There’s no problem with washing your car, but it does matter how and where you choose to wash it. The average homeowner uses more than 100 gallons of water to wash a car. Dirty car wash water contains soap, grease, brake dust, oil, and dirt. Car washing in driveways sends all that dirty wash water into the nearest storm drain. From there, it’s a short trip to the nearest creek and Lake Washington.
Wash your car at a commercial car wash: Commercial car washes recycle water and connect to the sewer system to clean dirty water.
At home: Keep water out of the street and storm drains.
Wash your car on a lawn or gravel area, where the dirty wash water will soak into the soil. Use chlorine and phosphate-free, biodegradable soap to wash your car. Even these soaps are harmful to aquatic life and water quality, so please use minimal soap.
Can’t wash on the lawn but still want to wash at home? Use rolled up towels or sand bags to divert your wash water to your lawn or landscaping.
Try a green fundraising option: Raise money and be kind to the environment when choosing eco-friendly fundraisers.
Wash Your Car, Not the Watershed - General information on car washing in Kirkland.
Ideas for Low-Cost Fundraisers - Information on low-cost, eco-friendly fundraisers.
Sending dirty car wash runoff down the storm drain pollutes your lakes and creeks and is against the law (KMC 15.52.90). Although we try to educate first, you may have to pay fines and cleanup costs.