10 Best Car Wash Soaps and Shampoos – Reviews & Buying Guide
It's easy to take your car to the car wash and get it cleaned by machines but if you are a true car lover like me, then you know it is best to give your car a hand-wash at least once a week.
For some people, washing a car by hand is a sign of love and dedication, while others find it very emotionally rewarding. Still, for lots of other car owners, washing by hand is also a way to save money.
No matter what prompts you to wash your car by hand, you'll need to get the right tools for the job, beginning with the best car wash soaps and shampoos for your ride.
This review focuses on providing you with a list of the best offers in the market, plus a buying guide and a full list of everything you need to give your automobile that high-quality personalized care.
- 10 Best Car Wash Soaps & Shampoos - Reviews
- 1. Meguiar's G7101FFP 1-Gallon Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo
- 2. Chemical Guys CWS_101 Maxi Suds II Car Wash Shampoo
- 3. Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax Car Wash Shampoo
- 4. Adam's Polishes Blue Car Wash Shampoo
- 5. 3M Auto Care 39000 Car Wash Shampoo
- 6. Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Car Wash Soap & Shampoo
- 7. Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash Soap & Shampoo
- 8. Turtle Wax T79 Car Wash Soap Plus Wax
- 9. Chemical Guys CWS_808_64 V7 Hybrid Car Wash Shampoo
- 10. Nanoskin NA-CSS640 Car Wash & Shine Shampoo
- Car Wash Soap & Shampoo Buying Guide
- Must-Have Items for Washing a Car
- How to Properly Clean your Car
10 Best Car Wash Soaps & Shampoos - Reviews
1. Meguiar's G7101FFP 1-Gallon Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo
1 oz / 1 Gal
2. Chemical Guys CWS_101 Maxi Suds II Car Wash Shampoo
1 oz / 5 Gal
3. Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax Car Wash Shampoo
4. Adam's Polishes Blue Car Wash Shampoo
2 oz / 5 Gal
5. 3M Auto Care 39000 Car Wash Shampoo
6. Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Car Wash Soap & Shampoo
1 oz / 5 Gal
7. Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash Soap & Shampoo
1 oz / Gal
8. Turtle Wax T79 Car Wash Soap Plus Wax
1 oz / Gal
9. Chemical Guys CWS_808_64 V7 Hybrid Car Wash Shampoo
2 oz / Gal
10. Nanoskin NA-CSS640 Car Wash & Shine Shampoo
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Meguiar is a well-known name when it comes to companies that make the best car wash soaps and this offer here is for 1 gallon of Meguiar's Gold Class washing solution with included conditioner.
Its soft and foamy lather makes it easy to pick out dirt with damaging the wax on the paint-job while the added conditioner helps in bringing out the best from your paint.
It's also foam cannon ready, although it's better suited for hand wash. Meguiar also offers it at an attractive price, which combines with its bio-degradable ingredients to make an all-around very attractive car wash shampoo.
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
In addition to being fully biodegradable, this offer from the Chemical Guys is available in either a cherry, a grape, or a strawberry Margarita scent.
You get a well-formulated car wash shampoo with lots of suds and which is ideal for a range of different cleaning situations. It is easy to use, does not strip your car's wax or any sealants, and it is ideal for both hand-wash and with power tools.
The Maxi Suds II is pH balanced and so, is gentle on your car parts and paint. You need just one ounce of the soap for 4 to 5 gallons of water and this makes it the best car wash shampoo for the money.
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Meguiar offers another top-rated car wash soap and shampoo here, with a clear coat safe carnauba and synthetic polymer technology to make your car look deep and glossy as though it has just been waxed.
This car shampoo is compatible with other Meguiar's waxes and soaps, making it versatile. It's also guaranteed pH neutral, so it won't hurt the wax, paint or anything else on your car.
You get an incredible suds-ing action, a nice tropical smell, and you can use it both in a bucket and with pressure washers. Simply use this formula to wash and wax your car at a go.
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Adam's Polishes has been around for some time, innovating and producing newer and better car wash formulas, like this one with all its interesting features.
The first thing you'll notice is the thick foam it produces, which also lasts for the entire period of the wash. In addition to that, it's gentle and pH balanced, making it safe for your paint-job and wax.
Although Adam's provides no dilution rate, all you need is just a few drops of this very concentrated formula. It's also biodegradable and includes polymers that produce a smooth after-wash feel.
Note: For only triple the price, you can get the 5-gallon offer and save money
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
3M Auto Care also makes good car wash soaps and shampoos, as this offer proves. Although it comes in a rather small 16-fl. Oz bottle, it's also available in a 55-gallon drum for commercial applications.
The formula is so concentrated that all you need is a few drops to create impressively thick and long-lasting suds. It's safe for clear coats and wax layers, plus it has a nice cherry scent.
On the flip side, it can easily cause swirls and water spots when not dried quickly. Still, this small bottle can last you for up to 30 washes.
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The Chemical Guys corporation is one of the companies that make the best car cleaning products. This time, they present Mr. Pink, a unique product with impressive features.
It leaves no residue, offers a slick and scratch-free washing experience, and it's pH neutral as well, making it safe for your car's tires, wax, wheel, and plastic parts.
Read More: 10 Best Wheel & Tire Cleaners
Mr. Pink features an advanced foaming technology that easily removes grime and dirt while being suitable for hand wash, foam guns, and foam cannons.
You can also get it in a smaller 4 fl. Oz bottle and in larger 64 and 128 fl. Oz bottles as well.
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
Here's another top-rated car wash soap and shampoo to take a look at. Although it comes in a medium-sized 48-oz bottle, it's also offered at an attractively low price.
ICE Car Wash is pH balanced, so you don't need to worry about your car's coats. Additionally, it produces a rich foam which loosens and cleans up grease and grime with ease.
The best part is after the wash when its conditioners help to give your car that freshly waxed look.
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
Waxing a car takes time to get it right, so anything that'll save you some time is always welcome. This Turtle Wax car soap does just that by including wax in its formula.
All you need to do is to wash and dry your car and it'll be looking great, thanks to the carnauba wax. It also foams really well, dries spot free and offers your car a lasting protection.
You can also use it on your boat, bike, windows, recreational equipment, and practically anything else that you would love to wash and shine.
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
If you are looking for the best car wash soap that'll give the most shine for your car, try out this formula from the Chemical Guys because it promises a high-gloss shine.
Of course, it'll remove dirt and grime and it rinses with no residue. It also comes with UV protection and is perfect for both bucket and gun or cannon wash.
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Nanoskin makes you an offer here that you can't refuse. The offer is for 5 gallons of its wash-and-shine shampoo at a ridiculously low price.
Unless you're after special features, this 5-gallon offer has everything you need, from simply washing away dirt and grease, to rinsing cleanly and not damaging your wax coats.
It's thick, very concentrated, smells good, and is great for both hand and automatic washing.
Car Wash Soap & Shampoo Buying Guide
Having decided to wash your car by hand, the next step is knowing exactly what you need and how to find it. This is because there are many car soaps out there with different formulas and features.
You'll need to know the most important of these features if you want to choose right. They are as follows:
#1. Types of Car Wash Soaps
Before anything else, you should know that there are roughly four different types of soaps that you can use to wash your vehicle and knowing them puts you in a better place to make the right choice. They are:
- Conventional Car Wash Soap. This is your plain car wash soap with no extras. It simply foams and helps you to get the dirt off your car. It might be scented or colored though.
- Car wash Soap with Conditioner. This second type of car wash soap includes a conditioner in addition to being a soap. This means that while it helps in washing your car, it also helps to condition its paint-work for the best shine.
- Car Wash Soap with Wax. Car detailing involves cleaning dirt from your car and additionally protecting the paint job with a layer of wax. This type of car soap comes with wax included, saving you the extra time to wax the car. All you need to do after washing is to simply dry it and it gets polished.
- No-Rinse Car Wash Soap. Another revolutionary and time-saving feature of auto wash soaps is the no-rinse feature. This means you use it on the car's surface to wash, and then skip the rinsing part and just buff the car clean and dry.
#2. Concentration & Dilution
Another important factor to pay attention to is the wash shampoo's concentration. This is because 1 gallon of concentrated soap wash is more valuable than 1 gallon of a diluted version of the same soap.
Since it's difficult to measure each car wash shampoo's concentration, the next best thing is to pay attention to the manufacturer's guidance on dilution. The more water you can dilute it with, the more concentrated it is and the longer it will last.
A good dilution ratio is 1 ounce of washing soap to 1 gallon of water. The more gallons of water that the manufacturer recommends for 1 ounce of soap, the better.
#3. Foaming Properties
Another important quality of a washing soap is the type of lather it makes. You want a soap that produces as thick and rich a lather, as possible because it's the lather that determines how effectively the soap will pick up dirt particles.
#4. pH Level
pH is a measure of alkalinity or acidity of a solution. You want a shampoo formula that is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, but still slightly alkaline.
This is because a slightly alkaline solution breaks up dirt easier. On the other hand, if the solution is too alkaline or acidic, then you run the risk of damaging your car's paint job.
If you care about the environment, then the good news is that 100% biodegradable car soaps are also available. This means that you can always clean your ride with a clean conscience, knowing that you're not hurting the environment.
#6. Water Spot & Streak Resistance
You'll find lots of car soaps that'll leave water spots and streaks after washing and you'll also find those that dry off quickly, leaving nothing behind. Keep a look out for this as well.
Different car wash soaps and shampoos come with different scents like lemon, berries, e.t.c. Your choice here is personal because it's only you that knows the kind of scent that you like or if you even prefer unscented soaps.
Must-Have Items for Washing a Car
Although this review is about the best car wash soaps and shampoos, it's necessary to also mention the other items that you'll need to wash your car by yourself. These items are as follows:
- Sponge. You need a sponge that's either made from microfiber, wool wash mitts, or from sheepskin. It should preferably be firm enough to clean the car but also soft enough not to scratch or damage the paint-job in any way.
- Brush. Although you could also use a sponge, a brush remains the best tool for washing your car's tires. Soft bristles don't work well, so go for a brush with medium-strength or hard bristles.
- Buckets. You'll need at least two buckets to wash a car effectively. The first bucket is for soapy water, while the second is for clear rinsing water.
- Drying Towel. There are different types of drying towels and their alternatives out there. These include superior drying chamois, water blades and squeegees for faster drying, and of course, microfiber and other types of towels for more precise cleaning.
- Wheel Cleaner. This one is optional because you can clean your wheels with ordinary soapy water, but you can also get a bottle of specially formulated spray-on wheel cleaners for more convenience and better results.
- Bug & Tar Remover. This is another optional item and it's only useful when you're neither waxing nor polishing your car. Just spray the bug and tar remover on your car, then wipe with a cloth to keep up its clean and glossy clear coat.
- Wax. If you love your car's paint job and you want to keep up that shine for as long as possible, then you'll need to wash it from time to time to protect the glossy top-coat from scratches that will dull its shine.
- Polish. If the top-coat does happen to get dull, then you'll need to polish the area. A polish is simply a very fine abrasive, which evens-out the tiny irregularities in your car's top-coat to bring back its shine.
How to Properly Clean your Car
Knowing how to properly clean your car to give it that perfect shine is a science and an art that you too can learn. If you want to get your car shining like a display room car, follow these steps the next time you want to wash it.
Step 1 - The Pre-Wash
Before starting with the wash, make sure the engine is cool and that the car isn't under a hot sun. If so, then you should first spray the entire car with ordinary water. This will help to get rid of loose dirt and make your job easier.
Step 2 - Wheels First
After spraying the entire car, you should first wash the four wheels and tires before the car body. This is because you don't want your wheel-wash solution splashing on your paint job and probably not getting washed off if you wash the wheels after the body.
Step 3 - The Right Mix
Before starting to wash the car, make sure to mix the soap according to the manufacturer's directions. This is important if you want to get the best results.
Step 4 - Use 2 Buckets
You'll need 2 buckets at the least, to properly clean your car and bring out the best of its paint-job. One bucket will contain the soap mix, while the second will contain clear, rinsing water. You could use a third for the tires if you feel like.
Step 5 - Wash & Rinse in Parts
Once you're all set up, start to wash and rinse the car in parts. You don't want the soap drying on the car, so try washing like a door or two at once, and then rinse the area off before washing a different area. You can use any sponge of your choice.
Step 6 - The Final Rinse & Drying
After washing and rinsing the car, you can now give it a general rinse with a hose, for instance. Next is the drying of the car. You should do this as quickly as possible and not let the water dry on the car. You can use any drying towel or blade of your choice.
Step 7 - Polish if Needed
If there's a part of our paint-job that has gotten scratches or lost its shine and you want to make it shine again, then feel free to polish that area now.
Step 8 - Wax for Protection
The last step for a perfect car cleaning session is waxing. Waxing is optional and offers no immediate visual improvement to your car's paint-job but it does protect the top-coat and helps with a longer shine.
Read More: 12 Best Car Waxes
We've come to the end of this best car wash soaps and shampoos review and you've hopefully been inspired by the different and interesting offers out there.
As you must have figured out by now, there's no single best car wash soap or shampoo. Rather, there are specific brands that will meet the specific needs of different car owners.
So, whether all you need is a super shine, or to protect your paint job, or simply the most cost-effective car wash soap you can lay your hands on, you are free to make your choice here.