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Washington Waters  Ours to Protect

Car Washing Car Washing - Guidance

Is car wash runoff part of the water quality problem in your area? Here are some tools and ideas that might help.

Tools to use

Need a poster about the importance of good car washing practices? How about a flier or fact sheet? Download these and customize them to include your contact information. Print them back-to-back or separately.

Ideas for you

Posters and fact sheets can’t get the job done alone. Here are some more tips on how to promote watershed protection. Use messages that fit your audience. Highlight benefits and minimize barriers — offer products and services, promote messages in places people go and develop partnerships.

Some related messages

  • Be a role model to your children and your neighbors.
  • Help protect threatened and endangered salmon runs.

Ways to get your message out

On products or with services:
  • Sponsor a "green" car wash where runoff is sent into sewer.
  • Partner with local car washes for public discounts.
  • Outreach materials inserted in utility bills.
In places people go:
  • Auto parts stores and places that sell car washing products.
  • Website that offers resources.
  • 1-800 number to offer assistance/information
  • Local coffee spot/diner
  • Special events, car shows, meetings, fairs, garden shows, farmer’s markets.
Through media and message carriers:
  • Pitch a news story to your local newspaper about the problem in your area.
  • Bill inserts.
  • Community newsletters.
  • Create a “how-to” guide in the form of a booklet, CD or website.
  • Use billboards in small concentrated communities
With partners:
  • Commercial car washes in your community.
  • Neighborhood associations.

Motivating change

  • Use tools and methods that help people participate. These should help answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Share success stories — brochure, website, CD.
  • Start a blog for other participants to share their success stories.

More resources

Frequently Asked Questions: Car Washing and Stormwater

Helpful websites:

Car wash advice from across the nation

 get the Washington Waters logo


A Pullman Partnership: Not Wishy-Washy about Preventing Stormwater Pollution (5/23/13)


Measuring the pollutants from car washing (City of Federal Way, September 2009)


Stop polluting the water, a video about car washes, City of Tacoma

Car Wash Kit demonstration - How to use fundraiser kits, from Skagit county

Salmon Friendly Car Wash Kit - Car wash kits for fundraiser events, from the city of Seattle

"We all live downstream" Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition



Links to all the posters and factsheets for all three regional campaigns