Gonna Wash That Car Right Out Of My Driveway, but NOT in Los Osos
According to this morning’s Tribune story, the BOS has decided it’s O.K. to wash your car in your driveway, if you live in the unincorported areas of the county. And Mark Hutchinson, the environmental program manager, was asked to get the public information on what kind of soap is best to get your car washed in the driveway without ending up with environmentally unsafe chemicals running down the driveway and into the storm drains and out to sea. In short, everyone’s got to get involved to reduce and/or eliminate bad stuff getting into the groundwater and/or creeks and eventually the ocean.
BUT, if you live in Los Osos, here’s what I learned on my own. Los Osos has hard water, hard enough to require wearing a hard hat when you shower. If you’ve ever rinsed or washed off your car with LO Water, you’ll soon notice the windows end up with crusted-on water spots that won’t wash off no matter what. Windex? Feh. Vinegar? Feh. Steel wool? Feh. a small hand-held nuclear device? Feh. More soap and water? Feh-feh. Ditto for all the crusty spots on the paint as well. Won’t budge. (Some weird petroleum based goo can be rubbed and buffed on the glass that will finally get that calcium/mineral crust off, but, c’mon . . . )
So I asked the official repair/detail guys at Toyota when I took my car in to get serviced and was told: Yep. Those LO hard water spots will crust on and etch both paint and glass and are impossible to get off. If you hose your car down, soap it up and rinse, before you can run around to completely dry it, that calcium/mineral-rich water will dry and ZOT! Crutsy spots that nothing gets off, except more water, which leaves more spots & etc.
So, what to do? Well, here was their advice: 1) always take your car to a carwash using soft-water and a blower that dries it immediately, or 2) use two buckets of water, (soft water, if you’ve got it in your home, though that creates it’s own “pollution” problem eventually,) to wash down and then rinse a small section at a time so you can rinse & wipe it dry immediately; then, when you’re done with the whole car, section by section, dispose of bucket water properly. Voi la! No more hideous, impossible to get off crusty water spots. And, no soapy pollution running down the driveway.
Or, you can always sell your car and get a bicycle. Or a horse.
Meantime, I’m glad the county’s moving on this problem and hopefully, their education outreach on “safe soaps” will enable people (in areas without LO Water) to safely wash and hose off their cars on their lawns (thereby not wasting water) AND not end up dumping long-lasting crud down the drain. Win-win.