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Do Car Washes Use Recycled Water? [Equipment for Recycling Water]

Yes. A good number of car washes in this modern age use recycled water, particularly for the initial cleaning of the car. This has proven to be very beneficial especially since it helps to reduce fresh water and sewer costs in addition to limiting the negative impact of contaminated water on the environment.

Note that the system used to recycle water tends to work alongside the washing equipment. The unit gets the used water and processes it to eliminate all the chemicals and contaminants in the cleaning agents.

One thing car wash owners, operators, as well as customers wouldn’t want is bad water in tunnels or bays. This is because bad water in the tunnel entails a bad finished product.

Although a good number of these businesses can find other ways to boost their revenue and brand by hiring new employees and obtaining up-to-date training techniques;.

However, keep in mind that nothing kills a car wash business like bad water or lack of the right water systems. To attain substantial success, these businesses must ensure that the water quality is right.

How Do Car Washes Recycle Water?

Many municipalities mandate car wash businesses within their jurisdictions to have water recycling systems installed to ensure that they meet the local building code while also acquiring the necessary permits. These systems are modern technological units that work alongside car washing equipment.

If the system gets water from a well-placed settling tank, it will be programmed to process it to eliminate all the chemicals and contaminants in the cleaning agents.

Note that immediately after the water goes past this stage, some other treatments will also take place to ensure that it won’t possess a foul odor.

Immediately after the water passes this stage, the processed water will be sent back to the main system to be reused. There are numerous reasons why these processes need to be efficient, particularly to avoid damage to the cars of clients.

For instance, if there is any trace of clay or even sand particles in the water when it’s reused, it could scratch the vehicle, as such it is important that these particles be eliminated completely.

Car washes tend to get fresh water through municipal means or drawn from a well, and it is very possible for the freshwater to have too many contaminants before any cars have even been washed. As such, it is important for car washes to treat their water beforehand.

What Equipment is Needed to Recycle Water?

One of the first things to note is that not all these systems possess the same features and build quality. Nevertheless, recycling systems used by car washes in the United States tend to include the following equipment:

  1. Reclaim System
  2. Settling Tanks
  3. Oil/Water Separators
  4. Screening Filters
  5. Centrifugal Separators
  6. Biological Treatment Systems
  7. Ultrafiltration or Reverse Osmosis Systems
  8. Disinfection Systems
  9. Storage Tanks
  10. Distribution System
  11. Monitoring and Control Systems
  12. Regular Maintenance Equipment

Nevertheless, note that the exact equipment a car wash will need to recycle water will often depend on the size of the business, the quality of water recycling desired, as well as local environmental regulations.

Pros and Cons of Recycling Water for Your Car Wash


The primary benefit that comes with car washes leveraging these systems is that it helps to ensure that the water they use is eco-friendly.

Note that when these businesses use water recycling systems, it ensures that the used wash water gets restored back to a quality that’s relatively clean. When this water has been cleaned, it becomes effective to be used for more washes.

Aside from that, also note that making use of these systems ensures that car washes stay in line with local building codes as well as requisite environmental-related regulations.

This is true because by effectively eliminating the amount of freshwater the facility uses and massively reducing the waste that’s being released into the environment, the car wash will be protecting the environment from the adverse effects of man’s activities and accumulated wastes.

Also, note that using water recycling systems provides the car wash with a more economical method of cleaning cars. Keep in mind that car wash businesses that make use of these systems tend to save money in two separate phases of the car wash.

First, when you make use of less freshwater, the water consumption costs will also reduce and save operating costs. If the water doesn’t end up in the drain, the expenses that come with maintaining the sewer also go down and can better be channeled at other things.


Anything with advantages also comes with its own disadvantages, and as such, there are cons that come with using these systems. For instance, these systems tend to necessitate high upfront costs especially to purchase and install them.

Also, note that replacing old equipment will also eat deep into your pocket. Nonetheless, it is always recommended you measure the high upfront costs against the lower sewer and water costs.


A good number of car washes in this modern age use recycled water, particularly for the initial cleaning of the car washing process.

However, before installing a water recycling system, it is important you have the necessary equipment required to treat water efficiently to ensure that there are no dissolved solids, waxes, detergents, or even used chemicals.

It is possible to determine the concentration of total dissolved solids in the water by utilizing a pH sensor or conductivity sensor.

These sensors will provide you with exact readings on how contaminated the water is. You can compare the readings you get before treating the water to the readings you get after treatment.