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Muck on Your Truck? Tips for Winter Car Washing

by Kristin Higgins - January 9, 2018

More than 97 million people hit the road over the holiday season. Millions of those travelers drove through snow and ice, caking on some nasty muck and road salt along the way.

So now that you're home, be sure to rinse off that muck without harming the environment. 

Did you know?

Road salt or sodium chloride is a major source of water pollution in states where its applied to prevent freezing or melt ice. In some northern states, de-icing salt is also known to harm road-side trees. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, highway de-icing accounted for about 44 percent of salt consumed in 2016 in the United States - that's roughly 22 million tons of salt on U.S. roadways. Too much of that salt is winding up in streams, rivers and lakes, which can negatively impact species that call the water home. Salt intrusion can also affect well water and groundwater quality. 

What Can You Do?

So you're home from your road trip and your car looks terrible. The best thing would be to visit a local car wash because they are outfitted with tanks that capture the icky wash water and send it to waste treatment centers.

But what if it's so cold out that car washes are closed? You can do a quick hose down with plain water if the washing can't wait. 

It may be winter, but the ideal spot remains to be your lawn (though the grass may be too wet). The driveway is an option but only use it if the dirty water won't enter the street. Some people even wash their cars in the garage during the winter, using buckets of water and towels. Be cautious around the runoff water in case it freezes and turns icy

Tell me More

Here are some interesting articles about the effects of salt on our waterways. 

What Happens to All the Salt We Dump On the Roads?

Using Cheese, Molasses Brine to Treat Roads with Less Salt

The Nation's Rivers and Streams are Getting Dangerously Saltier

5 things you can do to prevent stormwater

Load salt into salt spreader



 dirty car