Holding a Car Wash Fundraiser? Please Think Again!

So you’re trying to raise money for your sports team, church or school. You’d like to host a fundraiser that is simple and fun for everyone. The weather’s been warm and Aha!, you think, a carwash will be easy.

BUT WAIT! Did you know that water flowing into most storm drains isn’t treated? Instead, that soapy, murky car wash water eventually ends up in our rivers, creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound. Carwash water contains detergents, gasoline, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals that can harm aquatic life and make our waterways unhealthy for swimming and fishing. Not only that, it’s actually illegal to put anything down a stormdrain that can pollute our local surface waters.

So, as you put away your buckets and hoses, don’t be discouraged. There are many fundraisers that do not cause stormwater pollution. Here is a list of fun and creative ideas to inspire you:

  • Sell commercial car wash tickets. Commercial carwashes pipe used water into treatment facilities. Visit charitycarwash.org to learn more.
  • Sell eco-friendly products such as reusable shopping bags (chicobag.com) or water bottles. Try featuring your own artwork in the designs.
  • Sell local coupon books such as the Chinook Book—chinookbook.com.
  • Partner with a local business to host a bingo or trivia night and share a portion of profits from the evening.
  • Host a fun run at your school. You can even add obstacle courses.
  • Hold an auction. Include items such as themed gift baskets or lunch with senior staff members.

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