Should You Wash Your Car Naturally with Rain?

David De Lossy/Getty Images
David De Lossy/Getty Images
DCL

While some folks never think much about it, a clean vehicle is actually a happier vehicle. Years of neglect on the outside surface of paint can eventually do its share of damage, slashing the overall worth of a vehicle in no time. While it is true that washing your vehicle's exterior too often can be wasteful, never washing it for the sake of the environment can be financially costly in terms of both paint damage and resale value.

To a lesser degree, a clean vehicle has also been said to offer slightly better aerodynamics. Does it offer enough of a gain to make it worth the extra effort in keeping the vehicle sparkling clean? Well, probably not, but that is exactly why today we are going to explore a much more sustainable method for keeping your vehicle reasonably clean without visiting a car wash... it's called rain! Rain water has been said to do wonders for your hair, so perhaps it can do wonders for your car too.

The Positive Side of a Rain Wash

Can rain wash a vehicle? Why yes indeed it can. The force of a good rainstorm has been known to rinse off stubborn pollen, stuck on bugs, and even bring a bit of shine back to that old, weathered paint. However, you're not going to be able to get off heavy road grime from the rain alone, so if you want to combine the best of both worlds, you can hand wash your car during a good sprinkle for maximum benefit.

Use a good biodegradable car wash product that is phosphate-free, or you can mix up your own brew using a few teaspoons of Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid. Start by putting on a swimsuit, give your vehicle a good rub down with the soap and a sponge, then let the rain do the rinsing-off for you. Have the bucket, solution, and sponge waiting by the door to make the most of a quick burst of Mother Nature's generosity.

The Negative Side of a Rain Wash

If you live in an area of heavy smog and pollution, acid rain is something that you are probably well acquainted with. Just as much as acid rain can damage the earth, it can also damage your vehicle's paint over time. Once this type of rainwater gets on your vehicle, the acid concentrates itself on the paint as it dries. It is then reactivated every time the vehicle becomes wet, causing only further damage.

In areas of high pollution, it is best to keep your vehicle out of the elements as much as possible. This is one time when a dirty vehicle is actually better off just staying that way. If you live in an area of high pollution, take your vehicle to the nearest eco-friendly car wash whenever it needs cleaned. If you are practical with your car washing schedule, you can minimize water usage, while also maximizing the life of your vehicle's paint.