If you want your car to take care of you on the road, you’ll first need to take care of it. Your four-wheeled family member needs some pampering every now and again, and while a day at the car wash might seem like the best option, it can get pretty expensive doing it regularly.
To avoid the steep price of a professional car wash every couple of weeks, you can do it yourself. All you need are the right tools for the job and about an hour of your time. Sunday sounds like the perfect day to spend some one-on-one time with your car.
The Benefits of Going the DIY Way
You know what they say, “if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” There’s definitely some truth to this. If you know what you’re doing, you can expertly wash and clean your car yourself.
Primarily, it’s much cheaper. Depending on where you live and what you use your car for, you might have to wash it at least twice a month, and the costs of that quickly stack up. With the right car wash soaps and waxes, you’ll notice that your wallet’s thicker at the end of the month.
Secondly, automated car washes rarely provide the most appealing results. Sure, there’ll be no more dust and visible debris all over your car, but it will look mediocre at best. When you wash your car by yourself, you can notice every speck that’s bothering you, and ensure that your car is looking brand new.
And lastly, it’s simply a fun hobby. Spending some quality time taking care of your car can be entertaining and relaxing, so give it a try.
The Best Car Wash Soaps
If you decide to go the DIY way, you’ll need proper products to ensure that your car is looking its best. You cannot simply go for the cheapest car wash soap, as this can do more harm than good. The paint on your car is sensitive and pretty easy to damage while cleaning.
Low-quality car wash soaps can potentially have harmful ingredients that will damage the paint in the long run. If the paint starts peeling off and cracking, not only will your car look like it’s in bad condition, it will be in bad condition. It’ll rust more easily, and you’ll be going to the mechanic more often than you should.
To wash and clean your car properly, you have to get a quality car wash soap. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. The following is a list of the 10 best car wash soaps at varying prices that are suitable for any budget.
The top picks from the list include:
After checking out some of the best car wash soaps, you can take a look at the guide below to learn how you can find the car wash soap most suitable for you.
1. Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo
You can never go wrong when choosing a product from Adam’s Polishes. The company has been in business since 2000. They’ve truly mastered the art of creating the absolute perfect car wash shampoos and other accessories.
The reason why this car wash shampoo stands out is that it’s strong enough to remove any dirt and environmental contaminants, yet gentle enough to keep your paint in excellent condition.
Both the pro and a potential con of this car wash shampoo is that it creates a thick foam. It’s an advantage because cleaning with it is exceptionally easy as the soap will pick up any dirt. It’s potentially a disadvantage if you don’t have a good hose or a pressure washer. If you’re hand washing your car, it can be more challenging to lather your car up.
You can safely use Adam’s car wash shampoo on all surfaces, paint, glass, vinyl; you name it. Its pH-balanced formula won’t do any damage to your car’s wax or sealants, and you can even wash your car in direct sunlight.
An added bonus is that this is definitely the best smelling car wash shampoo you’ll ever come across. This particular shampoo has a wild berry scent, and Adam’s Polishes offers other car wash shampoos with scents such as vanilla, pumpkin spice, apple cider, and more.
- Concentrated pH-balanced formula
- Thick suds
- Shampoo suitable for all surfaces
- Gently eliminates dirt and debris
- Can be used for weekly car maintenance
- Has a pleasant scent
|Product Dimensions||10.3 x 7 x 4.6 inches|
2. Chemical Guys CWS_402
Another well-established brand with high-quality products is Chemical Guys. Founded all the way back in 1968, the company now offers products in over 50 countries worldwide.
The Chemical Guys CWS 402 car wash soap was specifically designed to eliminate grime and built-up dirt from the car. The formula is gentle on the wax and sealant, so your car will remain scratch-free and well-protected.
The formula captures, lifts, and lubricates the abrasive dirt and you can smoothly wipe it off your car without leaving any residue or scratches. You’ll be left with no swirl marks, and the paintwork will look as glossy as ever.
All you need to do is add 1 ounce of it to a 5-gallon bucket. The formula mixes with water easily, and the suds will be thick and provide a constant stream of foaming bubbles.
The formula is pH-neutral and can be used on polished metal, tires, rims, plastic, and even rubber seams.
As with the previous product, it will be much easier to use this car wash soap with a garden hose or a pressure washer. You will save time on lathering.
- pH-neutral formula
- Thick suds
- Clean rinsing
- Glossy finish
- Biodegradable formula
|Product Dimensions||3.9 x 2.4 x 15.8 inches|
3. Meguiar’s G7164
If you’re looking for a high-quality product at a reasonable price, Meguiar’s G7164 is your answer. Their car wash soaps are exceptionally easy to use.
Their strong formula works wonders for removing any contaminants, grime, and dirt, and with this product, you actually get 2 in 1 — shampoo and conditioner.
The shampoo quickly washes your car and eliminates the built-up dirt, while the conditioner works to lubricate and protect the surface of your paint. It’s safe to use on all paint types, clear coats, wax, and sealants.
The pH-neutral formula won’t compromise your car wax, and thanks to the conditioner, your car will come out with a blinding shine.
You can use Meguiar’s G7164 with a foam cannon, a snow cannon, or you can opt for the traditional 2-bucket approach and wash your car by hand.
Compared to Adam’s car wash shampoo and Chemical Guys CWS_402, Meguiar’s G7164 doesn’t foam quite as much, but you’ll still get adequately thick suds. If you don’t have a pressure washer or a hose, this might be a better option for you since lathering by hand will be easier.
- 2 in 1 car wash shampoo and conditioner
- Paint and wax protection
- Brilliant shine
- Suitable for all types of paint and wax
- Brings out the color of the car
|Product Dimensions||10.2 x 5.5 x 3.4 inches|
|Size||64 fl. oz.|
4. Optimum NGWW2012Q
Optimum NGWW2012Q is a superior product that won’t disappoint. Popular among car enthusiasts and professionals alike, this car wash soap is truly one of a kind.
If you don’t have a power washer or a hose, or access to water in your garage or backyard, there’s really nothing to worry about. This product doesn’t require you to use any of those since you don’t have to rinse it off at all.
You won’t need more than a gallon or two of water. Not only is this efficient, but it’s also eco-friendly.
The formula contains lubricating polymers that remove dirt and contaminants and leave a brilliantly glossy finish. Optimum NGWW2012Q is a no-rinse wash and wax, meaning your car will remain safe while you clean it, and will stay protected from dirt.
If your car is particularly dirty, rinse it off with water before you use Optimum NGWW2012Q.
- Faster washing
- Doesn’t require a rinse
- Can be used on all surfaces
- Better protection with Optimum car wax
|Product Dimensions||10.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 inches|
|Size||32 fl. oz.|
5. Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax
Aero Cosmetics’ Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax is also on the more expensive side of car washes, but you won’t regret spending a few extra dollars.
It stands out as a car wash that can be used with or without water. As a wet car wash, you simply wash your car as you normally would, then spray on the Wash Wax ALL as your car dries. You can use a dry towel for drying.
As a waterless car wash, all you need to do is spray your car, use a damp towel for some light cleaning, then dry it all off with a dry towel.
The product is biodegradable, free of alcohol and ammonia, easy to use, leaves a UV protective coat on your car, and can be used on any surface.
- Alcohol and ammonia-free
- Wet and waterless cleaning
- UV protective coating
- Longer-lasting paint protection
|Product Dimensions||9.8 x 4.1 x 2.5 inches|
|Size||16 fl. oz.|
6. Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash
Both the price and the features of this product are comparable to Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo and Chemical Guys CWS_402.
The California Gold Car Wash can be used by professionals and first-time car owners alike.
The formula is highly concentrated, so it produces quite some suds. The foam easily picks up any bird droppings, bugs, grime, and other debris, and leaves your car with an almost mirror finish.
The strong solution doesn’t damage the car’s surface, however, even if left on the car for a bit too long (although you should try to avoid this just in case). There’ll be no water spotting or swirl marks, and the wax will look as good as ever.
You can easily hand wash your car with Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash, or use a pressure washer. The results will be the same.
- Thick suds
- Concentrated formula
- Strong cleaner
- Gentle on the paintwork and wax
- Superior shine
- Easy to use
|Product Dimensions||3 x 6.5 x 9 inches|
|Size||64 fl. oz.|
7. Meguiar’s G7101FFP
The only brand to appear twice on this list is Meguiar’s. The Gold Class Car Wash comes in a huge 1-gallon bottle at a very affordable price.
This Meguiar’s product is once again a 2 in 1 solution, acting as both a car wash shampoo and conditioner.
The foaming shampoo lifts up any debris that’s collected on the surface of your vehicle, and easily washes it away, while the conditioner offers the much-needed protection for your wax and paintwork.
If you like your cars to be in bold colors, or if you enjoy using vinyl, this is the car wash soap for you. The Gold Class Car Wash works wonders for refreshing and brightening up the paint.
All Meguiar’s products are guaranteed high quality, and it comes at a low price.
- Large size
- Affordable price
- 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner
- Easy to use
- Advanced foaming formula
- Biodegradable detergents
- Thick suds
|Product Dimensions||11.4 x 7.1 x 4.4 inches|
8. Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash
Turtle Wax is a reputable company that makes a wide variety of different car wash products that come at a reasonable price. This particular formula contains a mixture of surfactants, lubricating agents, and surface conditioners.
The ingredients used are safe regardless of how sensitive your car finish is, and the car wash soap will collect all debris that has accumulated. You don’t have to worry about scratching or damaging your car while washing it, as even the most stubborn dirt deposits can be removed with a gentle touch.
The formula won’t affect or strip away the previously applied wax, and your car will look sparkling clean.
The only downside is that this Turtle Wax doesn’t foam quite as much as some other products mentioned earlier. Once again, this makes it easier to wash your vehicle by hand.
- pH-balanced formula
- Affordable price
- No water spots or swirl marks after washing
- Protects against dirt accumulation
|Product Dimensions||6 x 3 x 11 inches|
|Size||48 fl. oz.|
9. Duragloss 902 Car Wash
Averagely priced, Duragloss 902 Car Wash does an excellent job. It cleans your vehicle, enhances its shine, protects its paint, and minimizes the drying time.
The car wash soap is very slick and provides excellent lubrication. Dirt and debris can be easily removed without leaving a trace. Although it doesn’t act as a conditioner, the pH-balanced shampoo protects your paintwork and enhances its shine.
The solution is non-alkaline and non-acidic, so it won’t have an effect on durable polishes and wax. As you rinse the car wash soap off, your vehicle will be left mostly dry.
You’ll need to use 1 oz of this cherry-scented car wash soap per 3 gallons of water. This might be the only drawback of this product, as most other car wash soaps are diluted in 5 gallons of water. This means you’ll run out of the product a bit more quickly.
- Excellent lubrication
- No water spots
- Non-alkaline and non-acidic solution
- Minimized drying time
|Product Dimensions||10.6 x 7.4 x 3.9 inches|
10. Armor All Ultra Shine Wash
Armor All is a company best known for its excellent interior detailing products, and their car wash soaps don’t fall far behind.
You can easily remove even the toughest dirt without damaging the glossy finish. There’ll be no scratches, water stains, or swirl marks. The solution contains real carnauba wax and a blend of cleaning agents and surface lubricants.
The Armor All Ultra Shine Wash helps water beading, so your drying time will be significantly reduced.
Armor All car wash doesn’t produce as much suds, so you might end up using more product per wash. Considering the price, however, it’s a competitive product that produces results.
- No water stains or swirl marks
- Uses real carnauba wax
- Encourages water beading
- Reduces drying time
|Product Dimensions||6 x 4 x 11 inches|
|Size||64 fl. oz.|
How To Find The Best Car Wash Soap For Your Car
When buying a car wash soap, there are many things that you have to take into consideration. Most people are price shoppers, but if you want to ensure that your car is in good shape, this isn’t the only thing to be concerned about.
Many car wash soaps come at similar price points and promise similar results. You should consider the following when buying your car wash soap:
This doesn’t mean you should buy the cheapest product. On the contrary, you should compare the value you get for the amount of money you spend. You’ll generally save more money by buying bigger bottles, such as 64 fl. oz. or a gallon. This can last you over a year, and you can ensure you get a higher quality product at a lower price.
This might not really have an impact on the car itself, but it’s definitely something that you should consider. When you wash your car, most of the polluted water goes into the gutters and drains and ends up harming the environment. Biodegradable car wash soaps will protect the environment and your car’s finish.
The car wash soap that you buy should produce a lot of suds. The thicker the suds, the safer it is for your car’s finish as all the dirt will be lifted away and won’t scratch the paint.
It will be more difficult to lather up the car by hand with thicker suds, but it’s usually worth the extra effort.
The pH level
The pH level is how acidic or alkaline the car wash soap is. It’s generally better to go for products a bit more to the alkaline side, as it can clean your car more easily. However, you don’t want the formula to be either too alkaline or too acidic, as both extremes will corrode the paint. pH-neutral car wash soaps are the best choice.
The Water Spotting
Cheaper car wash soaps or lower quality tend to leave your car dirtier than it seemed before. You’ll notice water sports, swirl marks, streaks, and this is surely not something you want to see. Car wash soaps with a quick-drying solution are the best choice as they prevent these problems.
Investing in quality car wash soaps will make your life easier and can save you quite a lot of money. You wouldn’t have to go to a professional car wash, and you would still have a beautifully glossy car that looks like it just came out of the car dealership.
The products on this list will keep your car looking brand new, so give them a try and see for yourself.