and opinions expressed here are my own. And yes, I washed both cars all my myself. No kids were any help at all.

If you would like to try a sample of Washdrops, we have 8 samples to give away; be one of the first 8 people to post a comment in the comment section below and we’ll send it to you!

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss