A DIY attitude can help you go green in many of your everyday choices. When you choose to reuse a plastic container instead of tossing in the garbage, you get a second life out of it. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, upcycling can save you money while being safer for the environment.

When it comes to washing your car, doing it yourself could seem greener than going to your local car wash. Car washes feature high pressure wands and lots of foaming detergents washing over your vehicle. Parking your car in the driveway and using a garden hose and biodegradable soap seems to be a great do-it-yourself option.

But this is not actually the case. Washing your car in your driveway can be a lot less green than taking it to your local car wash. Here’s 3 reasons why:

Conserving Water at Every Stage

Manufacturers design car wash systems to maximize the cleanliness of your car while minimizing the amount of freshwater needed. As a major expense for your local car wash company, they do everything they can to save water where they can. Currently, the average water usage across the car wash industry as a whole is 38 gallons per car wash.

To put this in perspective, older washer machines with a water factor of 10 or higher, can use 40 to 45 gallons per load washed. While new technology in high-efficiency washers can bring this down to 14 to 25 gallons a load, it only takes 2-3 loads of laundry to use more water than washing a whole car!

By comparison, an average garden hose uses water at a rate of 10 gallons a minute. This means that after 4 minutes of running your hose in the driveway, you’ve already used more water than an typical car wash. And, with a high pressure wand, you’re liable to use the hose for even longer than that.

Water Reclaim Systems: Less Down the Drain

When you wash a car a home, all of the dirt, grime, and grease from your car washes down the driveway into the nearest sewer drain. Any of the oil in your car’s undercarriage or salt from winter roadways washes directly into local bodies of water. The purpose of sewer drains is to prevent streets from flooding in times of intense rain, not to filter out water pollutants.

On the flipside, commercial car washes use water reclaim systems to both filter out pollutants AND reuse water for multiple washes before sending it down the drain.

One popular system is a three tank system. This works in three steps. First, water from the car wash floods the first tank. Dirt settles to the bottom of the tank and the cleaner water at the top of the tank overflows into the second tank. The second tank overflows into the third tank and then the water from here is reused stages of the car wash that won’t affect the quality of the wash. Many of the early rinse and soapy stages are done entirely with reclaimed water. Other systems use reverse osmosis and other methods to achieve even higher levels of onsite water purification.

For car washes who wish to remain profitable, the goal of 90% water efficiency is the goal. This means that most car washes only use freshwater for the 10% of the wash cycle where it is absolutely necessary.

Regulating Common Pollutants

After you finish washing your car at home, it is unlikely that you store up the water runoff and test for pH levels and the presence of harmful pollutants. It’s much harder to track and test the water at home.

Commercial car washes on the other hand, are strictly regulated by local municipalities. Their wastewater must be tested regularly to ensure that it does not contain more than the legal amounts of harmful chemicals. Many car washes then use professional pit cleaning companies who safely dispose of hazardous waste according to EPA regulations.


Your Green and Clean Machine

In addition to the water-saving benefits of visiting your local car wash, there are number of other benefits including waxes to preserve your coat of paint. Next time you think about washing your car in the drive, consider visiting one of Flagstop’s friendly locations instead. Hope to see you then!







You probably already shop local for a lot of things — such as produce, clothing, and coffee — as shopping local has become a big thing to celebrate. So why would it be any different for you to shop local when choosing a car wash? Going to a locally owned car wash can not only get you more bang for your buck, but it can also give back to your community and environment.

Personalized Care

While larger car wash locations may seem like the easy choice, you might be missing out on the detail and personalized care that a local car wash would provide. At Flagstop Car Wash, all of our employees are thoroughly trained to ensure that your cars are washed, cleaned, and waxed correctly. This personalized car care is hard to find, but we pride ourselves in training and teaching the best and most useful ways of car washing to our employees so that your experience with us is as personalized as possible. Plus, we love getting to know you! And with unlimited washes with our RVA Car Wash Club, we hope to get the chance to know you really well!

Better for the Environment

There are a lot of reasons why visiting your local car wash is better for the environment, but perhaps the biggest one is the runoff that happens when you wash your car at home. The runoff that comes from the car can be hazardous and dangerous to lie in neighborhood streets, but car wash drains are meant for holding and disposing of those hazardous chemicals. We professionally clean and empty the pits of our car washes so that nothing toxic is left behind for our customers and environment.

Impact the Community

Perhaps the biggest reason why someone would want to support their local businesses is to give back to the community. When revenue and business is done in your local community, you are able to support the growth of your whole community’s finances. Not to mention, car washes are a great way to fundraise and give back to the community. It’s safe to say that local car washes are a great place to host and support your community locally.


While giving back to the community is something Flagstop is proud to do, we also are equally as proud to be a part of our communities across Richmond, Virginia. When you choose one of our many locations to wash your car at, you’re going local, supporting Richmond, and giving back to your community too. We cannot thank our local customers enough!

We are excited to announce that our Staples Mill Express location will be undergoing renovations starting on September 4th! During this time we will be closed, so we ask that our loyal customers of this location visit our location on Parham Road, or any of our other locations in the metro-Richmond area. For a full list of all locations, click here.

Please note that if you do have an RVA Wash Club membership with us, you can use it at ANY of our locations! That includes both Express and Full Service!

We thank you for your patience and we cannot wait to give all of our loyal customers the latest and greatest in car wash technology! We will make an announcement at a later date for our Grand Re-Opening.