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Washing your car has been portrayed in movies and literature as an age-old American pastoral activity. Whatever the focus is of the scene, it never seems to be the fact that all those such as oils, tar, and dirt end up in storm sewers that flow into lakes, streams and rivers. Is there a better way?
Commercial car washes, by law, are required to drain the used water into sewer systems. The water gets treated before returning to the ground or recycled for rinse washing. What also set commercial washes apart are their computerized hoses and high-pressure nozzles, regulating water use. A big difference between washing at home is that people use twice the amount of water allotted at a commercial car wash.
If you chose to wash at home, make sure the water is at least flowing into a grassy area and not the road. Consider using biodegradable soap specifically designed for car use. Numerous companies like Eco-Touch sell waterless products for personal car washing.
Without being able to give anyone a surprise squirt, going waterless may take out half the fun but will ultimately be doing the Earth a big favor.