By Toni Avery / Originally Published August 22, 2015 / National Automotive Parts Association /

The summer months wreak havoc on your utility bills, and these hot months can lead to water shortages in many regions. If water consumption is regulated in your area, it doesn’t mean that washing your car has to be tossed to the wayside. These tips will show you how to keep your car clean and hardly use any water while doing it, keeping your ride spotless all summer long.

Limiting Water Use When Washing

Yes, this sounds like an oxymoron, but there are several efficient and helpful ways to keep your car clean without using water, or at least a very minimal amount. First, take a look around your house for two buckets. They don’t have to be large, but sturdy enough to hold some water.

Store one bucket in your bathroom so you can take it in the shower with you and repurpose that day’s water runoff. All that water was going down the drain anyway, so you won’t be wasting it!

Fill the other bucket with an inch or so of water and pour in your favorite car wash solution. Use just enough water to form some bubbles inside the bucket. Dunk in a wash mitt and start scrub off the dirt and grime. Always start at the top of the car and work your way down, where most of the dirt you pick up while driving will be concentrated. Use the water in the second bucket to lightly rinse off the soap residue after you have finished scrubbing.

This method does not completely eliminate the need for water, but using shower water instead of the conventional hose-washing method reduces your water consumption to virtually nothing.

Spray Detailer

For those that keep up a regular car cleaning schedule, there are simpler, alternate ways of cleaning your paint. There are a number of detailer spray options on the market today that offer a great way to keep your car clean without using water.

Using these sprays is really only recommended when the car is just a little dirty. If you can visibly see thick layers of dirt, if your finger brings up thick black residue or if there is mud on the paint, the spray will not be as effective. Scrubbing mud that is caked onto your car’s finish without water may scratch your paint, as well. But if you routinely maintain the exterior of your vehicle, it will be a great addition to your cleaning repertoire. Once you have cleaned your car using the nearly waterless car wash method described above, the spray detailer is perfect for touch ups and spot cleaning. As always, follow instructions for use on the product bottle.

Whether you’re trying to conserve water for environmental reasons or because its use is being regulated due to a shortage, there’s always a way to keep your ride clean all summer long.

For more information on waterless car washing, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska (CC0 1.0).

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