How Can I Save Water?



Washing Cars

Did you know that a bucket and a watering can could help you save 90% of the water you might usually use to wash your car?

car wash fourth icon onlyWith all the dust in the air in Abu Dhabi, it doesn’t take long before your car needs yet another wash. And that usually means a lot of water down the drain. But not so fast! Whether you wash your car yourself or have others do it for you, follow these simple Waterwise tips and turn your car washing routine into an opportunity to save water.


    • The first and easiest way to save water is simply to wash your car less often. It’s that easy! The less you wash, the more water you save.
    • Instead of washing your car so frequently, wipe away the dust every day or two with a soft, dry brush or cloth. Keep it in your car so it’s easy to use whenever you need it. Dust that stays more than a couple days tends to stick.
    • Park your car in a covered area like a garage wherever possible, sheltered from blowing dust and debris.
    • Avoid parking in unpaved, dusty areas or places that are exposed to the sea. Dust, salt and moisture will accumulate faster there.
    • When you do wash your car, choose a waterless car wash. Waterless car wash products use a special soap and lubricating spray that dissolve dirt and lift it from the surface of your car. Microfibre towels then wipe it all away without a scratch. The chemicals used are usually biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
    • You will find many waterless carwash services in parking lots at malls and shopping centres across Abu Dhabi, where they will clean your car while you shop. Waterless products are also available for sale to use at home.
    • To be clear, “waterless” carwash products aren’t 100% water-free. They’re almost waterless. Water is the main ingredient in the cleaning solution, but less than one full spray bottle is needed per car. The cloths will also need to be cleaned with water, but the more you wash together, the less water you use per cloth.
    • Compared to all other washing methods (even our Waterwise 3-bucket car wash—see the next section), a waterless car wash uses the least amount of water by far.
  • Did you know that using a free-flowing hose to wash your car can use up to 300 litres of water in just 20 minutes? That’s equal to 30 buckets of water, or flushing a standard toilet about 25 times.

    Even if you only use the hose to rinse the car, you’re still likely to use at least 180 litres—18 buckets or 15 toilet flushes.

    But did you know that you can wash your car with only 3 buckets of water and a watering can? That’s just 30 litres of water, just over 2 toilet flushes and about 90% less than using a running hose. Here’s how:

    The Waterwise 3-Bucket Car Wash

    • Note: this method works for an average-sized sedan. You may need a little more water for a larger car, or a little less for a smaller one. Using as little as you can (and you will be surprised at how little that is) is the Waterwise way to go.
      1. Fill the first bucket with water.
      2. Pour the water from the bucket into your watering can and rinse your car from top to bottom.
          Using a bucket first helps you keep track of how much water you’re using.
          Using the watering can gives you better control than a bucket and lets you use much less water.
          Rinsing the car first loosens dirt, which helps the soap work better and avoids scratches.
      3. Refill your bucket with water. Add about 2 tablespoons of soap. Using your sponge, lather your car all over, finishing with the wheels.
          Remember: a little soap goes a long way! The more soap you put on the car, the more water you need to rinse it off. Less soap = less water wasted.
      4. Fill your bucket a third time, pour the water into your watering can and rinse the soap off your car from top to bottom.
      5. Dry your car with a chamois ("shammy") or microfiber cloth.
      6. If desired, wax and apply tire dressing as usual.

    Washing your car this way allows you to check it for wear and tear. Plus, you never have to wait in queues for your own car wash!

    Some additional Waterwise car washing tips:

    • Park your car in the shade to keep the surface from drying too quickly while it’s still soapy.
    • If you can, wash your car on a section of your lawn that needs to be watered anyway. In addition to watering your grass, you’ll avoid letting water puddle in the street or run down storm drains.
    • You can re-use water from elsewhere around your home instead of using new from the tap. Catch the water in your shower while you wait for it to warm up, or in the sink while washing fruits or vegetables. Re-using water is extra Waterwise!
    • If you absolutely must use a hose, be sure to use one with an easy on/off nozzle and spray as sparingly as possible.

    Eco tip intext 1  Eco-tip: Use natural and biodegradable soaps whenever you can—they are better for the environment.

    • When choosing a commercial car wash, look for ones that use less water or recycle their water for multiple washes before sending it down the drain.
    • A 5-minute auto wash might use less water than you would use with a normal hose at home depending on the type of wash. The amount of water used varies significantly among different Abu Dhabi commercial car washes, so shop around and decide whether your regular car wash is the most water-efficient option.
    • Why not ask your car-washing team how much water they use per wash? And ask whether or not their water is recycled for multiple washes.