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Is a waterless car wash a big improvement?

Water waste is a huge environmental issue, and when it comes to car washes, so are the chemicals that ultimately find their way into waterways. Bayes Waterless Carwash proposes a solution to both of these issues. But is it really a big improvement?

The polymer-based solution comes in a spray bottle. When you spray it on your car, it encapulates the dirt and lifts the dirt away form the surface, creating a barrier between the dirt and the car. Then, you take a micro-fiber cloth and wipe down the car. 

All the chemicals and residue that would have gone down the storm drain now wind up on the cloth and goes through the appropriate channels in the washing machine. According to the company, which makes many eco-friendly cleaning supplies, a waterless car wash can save up to 150 gallons of water.

But just how green this waterless carwash is, remains to be seen. Even products made from natural materials can cause harm. Just because an item derives from nature, doesn’t mean it can’t disrupt the environment it finds itself in. In many cases, plant-based products end up in lakes and rivers rather than the ecosystem where they actually belong.

There is also the variable of what energy source is used. If it’s sold for use in standard car washes that aren't human-powered, then it will continue to use the same amount of electricity as those that use water. For home use by consumers, it depends upon their chosen cleaning methods.

There is limited information available about the product at this time, but when there is more information available, let's be harsh judges. For the sake of progress, it’s necessary that we demand a measurable impact, a tangible reduction in the ecological footprint, of any new technology or product. It’s just not enough to pass something off as green for the sake of marketing to those who are taking notice.