7+What Is the Best Soap to Wash a Car With in 2023

Just as you don’t get great results washing your hair with dish soap, when it comes to washing your car, you’ll be a lot happier using a proper car wash soap. Dish detergents and other household soaps are designed to remove grease, which means they will strip wax or any other protective coating from your car.

Car cleaning products are specially formulated to be used on paint surfaces and clearcoat, with added lubrication so dust and grime glide right off your paintwork when you’re washing. You have lots of options for how to use them, from a bucket and a wash mitt, to a garden hose attachment, to a pressure washer and foam gun if you really want to clean your car properly and want to know What Is the Best Soap to Wash a Car With?

About Environmentally Friendly Car Washing

As with any automotive care project, you should be aware of the potential for harmful runoff from your cleaning. Lots of people like to go to a local do-it-yourself car wash, where wastewater is controlled, but if you can’t, don’t let water flow into storm drains or other

waterways. Gravel and soil make a good filter, especially if you’re using biodegradable, phosphate-free soap, and dump your wash buckets down a sink or toilet so that municipal wastewater treatment (or your septic system) can take care of it. All the soaps on our list are phosphate-free, and many claim to be biodegradable.

Our Choosing Process Best Car Wash Soaps

We combined our personal experience with specific car wash soaps (like the #2 pick that we use in the AutoGuide Garage), past experience with reputable brands, and our metric for calculating weighted user reviews from Amazon and other retailers. We compared those results against a suite of publicly accessible tools we use to help eliminate fraudulent review patterns, and researched which of the results were best.

There are hundreds of varieties of car wash soaps on the market, so if you’re having a tough time deciding, we’ve got you covered.

What Is the Best Car Wash Soap to Use (Our Recommendtion)

1.Malco Ultra-Violet Premium Wash ‘N Wax

Streamline the process of cleaning and waxing your vehicle with Malco’s Ultra-Violet Premium Wash ‘N Wax. This convenient 2-in-1 solution eliminates the need for extensive effort. Enjoy a durable, glossy finish without the added hassle. Utilizing advanced cleaning agents, Ultra-Violet generates rich suds to effectively dissolve dirt and grime, ensuring a streak-free result.

Once you’ve rinsed off your vehicle, the integrated wax component creates a protective, water-repellent layer. This helps water bead and roll off effortlessly, preventing unsightly spots. As the formula dries, you’ll revel in the appearance of a professionally waxed finish with an impressive high-gloss shine.

Ultra-Violet is versatile, suitable for use with foam guns or cannons, and poses no risk to trim or plastic surfaces. Say goodbye to the laborious chore of separate washing and waxingUltra-Violet simplifies and enhances your vehicle maintenance routine.

2.Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash

Hailed as one of the most renowned and trustworthy brands in car care, Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash stands out as a widely popular car cleaning product in the market. This formula boasts an ultra-rich conditioner that enhances your car’s paint appearance while preserving its wax protection. Notably, all Meguiar’s car wash solutions are detergent-free and are designed to provide surface lubrication, effectively removing contaminants, dirt, and debris from the vehicle’s paintwork. The Gold Class Car Wash serves as a dual-action shampoo and conditioner, streamlining the process of both cleaning and conditioning your car’s paint in a single step.

When utilizing this wash with a foam gun, even a low-pressure pressure washer produces ample foam. This product is recognized for its exceptional lathering capabilities, making it one of the most foamy car shampoos available. When manually applying the product with a wash mitt or microfiber towels, the soap’s remarkable smoothness becomes evident, enabling effortless application and removal for a streak-free finish. Diluted at a 5:1 ratio, we managed to cover a Mazda CX-5 with just under half a one-liter foam bottle, suggesting that the bottle contains enough soap for approximately 20 full washes.

The majority of Amazon users, along with our team, find the soap’s fragrance pleasing—an aspect that might not hold immense significance for every car owner, but is undeniably preferable to an unpleasant odor.

3.Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo

Adam’s Polishes offers one of the most premium car shampoos on the market. Their specialized car shampoo incorporates a sophisticated blend of advanced cleaners and polymers, resulting in a luxurious, dense foam throughout your washing process. This shampoo produces a substantial and adhesive lather, which preserves any existing car waxes or sealants applied. Notably, it maintains a neutral pH level, ensuring compatibility with various materials and safeguarding rubber trim and plastic components from drying out.

Curiously, the prevalence of fruit-scented car detailing products remains somewhat puzzling. Nevertheless, for those who place importance on fragrance, Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo boasts a captivating wild berry aroma. The company humorously suggests that the scent might even tempt you to consume the product, though this is strongly discouraged, despite Adam’s assurance that their cleaning solution is both “100% Biodegradable and Earth Friendly.”

4.Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash and Wax

If you’ve been tracking developments in car washing and detailing trends in recent years, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the concept of ceramic coating. Originally a high-end protective treatment offered exclusively by professional detailers, ceramic coating has gained significant popularity as an effective means of preserving a car’s exterior finish for an extended period. In response, several companies have introduced ceramic-infused products, capitalizing on the demand for ceramic coating. While these are not true ceramic coatings, they do incorporate silicon compounds that offer some of the advantages of ceramic coatings with reduced effort.

Among these products is Turtle Wax’s Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash and Wax, which incorporates SiO2 polymers to establish a robust barrier suitable for both treated and untreated vehicles. This formulation imparts a highly hydrophobic property to the car’s surface, causing water to bead and flow off, thereby maintaining the cleanliness of the finish. Engineered to clean road grime without causing scratches, this car wash solution also creates a chemical-resistant layer of protection that endures for several months.

Moreover, this product is compatible with foam cannons, streamlining the car-washing process. It’s important to note that ceramic automotive wash and wax formulas don’t generate copious lather due to the specific compounds they contain, but this lack of suds does not compromise their effectiveness.

5. Optimum No Rinse Wash and Wax

For those aiming to conserve water or residing in areas without easy hose access, Optimum’s No Rinse Wash and Wax presents an ideal solution. While it carries a notable price tag, the advantage lies in its efficiency—substantial water usage is unnecessary. This is attributed to the fact that Optimum’s waterless car wash eliminates the need for soapy surfactants that require rinsing. Instead, it employs unique substantive polymers that establish a protective bond with the paint, safeguarding it against abrasion during the wash. This innovative approach not only provides enhanced protection and lubrication compared to conventional car washes but also incorporates carnauba wax, which imparts a sleek and glossy finish.

Surprisingly, the Optimum Wash & Wax achieves remarkable results, surpassing expectations for both cleaning and paint protection. This waterless solution has garnered remarkable acclaim, boasting a stellar 96% positive rating from over 1,800 reviews on Amazon. It’s worth noting that its only limitation may be that you wouldn’t want to apply an additional coat of your preferred wax on top of it, and its cost is not budget-friendly.

6. Rain-X Spot Free Car Wash

Rain-X, a recognized expert in shielding windshields from rain, brings their weather-defying expertise to a unique offering – a semi-waterless car wash solution. This ingenious product promises a flawless, spot-free finish while minimizing water usage, a perfect solution for those aiming to conserve resources or facing limited access to water.

Harnessing their proficiency in developing streak-free windshield protectants, Rain-X has harnessed similar technologies in this innovative formula. Although it may take a few applications to establish a complete hydrophilic (water-repelling) coating, the initial results are already impressive. Whether applied manually or with the aid of a foam cannon, this solution creates a luxurious foam that enhances the cleaning process. Its pH-balanced composition ensures gentle treatment of all surfaces, including delicate paintwork, pre-existing wax layers, and diverse exterior materials. Notably, it excels in delivering streak-free brilliance on glass and chrome surfaces. Additionally, this protective coating extends its benefits beyond washing, contributing to effective rainwater beading and runoff.

While the exact composition remains proprietary, the product aligns with environmentally-conscious practices, likely being phosphate-free, in line with the growing demand for eco-friendly solutions.

7. Mothers California Gold Car Wash

Another renowned name in the car care industry is Mothers. Their California Gold Car Wash carries a similar price point to both Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash and Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash, yielding comparable results. However, some users do note that both Meguiar’s and Chemical Guys products tend to generate more suds, providing the perception of a slicker and cleaner application.

Nevertheless, the Mothers California Gold Car Wash stands out by delivering a notably super-sudsy experience in comparison to more budget-friendly car shampoos. Its formula is pH balanced to ensure enhanced safety and resist water spotting. Like other premium car shampoos, it’s designed not to strip wax or diminish paint vibrancy when used correctly.

A crucial consideration is the pricing aspect. Mothers California Gold car wash is available in containers of various sizes, which might appear similar outwardly, especially when purchased online. To ensure the best deal, it’s advisable to calculate the price per ounce before making a purchase.

8.Duragloss Car Wash Concentrate

Positioned in the realm of premium car shampoos, the Duragloss Car Wash Concentrate stands as a notable contender. This solution not only effectively cleans but also boasts a promise to avoid streaks or blemishes on the paint. Duragloss asserts that its unique formula fosters a sheeting effect, leaving the vehicle predominantly dry after use. Formulated with a concentrated blend of mild surfactants and cleansers, this solution is completely devoid of acids or alkalis, ensuring the preservation of durable polishes. Its pH balanced composition further guarantees its safety on all surfaces. Additionally, for the curious noses, it carries the delightful aroma of cherries.

Why Carwash Soap Is Different

When you’ve made the choice to take on the task of washing your car yourself, the first essential step is to secure high-quality car-specific soap or shampoo. Using generic products like dish soap or laundry detergent is a no-go since they contain aggressive degreasers that can harm your car’s paint. The superior carwash soaps and shampoos are meticulously formulated to treat your car’s exterior with the care it deserves,

unlike products intended for tougher cleaning tasks. What you need is a cleansing solution that provides effective lubrication, creates rich suds, and lifts contaminants off your paint’s surface. However, even after narrowing down your options, the world of car cleaning products can still be overwhelming.

Let’s categorize the top-tier carwash products into three main groups: basic, enhanced with additives, and rinseless or waterless solutions. Starting with the basic options like Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner, you’ll find a solid choice that can be conveniently obtained from your local auto-parts store. These options efficiently remove contaminants while leaving your paint’s protective wax or polish untouched.

For an extra boost, some products come with additives. For example, the Chemical Guys Bodywash & Wax not only cleans but also provides an added layer of wax protection. While it doesn’t replace a full waxing session, it serves as an excellent supplementary layer of defense.

In scenarios where a water hookup is not available or when water conservation is a priority, rinseless and waterless washes offer a smart solution. Among the waterless options tested, Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax stands out. Likewise, Optimum No Rinse and Ultima Waterless Wash Plus+ are highly respected within the detailing community due to their exceptional lubricating properties and impressive adaptability. These products are prized for their versatility – they can be properly diluted and used as both a clay lubricant and quick detailer, making them incredibly valuable additions to your cleaning arsenal.

Here are some highlights:

1. Prepare BucketsSet up three buckets: Wheels, Wash, and Rinse. Use proper carwash products in each and consider a complete carwash kit. Utilize Grid Guard inserts to prevent rubbing grit on painted or glass finishes.
2. Wash the Engine BayIf washing the engine bay, do it before the car body. Avoid soaking any part of the engine with water. Remove leaves or debris from HVAC vents and hinges. Remember, you’re cleansing the engine, not scrubbing it.
3. Wheels – One at a TimeWash and rinse each wheel separately to avoid wheel cleaner overspray damaging sensitive parts and finishes. Don’t spray rotors. You can also use the wheel bucket for cleaning exhaust tips if desired.
4. Wash Car Body – Top to BottomUse car soap, starting from the top and working down and around the car body. Consider using a foam gun for application and a carwash mitt for cleansing. Avoid applying severe downward pressure; let the sponge or rag do the work. Rinse and dry promptly to prevent soap drying on paint.
5. Maintain Quality Products and ToolsInvest in proper carwash soap, consider a foam cannon and pressure washer for enhanced results. Keep your tools and products well-maintained for optimal performance.
6. Achieve a Sparkling Finish!Following these steps, you’re all set to give your ride a polished appearance. Enjoy the process of sprucing up your vehicle!


1. Is using dish soap for car washing safe?

Using dish soap for car washing is not recommended. Dish detergents are designed to remove grease and can strip wax and protective coatings from your car’s paint.

2. Can I wash my car’s engine bay?

Yes, you can wash your car’s engine bay. However, avoid soaking the engine with water and remove debris from vents and hinges before washing.

3. Should I wash all four wheels at once?

It’s best to wash and rinse each wheel separately to avoid damaging sensitive parts and finishes. Avoid spraying the rotors with wheel cleaner.

4. What’s the right way to wash the car body?

Start from the top and work your way down the car body using car soap. Consider using a foam gun and a carwash mitt. Avoid applying too much pressure and rinse and dry promptly to prevent soap drying on the paint.


  • Lucas

    Hi I am, a passionate and self-sufficient ‘USA’ resident who never depends on others to clean cars, other vehicles, decks, patios, driveways, sidewalks, and the exterior of my house. When I’m not busy always love to research new techniques to improve my cleaning skills and spend time maintaining pressure washers to keep them in top condition.

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