Car cleaning options review and compare

How can you save water while washing your car? CHOICE investigates.
 
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03.Results

Choice verdict

Washing your car on a lawn with a bucket and sponge uses the least water and is the most cost-effective method, however not everyone has this option. Even though self-serve car washes are more expensive over 20 washes, they use only 33L of water and five-star rated operations are environmentally friendly.

CHOICE looks forward to seeing the results of the Australian Car Wash Association’s recycling study. We want to see a balance in the way water is reclaimed and the energy used in doing so, given the large energy input in most recycling technologies.

 

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Results table

 
Type of car clean Water (L) Water cost ($) Sponges ($) Detergent ($) Cost of service ($) First wash cost ($) For 20 washes cost ($)
Hose & sponge 150 0.24 3 8 0 11 16
Hose with spray attachment 120 0.19 3 8 0 11 15
Bucket and sponge 100 0.16 3 8 0 11 14
Low pressure 23 0.04 3 8 110 121 121
Self-serve 33 na 0 0 3 3 53
Auto-wash Not known na 0 0 10 10 204
Hand wash 33 na 0 0 24 24 480
Waterless car wash 0 3 0 5.50 (A) 8.19 113
Mobile waterless car wash 0 0 37 37 733
 

(A) The median cost of using this type of wash.

Your say - Choice voice

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