Eliminate grime with a water-conserving, eco-friendly carwash
When it comes to getting dirt, grime, road salt and bugs off cars, Indianapolis drivers can spruce up their rides and remain conscious of the environment by choosing from a variety of options.
Instead of wasting water and doing it yourself at home, consider running it through your neighborhood carwash, hiring a mobile service to provide waterless detailing in your own driveway, or zooming to a detailer who uses eco-friendly techniques.
Check out a few green options offered by these highly rated Indianapolis-area providers to make your ride shine.
Try an eco-friendly, in-shop detailer
Highly rated Rockstars Auto Reconditioning owner Brandon Harris says he used green practices to detail cars, boats and RVs and make minor repairs before it became popular.
“Reconditioning alone is green because we’re repairing what you already have on the car, instead of replacing,” Harris says. “If you need it detailed, we don’t use heavy chemicals. We use an automotive steamer, and it breaks up the dirt and grime.”
Detailing charges for his Northeastside Indianapolis company range from $75 for a small car for a lower-end detail, to up to $450 for a high-end detail for a 12-passenger van. Rockstars also uses low-VOC, water-based dyes for leather seat repairs.
Fishers member Doug Dougherty says Rockstars restored his 1997 Jeep Wrangler after rodents took up residence inside it while he had it stored for the winter, leaving an awful stench. “A mouse nested in the glove compartment,” Dougherty says, adding that the smell was so invasive that it clung to his clothes and hair after driving the car.
After he tried scouring the Jeep with bleach and odor removers without success, he took it to Rockstars, where they used a fog technique to get rid of the smell. He liked their work so much, he says, that he subsequently took his second car, a 2001 Chrysler Prowler Mulholland Edition, there for interior and exterior detailing.
Go mobile and waterless
Based in downtown Indianapolis, Mandi Anthony drives her highly rated Mobile Detail of Indy business directly to her customers’ homes or businesses in Marion and nine surrounding counties.
Using no water, Anthony details cars in garages or driveways, reaching for eco-friendly cleaners and wiping off the grime with reusable microfiber towels during the 3- to 5-hour process. She also reuses and recycles the cleaning solution bottles.
“It’s important to me because it’s important to the environment,” says Anthony, who charges $195 to $325 for a full interior and exterior detail. “Water runoff eventually ends up in rivers and lakes and oceans, and it’s scary.”
When Fishers member Robert Williams decided to give his Mercury Grand Marquis a little tender, loving care, he says he looked on Angie’s List and found Mobile Detail of Indy. “I was concerned because she didn’t need to use the water hose,” he says, adding that he quickly changed his tune once Anthony cleaned his 6-year-old car inside and out. “It looks like a new car,” he says, adding that he only paid $100 with a discount coupon.
Take it to a carwash
Local carwashes offer a faster, less expensive way to refresh your vehicle, ranging in price from $5 to $25. Thanks to their computerized systems and pressurized nozzles, such as those used at highly rated Fishers-based Mike’s Carwash, a regular car wash uses about 80 gallons of water versus 140 gallons used for a do-it-yourself wash at home, where hoses might run constantly and hose bibs might leak, according to the International Carwash Association.
“We have specific pumps and nozzles that are aimed to flush things out,” says Mike’s spokesman Courtney Cannady. Mike’s also reuses 38 percent of its water at most locations, employs a system to catch solid debris and oils, and offers recycling stations for customers to clean their vehicle’s interior.
Federal law requires carwashes to direct runoff into the sewer systems where it gets treated instead of allowing it to flow into streams and rivers like it can at home.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management allows carwashing at home, but encourages residents to visit a professional service. “We suggest not doing it [at home] because of run-off, but that is more of a best management practices area,” says IDEM spokesman Barry Sneed.
Southside resident Bob Bertling visits Mike’s Carwash at least once a week with his Hummer or Lincoln. “It’s easy to access the carwash,” the Angie’s List member says, noting he’ll stop at any location throughout the Indianapolis area and buys at least the mid-grade wash. “They seem to move their traffic through the carwash relatively quickly,” he says. “If you have special needs such as extra bugs or dirt, they accommodate that, and the prices are more competitive.”