Truck washes are not always good for the environment. They use a lot of water. They use a really, really lot of water. Also, some use harsh, nasty, toxic chemicals to clean the trucks. That combination of using up a lot of water and adding toxic chemicals to it is not very environmentally friendly.
How a truck wash deals with their waste water can make a difference to how environmentally friendly they are. Which cleaning products they use can make a difference, too.
Traditional truck wash cleaning products have some pretty harsh chemicals in them. These chemicals strip the wax layers off your truck along with the dirt. The chemicals can eat away at the paint or chrome. This often wrecks the finish on the truck. Spraying ammonia, like the blue window cleaner, on windows washes the tint right off. These chemicals wreck the finish on the truck but they also do bad things for the environment.
Organic, plant based, non- toxic cleansers work just as well as the harsh traditional chemical cleaners. They are bio-degradable which means they basically disappear after they are used. They don’t mess up your truck’s finish or the environment.
A semi-truck usually takes about 400 gallons of water to get it completely clean. More or less water is used depending on the truck. How much under chassis cleaning is needed changes how much water is used, too. A truck wash can buy a water treatment system with several filters in it. The dedicated system is installed right at the truck wash. The used water goes into the water treatment filter and clean water comes out. The next truck gets clean using the treated water so the truck wash uses less water overall. This reduces the negative effect the truck wash has on the environment by using so much water.
Steam cleaning technology is an incredible water saving way to clean a semi truck. It uses only a few gallons of water and nothing then needs to be recycled at all. This is not yet in common use.
When you need to pick a new truck wash, ask them what cleaning products they use. Don’t let them use anything on your truck that you wouldn’t use yourself. Also ask about what they do for water recycling. The treatment systems are pretty cool and they might just show you how it works. A truck wash using natural cleaning products and recycling water is your most environmentally friendly choice.