Today, the sheer variety of chemical agents sold to help car owners keep their rides pristine has heightened competition between manufacturers who pride themselves on producing car wash soap formulas that focus on surfactants and alkaline builders like phosphates, metasilicates, sodium and potassium hydroxides. Added chelating agents have not only stabilized formulas but improved hard water stability, so no matter which car wash soap you choose, your car can always look like it lives in a garage (even if it doesn’t!).
Car Wash Soaps plays an important role in keeping your car clean. But not all car wash soaps are the same. Looking to keep your car clean and free from damage? Our guide to the best car wash soaps 2020 starts right now!
In A Hurry? This Is The Best:
- Rich and luxurious car wash designed to wash and condition paint in...
- Premium formula offers rich foaming and sudsing action to gently and...
- Ultra-rich conditioners reveal color and clarity and leave your paint...
- This Gold Class car wash is safe on all paint types and clear coats
- Diverse application allows wash to be used in a bucket or in a foam...
Meguiar’s is a well-known and loved brand among car owners all over the world in 2020. The brand itself has been manufacturing car care products for well over a century and are widely considered leaders in the field. The G7164 soap formula is particularly loved as it is powerful enough to strip away thick layers of dirt and grime, without stripping your car’s exterior of its wax protective layer.
The formula is efficient enough to strip away dirt while the essential oils in the soap work to condition and protect your car’s exterior. The result is a clean car with a glossy finish and restored color.
Compared to other car wash soaps on the market, the G7164 is very reasonably priced. Especially when you consider that the G7164 operates as a washing and protecting product all in one.
Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64 – Ideal For Two Bucket Method
Chemical Guys is another well-respected manufacturer of ar care products all over the world. This soap has a gentle PH-balance that does not compromise your car’s exterior while still effectively getting rid of dirt. The formula has been created to offer a high amount of foam and lubricity which makes it ideal for the two bucket wash method.
This soap offers a high amount of foam with lubricity which means that dirt and grime are extremely easy to remove. The high amount of foam will make for easy cleaning and require less scrubbing effort from you.
This soap’s concentrated formula makes it an ideal choice for those who favour the two bucket method. Simply use an ounce of formula in a 5-gallon bucket of water for easy and powerful cleaning.
Armor All Ultra Shine – environmentally safe car wash soaps
Armor All’s Ultra Shine is another product that promises a car wash soap that washes and waxes all in one. Their formula contains gentle washing agents as well as lubricants and carnauba wax that cleans your car and leaves it with a glossy finish. The unique combination of ingredients works to protect your car’s exterior against the elements and is especially effective in helping water to bead on your car’s paint.
This formula’s impressive list of ingredients works effectively to cut through dirt while simultaneously creating a protective barrier on your car’s surface. The formula includes premium ingredients such as real carnauba wax.
Armor All is very reasonably priced considering the products wash and wax action. However, since the product is not concentrated, you will need to use more per single wash compared to concentrated formulas.
Mother’s 05674 – Best All in One Car Soap
This environmentally friendly soap comes highly regulated by many car care experts worldwide. This product promises quick and hassle-free car washing. The formula offers a gentle PH-balance that cleans effectively and enhances your car’s shine. This soap is a great all-rounder since it has enough foam and lubricity for quick cleaning. Most importantly, the soap contains a wax to protect your car’s exterior.
This formula is highly concentrated which makes washing easier for you. The concentrated soap ensures that dirt and grime slide off your car easily. This also means that you’ll use much less and a single bottle will last you a long time.
Mother’s is one of the cheapest car wash soap options available. Despite this competitive price, this car was soap packs a punch in how effectively it cleans. The concentrated formula also means that you’ll need to use a lot less compared to other soaps.
Griot’s Garage 10866 – Best high foam content
Griot’s Garage formula promises a selection of premium ingredients that will clean your car without stripping its wax. The soap offers plenty of foam for easy washing and leaves your car with a shiny, streak-free appearance. The versatile concentrated formula works well on any car exterior to clean and protect your car. The great smelling formula is also biodegradable for guilt-free washing.
A major benefit of this formula is that it does not leave streaks or water spots on your car. The soap breaks down easily once you rinse it off. This will leave you with a shiny, streak and spot free finish.
Adam’s NEW Car Wash – Best High Foaming Capacity
Adam’s NEW Car Wash is often praised for its variety and quality of ingredients. The formula contains wax, acrylic, and polymer which all contribute to a clean and shiny car. Adam’s prides itself on the science and technology behind its products. Every ingredient added has been scientifically proven to clean, protect, and enhance your car’s appearance. The result is a powerful yet gentle soap that effectively cleans your car and protects its wax sealant.
Despite the soap’s powerful performance, this car wash cleaner product itself has a neutral pH. The soap will be gentle on any surface while still effectively removing dirt and grime. The soap will not strip your car of its wax and is gentle enough to be used on your car’s trim.
This formula is more expensive than other products on the market. The high cost is attributed to the premium ingredients that the formula contains. While it may be more expensive, it will last you longer thanks to the formula’s high concentration and rich foaming capacity.
Meguiar’s G17748 – Best hand car wash soaps
This car wash solution was created to function as a car wash soap and wax all-in-one. Usually, a washing and waxing product compromises either the quality of the soap or of the wax. This is not the case with Meguiar’s hybrid formula. The soap is perfectly balanced and effectively lifts dirt and grime off your car, while the wax works to protect your car and adds a glossy sheen to its appearance.
The added polymers in the formula give your car that “just waxed” look without compromising on the soap’s foam. This soap is ideal for someone who wants to clean and wax their car without spending too much time on it.
This product can easily be worked up into a rich lather than quickly and gently cleanses your car. The soapy suds is not at all affected or compromised by the product’s added wax.
Turtle Wax T-472R ICE – Best wax free car wash soaps
This dish soap for washing cars option provides heavy duty protection for your vehicle. The soap itself provides a rich slippery foam that easily lifts soil and dirt from your car. In addition, the formula contains a variety of high-quality polymers that work together to create a protective barrier on your car against the elements. This product is great for people who want to give their car added protection.
The product’s unique combination of added polymers work together to create a unique protective layer on your car’s exterior. This protective barrier will make sure that your car is weatherproof in all conditions.
The product contains several ingredients that work to enhance your car’s color, clarity and gives it a glossy sheen. This means a great all-rounder product for people who don’t want to spend hours caring for their car.
TriNova Car Wash Concentrate – Rich Foam
This concentrated formula will quickly and effectively get rid of any dirt and grime build up without compromising your car’s exterior. TriNova has formulated a versatile formula that can be used on any car surface inside and out. The soap is rich in foam and lubricity for gentle, effective cleaning. The formula has also been enriched with ingredients to condition your car.
This car washing soap formula is highly concentrated and you will only require a small amount to create a rich and effective cleansing lather. The concentrated formula ensures that you clean your car efficiently and saves you money.
This gentle formula can be used on any surface on car exterior or interior. The soap can be used either for a two bucket wash method or with a foam blaster.
Zymol Z530 – Best Concentrated
This product is the perfect choice for socially conscious car owners. The formula consists of entirely natural ingredients which are sustainable, renewable and 100% biodegradable. The soap easily works up into a rich lather with plenty of foam. The soap effectively cuts through dirt and grime. Rinsing off is easy since the soap has been formulated to prevent streaks, water spots or swirl marks.
All ingredients used in Zymol Z530 are natural. This translates into a gentle, yet effective soap that breaks down easily and is safe to use for your car and the environment.
This option has been scientifically proven to create more foam than other similar products. This foam provides plenty of lubricity for quick and easy washing. Moreover, the foam is easy to rinse off and does not leave any residue behind.
|Meguiar’s G7164 (Editor’s Choice)||Best Brand|
|Chemical Guys||Best All-Around Product|
|Armor All Ultra Shine||Powerful Cleaner|
|Mother’s 05674||Concentrated Formula|
|Griot’s Garage 10866||Plenty of Foam|
|Adam’s NEW Car Wash||Leaves a Streak-Free Finish|
|Meguiar’s G17748||Best Lowest Price Product|
|Turtle Wax T-472R ICE||Neutral pH Balance|
|TriNova Car Wash Concentrate||High Foaming Capacity|
|Zymol Z530||Smart Shield Technology|
What is a good soap to wash your car with?
Generally, there are three categories of car wash soap you should be considering based on what you’re trying to achieve. Regardless of the task at hand, you’ll want to look for these 6 things from whatever soap you choose:
Gentle pH Balance
Using a general soap, such a dishwashing liquid can do irreparable harm to your car’s exterior. General soaps do not provide for caring for your car’s delicate wax sealant and often strips it of its protective barrier. You should choose a soap specifically created for washing cars. The formula itself should contain a variety of gentle, non-abrasive ingredients that can still effectively clean your car.
A neutral pH balance will also ensure that the soap itself does not leave any acidic residue on your car after the wash. Any reputable car wash soap will have a neutral pH balance and will clearly state this information on their bottle or website. If your chosen soap does not state its pH balance, do some research online before purchasing it.
Amount of Foam
When washing your car, you’re looking for a soap that creates plenty of foam once it’s mixed with water. Foam can be an essential part of the cleaning process since a rich foam will lift dirt and grease off your vehicle with much more ease. This means that you won’t have to spend hours scrubbing your car and potentially leave a scratch in the process.
Concentrated car wash soap formulas are especially ideal for creating loads of foam. The formulas intense concentration means that you’ll need a lot less soap to get that rich lather needed for an effective wash. Some formulas promise plenty of foam, but sometimes fail to deliver on their promise. Experiment to find the formula that provides the right amount of foam for you. For extra foam, considering investing in a foam gun.
Lubricity refers to just how slippery a soap is. Much like, foam, lubricity is an essential factor to consider when choosing a soap. A high amount of lubricity will translate to an easier cleaning process. A slippery soap, like foam, helps to loosen dirt and grime off of your car with more ease, which once again means less effort on your part.
Moreover, a high lubricity will make the soap easier to rinse off and less likely to leave streaks or other residues on your car. Like foam, the best way to find a slippery soap is to read reviews online and simply to experiment to find the formula that suits you best.
Choosing a biodegradable car wash soap may seem like an inessential factor reserved for the environmentally cautious. However, since you wash your car outside in the immediate vicinity of grassy areas, a biodegradable soap should be one of your most immediate concerns.
A biodegradable formula is an important factor to consider since this will determine whether or not the residual soap could harm your lawn or stain your driveway. A biodegradable formula will break down easily and will not leave a soapy mess on your lawn and cause subsequent damage to your grass and soil.
To find a biodegradable soap, simply read the soap’s product description or bottle before buying it. If you’re still unsure whether the product is biodegradable, you can check online or ask the salesperson about this concern.
A good quality car wash soap can do much more for you than simply clean your car. A car wash soap from a reputable manufacturer has the power to add a layer of protection to your car’s exterior. This is ideal for drivers who live in harsh climates.
Consider how much protection you require from your soap. Certain products provide a shield against rain and help water to bead on your car. Other protects boast an added wax to add a layer of general protection against external elements such as harsh weather conditions and salt added to roads.
Your chosen formula’s concentration will largely depend on how dirty your car is as well as your personal preference and budget.
Non-concentrated formulas are often cheaper than their concentrated counterparts. However, non-concentrated formulas often require a lot of soap to generate a modest amount of foam. If your product does not generate enough foam, it could take you much longer to wash your car.
Concentrated formulas in comparison are more expensive but tend to last longer. Concentrated formulas mean that you use a small amount of soap to get a decent amount of foam. This results in a quicker cleaning process.
A concentrated formula is often a more powerful cleaning agent than regular soaps. Therefore a concentrated formula is recommended for driver’s who require a heavy-duty cleaning soap. However, regular formulas remain a great and cost-effective option for drivers who live in a mild climate and only require a soap for general cleaning.
Below are the 3 categories of soap to use based on the task at hand:
- General-use shampoo – great for your weekly/monthly maintenance washes. Our Vehicle Wash is an excellent general-use shampoo. It won’t strip away any previous wax and/or sealant applications.
- Wash & wax shampoo – This shampoo is great when you want to top-off your wax protection, but don’t want to break out the full Karate Kid process. It’s a convenient way to wash & protect in one step. Our Wash+Wax shampoo is the perfect option.
- Strip shampoo – At certain times, you do want to strip everything from your car’s paint. You might need to compound or polish away scratches/imperfections, or maybe you want to apply a brand new coat of wax. Either way, it’s still important to use a soap that is formulated specifically for use on painted surfaces. JLG’s Clean Strip is ideal for use in this situation.
More advice for car washers
– Use chrome wheel cleaner on aluminum rims and the acidic content of the product could ruin them.
– Avoid using dish soap; you could damage the paint and/or strip off wax.
– Launder towels and mitts after each wash was to avoid dirt transfer.
– Keep a spray bottle of car wash soap on hand for touch-ups.
– Windex or other ammonia-based solutions can damage tinted windows.
– Use acid-free, pH-balanced products on metal surfaces like wheels.
– Use only the best car dusters – Don’t scrimp on price.
Frequently Asked Questions
The local car wash down the street isn’t doing your vehicle any favors. For the absolute best results, you’ll want to wash your car yourself by hand. A hand wash removes more dirt and grime while also reducing the potential for scratching.
The right equipment makes an important difference. Using our guide above to select the perfect car wash soap. When you chose the right car wash soap, your car will look better than ever!
The right car wash soap can be a powerful tool for you to enhance your car’s exterior as well as protect it from the general wear and tear that comes with driving. A regular car wash does more than keep your car clean, but it contributes to your car’s overall health.
A weekly or bi-weekly car wash can ensure that you remove all dirt and grime that could hinder your car’s performance. Dust and dirt that builds up over time can damage your car’s exterior and in extreme circumstances even erode the paint layer.
This is why it’s important to choose a gentle soap that won’t further damage your car’s protective barrier. Harsh ingredients, such as those found in regular dishwashing liquid can often strip your car of its wax sealant which exposes it more to the elements.
Other than regular washes, you should also take care to wax your car to enhance its protection against the elements. Many products offer a combined wash and wax action which saves you the time and money of buying and applying several products.
Regardless of your specific needs, our list of top rated products can address every car owner’s concerns and pocket.