Skip to the main content
Sammamish Town Center (not licensed)
Man washing car on top of a lake with caption: when you're washing your car in the driveway, remember you're not just washing your car in the driveway.

Car Care

Public Works

Engineering Technician

Lisa Werre
(425) 295 0573

Car Washing

Car wash water contains road grime, oil and grease, heavy metals, and soap. When you wash your car in your driveway or in the street, polluted wash water flows into our water bodies. On the street, the dirty water flows into the nearest storm drain. From the storm drain, this polluted runoff may flow directly into our creeks, lakes and wetlands without treatment.

What can I do?

Wash your car at a commercial car wash:

Commercial car washes are required to send polluted wash water to the sanitary sewer system. The sewer system provides water quality treatment in wastewater treatment plants. Most car washes also reuse water several times before sending it to the sewer.

If you wash your car at home: Keep water out of the street and storm drains

  • Wash your car on a lawn or gravel area, where the dirty wash water will soak into the soil. Use chlorine and phosphate-free, biodegradable soap to wash your car. Even these soaps are harmful to aquatic life and water quality, so please use minimal soap.
  • Can’t wash on the lawn but still want to wash at home? Use rolled up towels or sandbags to divert your wash water to your lawn or landscaping.
  • Dirty wash water should not enter the street and storm drains

Eco-Friendly Car Wash/Fundraising Ideas

Car washing fundraisers are popular events for local organizations to raise money.   Instead of holding a car wash, consider an eco-friendly fundraiser such as selling tickets to a commercial car wash.   Tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate from Brown Bear or the Puget Sound Car Wash Association

To borrow an eco-friendly car wash kit for a charity event, contact Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH).

Don't Drip and Drive

Even a small oil leak can have a big impact. Oil leaks impact your car and our creeks, lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound.

Take these steps to maintain the health of your vehicle and the environment:

  • Check your vehicle for leaks regularly and get them fixed promptly.
  • Always dispose of used motor oil properly. Bring it to your local auto shop for recycling. Call or visit 1-800-RECYCLE to find a location near you.
  • Use ground cloths or drip pans if you find a leak or are doing engine work. Clean up spills immediately.