4 Eco-Friendly Winter Car Care Tips

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Driving a car in the harsh cold of mid-winter often means using a variety of toxic chemicals. Here are some eco-friendly winter car care tips to help you get through the season without resorting to environment-polluting chemicals.

Let’s face it: winter driving can suck. Between poor visibility, slick road conditions, and scraping ice off the windshield, it’s enough to make one want to just hole up inside and stay home all winter.

Most people resort to using a number of chemicals to maintain their cars during the winter, and stay safe in icy conditions. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals can wash off our cars and seep into the groundwater when the spring thaw arrives, causing nasty pollution problems.

Here are 4 simple eco-friendly car care tips to a cleaner, greener, less toxic winter driving experience:

1. Choose Better Antifreeze

Old antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is very dangerous, capable of injuring pets and children due to its bright color and sweet taste. It should be completely removed from your radiator and recycled.

Replace with propylene glycol antifreeze, a far less toxic modern alternative….

(Note: Switching antifreeze should be discussed beforehand with a mechanic that understands the workings of your particular vehicle.)

2. Fight the Fog

Naturally stop your windows from fogging due to extreme inside/outside temperature changes by using a saltwater and vinegar solution (1:3). Dip in a sponge and rub on the inside and outside of your windows before driving to safely fight the fog.


3. Snow Away

A simple way to clear the snow and ice from around your car is by shoveling and then sprinkling rock salt or urea-based de-icers throughout the area.

However, it is estimated that,

“The heavy use of road salts can lead to damage to vegetation, to organisms in soil, to birds, and to other wildlife. Almost all chloride ions from road salts eventually find their way into waterways….” (Green Venture)

If you must use road salt, look for those containing calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) or potassium acetate (KAc) which are less toxic. Otherwise, try these snow melting alternatives:

Brick Sand….


Cat Litter….

Electric Mat….

4. Go Pro Wash

Many people think that washing their own car is a better alternative to professional car washes. In reality, it is more expensive, wasteful and toxic to wash your own car. A car wash uses about 40 gallons of water per car while filtering and recycling it as well (5 minutes of garden hose use releases about 63 gallons). They also remove salt and debris from the undercarriage which can reduce corrosion. This winter (and beyond) use a car wash instead – they really aren’t that expensive.

For more information on salt alternatives, check out the full article at GreenHome.com.


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