The movement to waterless and eco-friendly products is ongoing, and remains a pretty controversial topic in the detailing community. EPA regulations that prohibit chemicals from entering storm drains is partly the reason, but many states like California have water restrictions which can make it difficult.
If you are just looking for a few alternatives to make the transition, or are already advertising as eco-friendly, I wanted to share a few products to add to your detailing arsenal that don’t contain the harsh chemicals found in many detailing products today.
Here are 15 eco-friendly products ranging from shampoos to carpet cleaners to consider as a detailer or car enthusiast:
1. Steam Powered Cleaning Gun
If you have sticky cupholders, dirty door jams, or are just tired of using harsh cleaning products that may (or may not) work, steam is a great eco-friendly alternative. Keep in mind these devices require air compressors to operate, but basically blast pressurized steam to clean carpets, seatbelts, and most other car surfaces you can think of. The Tornador is the popular brand based on my experience and can be used with your favorite eco-friendly cleaners if you choose.
Most are somewhere around $100, like this one on Amazon. Check out my post Why You Should Use Compressed Air for Auto Detailing if you are interested in learning more.
2. Cordless Pressure Washer (Battery Powered)
As opposed to electric pressure washers, one alternative that is great for basic rinsing is the Sun Joe SPX6001C-XR cordless pressure washer. If you are using a two-bucket method process for washing your car with minimal water, this is a great product to use just for rinsing.
It requires no power, and uses a pump to generate pressure that is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Perfect for light applications.
3. Chemical Guys Swift Wipe Waterless Car Wash
This is a product I reviewed in a post here, and is one of my favorite waterless products to use. It smells great and actually does a really nice job of leaving a shiny, waxy finish. I will say it does take quite a bit of product to wash an entire vehicle, but is something to try out if you’re new to waterless products.
It’s pretty affordable and available just about anywhere.
4. Vapor Systems VX5000 Steam Cleaner
Especially if you are looking to provide eco-friendly services, steam cleaning is a good chemical-free way of cleaning door jams, exteriors, seatbelts, and just about anything. Keep in mind that to clean a car’s exterior, you will need something a little more powerful to remove dirt than a steaming wand (meant for carpets). However, pressurized steam is a pretty effective method for exteriors and interiors. These machines are definitely a pretty big investment, but crucial if you are thinking about going steam-only.
Check out my post Steam Cleaning your Car’s Exterior for more info and recommendations.
5. Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner – View on Amazon
This cleaner is perfect for cutting through brake dust, tar, and dirt on tires and wheels. It produces a nice foam that dissolves built-up dirt and is safe to use on any and all tires or wheels.
Aside from the fact that it’s environmentally friendly, it’s cheap and easy to find. You can usually pick this up at your local Walmart or Home Depot (or online).
6. Water Containment Mats
As a detailer, one of the best purchases to put your clients at ease is to pick up a water containment and reclamation mat. These are pretty affordable, and as far as keeping water contained and out of storm drains, is a big must. These come in a variety of sizes are great for keeping chemicals off of your driveway.
Once you’re finished, just suck up your suds with a wet/dry vac or a water reclamation vacuum.
7. H²Zer0 Waterless Car Wash Pack
If you’re looking for a combo pack for detailing your car that includes a wash and wax soap, protectant, detailer, and wheel cleaner, look no further than this care kit by H²Zer0. This is one of the better eco-friendly products I’ve seen in terms of reviews, and can be used on several different surfaces.
This kit also includes towels as well as gloves in addition to the 4 products themselves.
8. Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer
If you are looking for a clean generator for washing your car, this Sun Joe model is a great choice. It puts out 1.76 gallons per minute at 2030 PSI and is a good choice for most people. Keep in mind if you are using foam guns or cleaning guns, you may need something a little larger to meet the minimum GPM requirements.
However, the one pictured above, as well as the Greenworks 1600 on Amazon are both great choices in this category for right around 100 bucks.
9. Eco Touch Car Wash Shampoo
Eco Touch shampoo is tough on dirt and grime and safe to use on wheels and the exterior. This shampoo is plant-based and non-toxic so there’s no need to worry about using harsh chemicals that could harm you or the environment. This product is eco-friendly all the way down to the packaging, which is made from 100% recyclable material.
10. Chemical Guys EcoSmart Waterless Wash and Wax
If you’re into the waterless car washing, this is another great option from the Chemical Guys. While the brand name may sound misleading, this product is 100% eco-friendly. This product uses carnauba wax from a Brazilian palm leaf and is more of an all-in-one wash and wax type of waterless product.
It also has great reviews on Amazon, and claims to use a proprietary natural formula that helps to lift and trap dirt particules using surfactants so you can remove them with a microfiber towel.
11. Adam’s ECO Wheel Cleaner
If you’re looking for a basic wheel cleaner that is pH neutral and will not stain your rims with harsh acids, look no further than Adam’s Eco Wheel cleaner. It also has a great smell, and a great product to add to your eco-friendly detailing arsenal. Comes in a 16-ounce spray bottle.
12. Adam’s ECO All Purpose Cleaner
As a companion to the ECO Wheel Cleaner, this product is a great all-in-one cleaner that you can use for engine bays, wheels, and more. These Adam’s products can also be purchased by the gallon and diluted the strength you desire for your detailing business, and has great reviews.
13. SilverKLR Microfiber Towels
These microfiber towels are one of the best choices for sanitizing really dirty vehicles without harsh chemicals, since they are embedded with EPA-approved antibacterial agents. These have been tested to kill 99.99 percent of all bacteria, and a great choice for detailers.
Believe it or not, vinegar is one of the more effective natural cleaners out there. Many people will dilute vinegar 50 percent with water to clean windows or remove odors. This is one of the better ways to clean windows streak-free if you are into using 100% green products. Just pick up an empty spray bottle for a few bucks, and mix up a solution with the strength that you need.
15. Eco Green Auto Clean
This company produces several waterless products that claim to be able to wash your car with one cup of water. This solution claims to wash an entire car with a single cup of water, and is perfect if you live in an area with water restrictions due to drought. Not perfect for all vehicles (like trucks that get muddy), but a good product for some.