Water efficient car washing: hose vs. bucket

26 March 2012

There’s more than one way to wash a car, and Waterwise suggests that however people wash (hosepipe, bucket, waterless cleaning system, etc.) they make sure they’re not wasting any of this precious resource.

A recent article in Auto Express claims that “it’s more efficient to use a hosepipe to wash your car than a bucket.” This is based on a test in which they compared two people washing a car, one with a hose and one with a bucket. It took the bucket user 110 litres, but the hose-user (with a hose fitted with a trigger gun) just 35 litres to complete the task.

Our MD Jacob Tompkins himself stepped up to the challenge and had a carwash-off with Auto Express to test the competing claims. They discovered that the bucket used 44 litres and the hosepipe with trigger attachment used 24 litres. So a hose with special attachment, wielded by an expert focused on being as water-efficient as possible, can outperform our MD with a bucket. Although the bucket wash was voted cleanest!

However, after two winters of below-average rainfall, some water companies have been forced to bring in hosepipe bans. And until all hosepipes are sold with triggers (and all users understand the need for water efficiency) this measure will continue to be an important drought measure.

The key to using water wisely – whether while washing a car, taking a shower, or doing laundry – is a mix of the right technology and the right behaviour. For tips on how to use water more efficiently see

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