AWRI Information Services Center

Lower Grand Watershed Interactive Tool (WIT) - Automobile and Boat Care


Lower Grand River 319 Project

Nonpoint Source Pollutants

Water Science Education

Interactive Mapping

Storm Water Management

Government Resources

History of the Watershed

Create a Watershed Management Plan

FYI on Local Water Issues

Rain Gardens

Lawn Fertilizers

Automobile and Boat Care

Septic Systems


Other Resources

Stormwater Management Guidance and Tools

Car Washing and Boat Cleaning
1.) Look for non-toxic and phosphate-free cleansers.
2.) Use Alternative cleansers, such as baking soda and lemon juice. Avoid those with bleach, ammonia, lye, or petroleum distillates.

Product Better Alternative
Bleach Borax or hydrogen peroxide
Chrome Cleaner Apple Cider vinegar to clean, baby oil to polish
Drain Cleaner Boiling water and plunger or plumber's snake
Engine Cleaner Steam clean the engine in a dedicated service area
Fiberglass stain remover Baking soda paste, scrub pad, "elbow grease"
Paint stripper Physically remove old paint without chemical use. Avoid products containing methylene chloride, tricholoroethylene, benzene, trchloroethane, xylene or toluene.
Scouring powders Baking soda and "elbow grease"
Window cleaner Vinegar and lemon juice mixed in lukewarm water.
Wood polish Olive oil or almond for interior wood; use water- or borax-based products.

Fuel and Oil
1.) When fueling, avoid topping off!
2.) Remember that fuel expands as it warms up in your tank.
3.) Store fuel only in approved containers.
4.) Routinely check for and fix oil and fuel leaks.

Engine Care
1.) Keep boat and car engines properly tuned for efficient fuel consumption and clean exhaust.
2.) Use drip pan when doing engine maintenance. Drippings left on the cement get washed into nearby drains and end up in our streams.

Sewage Control
1.) Use onshore restrooms when docked, and encourage everyone to use the facilities before casting off.
2.) Empty portable toilets only at pumpout stations or at home.
3.) Clean up after your pet to prevent pet waste from washing into storm drains.

A Citizen's Guide to Auto and Boat Care (PDF, 230kb)

Information and images displayed here were taken from the stormwater tip card series, funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Bear Creek Restoration Project.


Grand Valley Metro Council
40 Pearl St. NW, Ste. 410
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 776-3876

Page last modified January 19, 2011