A little soap is good for the environment, but we are not allowed to let soap run into a storm drain. While it is true that there are harsh chemicals and detergents that are currently used by industry and homeowners that should never be allowed free to run into our ecosystem, most basic soap won’t hurt anything. As a matter of fact, they actually help break down other unwanted contaminants so they can be further filtered by mother earth’s soil and diluted by her abundant water. Most mobile auto detailer’s soaps are perfectly harmless. Unfortunately, no matter how good or biodegradable these soaps are, the law reads nothing but ‘domestic potable water’ goes into the storm drains.
Non-spray products such as silicon for bumpers, wax, adhesive remover, etc. are major environmental problems because they contain dastardly chemicals. You must realize these chemicals do not go into the environment during the washing of the vehicle; therefore, they do not constitute a pollution discharge. Whatever you do, do not pour out a 55-gallon drum of this type product into the gutter in front of your house.
Here is a sad story of what happens when there is an unscrupulous manufacturer tries to sell a product that is not safe:
A company that touted their product as being safe for the environment sold it to thousands of retailers that had thousands of outlets. It was on shelves all over America for about three years. It was in the garages of over forty million households. It was later discovered by a company that preps boats for painting and stripping that the product killed fish. Fish were floating to the surface dead each day that this product was used. The company cleaning the boats didn’t want to get in trouble, so they switched products and didn’t say anything. The new product worked fine and no more dead fish.
About a year and a half later, the supplier for the new product went out of business and the boat company was forced to switch back to the first product. Guess what? That’s right; more dead fish; even more than before. This time the boat cleaning company told someone. The Fish and Game Department slapped on a lawsuit for one million dollars. The product manufacturer paid but continued to make the product with same formula. Other government agencies and environmental groups caught wind and forced the company to change the formula. The price increase to change the formula cost the company eight cents more per bottle on a retail price of $10.00. The one million dollars was less than eight cents per gallon, so they just paid it. When they finally switched formulas due to the pressure from environmental consumers and the negative media, the bottle said “New and Improved” and “Even More Environmentally Safe Than Before.” The price increased an average of $1.99 retail. The product’s name? I am not writing this article to hurt brand names so we will leave it at that, you can figure it out through public record.