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Soap Pollutes, Consider Alternatives

Runoff from vehicle washing can harm water quality unintentionally because it often contains detergents, metals and oils that can reach streams and Puget Sound. All soaps, even biodegradable ones, are toxic to fish. Below are some tips to help you choose how to wash your vehicle safely.

Washing at home

  • Wash your car on grass or landscaped areas.  Even on grassy areas, make sure you use the smallest amount of soap possible, and make sure it's free of phosphates.
  • Take your car to a commercial car wash.

At your business/fleet washing

  •  Use a commercial car wash facility
  • Wash on grass or landscaped areas, with only cold water.  Wash 10 or fewer vehicles per week.
  • Collect the wash water and dispose into the sanitary sewer.
  • Install a designated wash area with the proper treatment facilities.  For information on design, or site-specific improvements to your property, contact us or 360.337.5777.  Be sure to get the proper permits for any improvements.

Fundraiser car washing

Fundraiser car washes can be a great way for youth and community groups to raise money for special events and programs. However, runoff from vehicle washing is toxic to our local streams, lakes, and Puget Sound.  Here are some ideas for alternatives to fundraiser car washes:

  • Sell car wash coupons.  Work with your local commercial car wash to purchase tickets.
  • Sell local coupon books or cards. 
  • Hold a garage sale.  Ask family and friends to donate items in good condition that they no longer want or use.  Host a group garage sale and earn money for your organization.
  • Hold an online donation drive.  Set up a crowdfunding page and raise money online.
  • Partner with a local business.  Work with a local business for a percentage of proceeds; help sell products locally or organize a restaurant dine out.  Some businesses will allow you to organize a bingo or trivia night in order to earn money.  
Kitsap County Public Works Stormwater Division Kitsap Public Health District Kitsap Conservation District WSU Kitsap Extension Kitsap Public Utility District