White Plains Man's Green Business Helps Teens, Environment

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Donald Stevens, center, owner of A Better Car Wash on Wheels used eco-friendly products for a waterless car wash Monday. Photo Credit: Tanuja Kanwar
Brian Robinson, left, and Tyrone Mullins clean the inside of a vehicle with eco-friendly products. Photo Credit: Tanuja Kanwar
Donald Stevens inspects the cleaning on the hatch of a vehicle as Brian Robinson finishes wiping the trim. Photo Credit: Tanuja Kanwar
Donald Stevens, owner of A Better Car Wash on Wheels Photo Credit: Tanuja Kanwar
Devon Thomas, 16, attends White Plains High School and works part-time for the mobile car wash. Photo Credit: Tanuja Kanwar

SCARSDALE, N.Y. –  Donald Stevens, of White Plains, has applied his more than 15 years experience in detailing cars in Scarsdale to an eco-friendly, mobile car cleaning business that helps both the environment and at-risk teens. The job has him traveling all over Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

On Monday, he was busy with a team of two, scrubbing and freshening three vehicles at a Scarsdale home without using water and utilizing mostly green products and “a lot of elbow grease.”

“The time is changing, with people wanting to know if the products used to clean cars are harmful to their families, their kids, so we might as well conform,” Stevens said.  “It is also convenient for our clients as we can clean their cars while they are at work or relaxing at home, when their cars are normally just parked for hours.”

His company, A Better Wash on Wheels, has grown over the past year, he said, via word-of-mouth referrals from current clients. From Bronxville to Stamford, his teams travel Monday through Saturday, providing services similar to a traditional car wash. They provide services like exterior cleanings and a detailing treatment that includes cleaning and treating leather and fabric seats.

A psychiatric technician by profession, Stevens said he got into the car cleaning business as a means to maintain his income level during the cold months, when overtime in his job traditionally disappears. 

He operated the Post and Popham Detailing service at the Shell gas station at the intersection of Post and Popham Roads in Scarsdale until 2007 and started a mobile cleaning service for the many of the clients whom he had worked for over the years

Last year, he said he switched to using mostly environmentally-friendly products and a waterless cleaning technique to eliminate water waste and runoff contamination. Stevens said these details provide a better in-car environment by limiting the use of toxic cleaning products.

“It’s more convenient than using water, it’s easier and more efficient,” said Tyrone Mullins, who works for Stevens. “They are not harmful, they are also better for us as we are exposed to them all the time.”

Meanwhile, for White Plains High School junior, Devon Thomas, 16, an unplanned meeting with Stevens at his church led him to work that he said provides him with an outlet during summer vacation and afterschool that keeps him from “getting into trouble.” 

Stevens said his experience with Thomas, in turn, pushed him to reach out to the White Plains Youth Bureau to provide future opportunities for young adults 16 to 24 years old.

“For him to reach out to help teens, giving them an opportunity, is wonderful,” Thomas said. “I’ve enjoyed it and plan to work with him whenever I can.”

Giving back to the community that has supported him for many years is also important, Stevens said. His teams will be busy cleaning cars at the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association’s Oct. 3 charity event at the Scarsdale Golf Club, he noted, and donating a portion of the proceeds to organizers.

But mostly, it is that “word-of-mouth” recommendation that he said keeps his business running. Stevens has already been booked to return in three weeks by the family whose vehicles he cleaned for the first time Monday, he confirmed.

Stevens can be reached at 914-625-8244 or at washonwheels59@yahoo.com.

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