Can I wash my car during a hosepipe ban?

Can I wash my car during a hosepipe ban?
Can I wash my car during a hosepipe ban?

Households in the north-west of England are facing a hosepipe ban as the weeks of scorching weather have seen reservoir levels drop dramatically.

Water company United Utilities said seven million customers would be affected by the ban, which will come into force on August 5. In Northern Ireland a ban has been in place since June 29.

The ban puts restrictions on using water outdoors, including the use of hoses and sprinklers.

Read more: Do cars explode if you fill up during a heatwave?

While utility companies in other parts of Britain say they don’t intend to introduce hosepipe bans, they have also been badly affected by the prolonged dry spell and have urged customers to be careful with their water use.

So, can I wash my car during a hosepipe ban?

The answer is yes, you simply can’t do it with a hose.

According to United Utilities, under the hosepipe ban you must not use a hose to clean your car as it uses huge quantities of water.

You can, however, still clean your car using tap water to fill a bucket.

Can I wash my car during a hosepipe ban?
When hoses are out, you can still use a bucket filled from a tap

The difference in water usage is stark – Uswitch estimates that using a bucket to clean your car will use around 32 litres of water compared to as much as 480 litres using a hose.

Alternatively, you can use “grey water”, which is water that’s already been used, in the bath for example. And if you have your own water supply, such as a private borehole, you can still use  a hose or sprinkler water outdoors.

Water saving

Even if you live somewhere outwith the ban’s reach many areas are struggling with water supplies so it’s worth thinking about whether you really need to wash your car.

If you feel you have to you could follow the above advice rather than use a hose or try using a waterless cleaning solution.

A spokesman for motoring retailer Halfords said: “Waterless car wash products such as our Armor All Waterless Spray and Meguiar’s Quik Wax are coming into their own right now as motorists want quick-fixes to the forthcoming hosepipe ban.

“It means that they can have a spotless looking car without flouting the ban. The sprays lift dirt and grime off the bodywork and suspend it within the liquid.”

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