By Marcia Simmons
Getting a car dirty is fun. Getting it clean again...not so much. Washing a car usually means either a long wait at a typical car wash or an afternoon of soapy sponges and wasted water at home. But it doesn’t have to! If you haven’t gotten excited about a car wash since you were 8, try visiting a few innovative ones where the experience is as fun and, in most cases, as environmentally-friendly as driving your 2014 Chevrolet Cruze.
Why use a hose to rinse your car when you could use an elephant instead? George and Alice will spray your car clean with their massive trunks, turning an ordinary chore into an entertaining show. There are plenty of other animals to see at this wildlife park—although the cheetahs, lions, pythons and camels won’t help you spiff up your ride. The $20 wash fee supports this 600-acre, drive-through wildlife park’s conservation efforts and research. (Service available daily during the summer, and then by appointment the rest of the year, weather permitting.)
If you park in one of the major garage chains throughout the city, you can sign up for a hand-wash and then go about your normal day. Your spic-and-span car will be waiting for you in your parking spot when you get back. Enviowash uses biodegradable cleaning agents and a water-conserving wash process, so the convenience isn’t at the environment’s expense. Anything from a basic Wash and Wax to a full detailing with all the extras is available.
Because the city has tight water restrictions, this car wash takes eco-friendly to a new level. Using less than a gallon of water, Ecowash steam-cleans your car, inside and out, without using any soap. Not only does this save water, but it also means no wastewater runoff. If your car is particularly stinky on the inside, they go beyond the power of steam and use eco-friendly yet effective products that get rid of odors and keep them from coming back. Mobile service is available to some neighborhoods, so you may not even have to leave the house.
And, for pure amusement, a too-rich-for-our-blood bonus...
Monza Ultimate, UAE
For $15,000, the highly trained crew at Monza in the United Arab Emirates will treat your car to a weeklong treatment that includes an inspection under a handheld microscope to be sure that even specks of dirt invisible to the naked eye are eradicated. Fine leather interiors will be cleaned three times and then left to breathe for a day before a final rubdown with natural oils. Regular old H2O leaves behind unsightly debris, so Monzo uses a top-secret “nanotechnology product” instead. Your automobile won’t have so much as a fingerprint on it after the cleaning, since Monzo’s techniques ensure that no human hands will actually touch your car.
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San Francisco Bay Area writer Marcia Simmons’ work has appeared in Geek, Go, Shape, NOTCOT and Serious Eats, among other publications. She is also the co-author of the book DIY Cocktails.