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Self Car Wash

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Self Car Wash

Eric Morris
March 1, 2006

Many people still prefer to wash cars in their homes at their leisure. They love their cars so much that they enjoy taking care of them. There are a few useful tips for these car lovers!

The first and most obvious step to washing your car yourself is to close all windows and doors to prevent water from seeping in and ruining the upholstery. Before applying car soap, it is advisable to get the dirt off the surface by using a pressure hose from top to bottom. Use a car soap that will protect your car’s finish, not fade it. Most car soap manufacturers prescribe one-quarter of their soap and three-quarters of water in an average-size bucket. Lather the car using a soft cloth, starting from the roof and working sideways to the bottom. After a final rinse to get rid of the soap, dry the surface preferably using a chamois leather. If you wish to wax your car, make sure it is parked in a shady spot to prevent the sun from baking the wax onto the surface. Wax the car in small circles using a sponge clump, and work your way round the car. Vacuum the interiors; shake out the carpets; and use shampoo conditioners to remove stains from seats and seat covers. Use a little vinyl protectant to wipe dirt off of the dashboard and door handles. After all this is done, nobody would recognize it as the mud-caked car they saw yesterday!

But what car lovers sometimes don’t realize is that a car wash done at home poses some serious environmental concerns in the absence of certain necessary precautions. It is important to choose an area that minimizes water runoff, preferably grassy areas, so that the soapy water doesn’t pollute waterways, storm water systems and drains. Indiscriminate use of water should be avoided at all costs. Using buckets or trigger hoses will ensure optimum use of water. Biodegradable detergents and soaps used judiciously will reduce environmental pollution to a large extent.

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