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Best Car Wash Soap - v2

You don't want to use just any soap to clean your car. The best car wash soaps are formulated to be used on paint and clear coats so you can protect your investment while making it look good. Normal soaps like dish detergent are designed for grease and could actually strip the coating from your vehicle, so it's important to choose the right product. Keep reading to find out which car wash soaps impressed our expert review team.

 

In this article:

 


 

Best Car Wash Soaps

 

Our Review Standards

The car wash soaps in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for their top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price. 

The five products that best met these standards were ordered by our team for testing. A team member tested each product on a car, looking at how well the product foamed, what it smelled like, how much of the product had to be mixed with water, what its pH level was, and if it left behind any water spots. Each soap was given a rating out of five stars based on this criteria, which helped rank the products in the order you see here.

 


 

#1 Best Overall: Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax

 
 

Meguiar’s car wash soap received the highest ranking by our team because of its reasonable price and dual-function formula. You can get a gallon of this product for about $30, and because you only need one or two ounces to clean your car, you will get dozens of washes out of it.

That $30 becomes even more reasonable when you consider that you’re getting both a car wash and a car wax at the same time.

Key Features

  • Comes as a 48-ounce or 1-gallon container
  • 1 ounce of soap for 1 gallon of water
  • pH neutral
  • Chemical citrus smell
  • Sudsing formula
  • Soap and wax combination

Our Experience

  • pH Level: This product has a neutral pH, which means that it shouldn’t have any acidity in it to corrode car paint. After using it on our team member’s car, we agree with Meguiar’s pH rating, since we didn’t notice any damage.
  • Scent: This soap had a slightly chemical and slightly citrusy odor. It smells like the company tried to cover up the chemicals with a citrus smell, but didn’t fully succeed.
  • Concentration: We used a two-gallon bucket to wash our car, but only put one ounce of product in. While this is half the recommended amount, it still foamed and cleaned well. We liked how the instructions told you that one ounce is four capfuls so that we didn’t have to guess how many capfuls to put in.
  • Foaming Ability: Even though we used less than the recommended amount, this product still produced a lot of suds. Almost two-thirds of the bucket was suds with the remaining space at the bottom being water.
  • Water Spot and Streak Resistance: This is the only product that didn’t leave any water spots or water streaks on our vehicle. Because of its soap and wax formula, it left our car looking shiny and new.
  • Our Score: We gave this product a score of 4.75 stars out of 5. It received full points for water spot and streak resistance, foaming ability, concentration, and pH level. However, we took off a quarter of a point for its slightly chemical smell.

What Customers Are Saying

This product received an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 after about 580 customers reviewed it. Its score remained the same after adding in reviews from other e-commerce websites, which means its Amazon score is 0.1 stars above the Amazon average for all five products, but its overall score is equal to the overall average for all products across all websites.

Most customers liked this product because of how slowly it dried. They said that this slower dry time allowed you to rinse off the product before it dried and left water spots on your car. They also liked how much the product foamed. There were only a handful of customers that rated this product below 4 stars. However, the few that did said that they didn’t think it left their cars shinier than they would have been with a non-wax car soap.

 


 

#2 Best Suds Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap And Shampoo

 
 

This car wash soap is a best seller on Amazon because of its effectiveness. Its high-suds formula helps to easily lift dirt particles from the car, which cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend scrubbing.

This soap also has a cherry odor, which masks the scent of any of the chemicals used in the formula.

Key Features

  • Comes as a 16-ounce, 64-ounce, or 1-gallon container
  • 1 cap of soap for 1 gallon of water
  • pH neutral
  • Cherry smell
  • Sudsing formula
  • Slick formula for scratch prevention
  • No residue

Our Experience

  • pH Level: This product is also pH neutral, which prevented paint corrosion on our vehicle.
  • Scent: Our team didn’t mind the smell of this product. We thought it smelled like the cherry cough syrup that was a household staple during childhood.
  • Concentration: After following the proper ratio, barely any of the product was used. This means that you will easily get dozens of car washes out of this soap.
  • Foaming Ability: The “super suds” description in its title accurately describes this product’s foaming ability. It easily filled the bucket with suds after two capfuls of soap.
  • Water Spot and Streak Resistance: We agreed with the customers who complained about it leaving behind streaks. The product often dried before we had a chance to rinse it off, and even when we rinsed it off after drying, it still left marks on the car.
  • Our Score: This product received a rating of 4.5 stars from us. It got full points for concentration, scent, pH level, and foaming ability, but we took off half a point because of water streaks.

What Customers Are Saying

Over 5,500 Amazon customers reviewed this product and gave it an average rating of 4.7 stars. Its score increased to 4.8 stars after including reviews from other leading e-commerce companies. This makes its Amazon score equal to the Amazon average, and its overall score equal to the overall average.

Customers complimented this product’s smell and its ability to foam. They also said that even though this product isn’t a soap and wax combo, it still left the car shiny as if it did have wax in it. However, there were some complaints about the soap leaving water streaks because the product dried before customers could rinse it off.

 


 

Highest Concentration: Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap And Cleanser

 
 

A little of this car wash soap goes a long way. While other soaps require one ounce of product to one gallon of water, this one require one ounce of product to five gallons of water, which cuts down on how often you have to buy more soap.

This soap is also safe on all of the surfaces of your car, which means it will clean the glass of the windows and the paint on the body.

Key Features

  • Comes as a 16-ounce, 64-ounce, or 1-gallon container
  • 1-2 ounces of soap for 5 gallons of water
  • pH neutral
  • Melon smell
  • Sudsing formula
  • Safe on all car surfaces, including paint, rubber, vinyl, and glass

Our Experience

  • pH Level: Its pH-neutral formula didn’t cause any paint corrosion on our car.
  • Scent: The soap’s title said it was honeydew-scented, which we agree with. The melon smell wasn’t strong either, which means it is perfect for a car owner with a sensitivity to smells.
  • Concentration: This product went a lot farther than the other ones. We used a two-gallon bucket, which meant that we needed less than an ounce of product to get the right soap-to-water ratio.
  • Foaming Ability: The foaming ability of this product was similar to that of the other Chemical Guys soap. After putting in less than a cap of product, the bucket filled with suds.
  • Water Spot and Streak Resistance: Like with the other soap from Chemical Guys, our vehicle dried with streaks on it. This isn’t surprising considering that these two soaps likely have similar formulas.
  • Our Score: We gave this product the same rating as the other Chemical Guys soap. It received full points in all categories except water spot and streak resistance, giving it an overall score of 4.5 stars.

What Customers Are Saying

Over 3,000 Amazon customers gave this product a score of 4.6 stars. While this is 0.1 stars below the Amazon average, its score increased to 4.8 with reviews from other websites, making its overall score equal to the overall average.

Customers liked how well this product foamed. They said it worked best in a foam gun, and it only required one or two capfuls to wash their entire car. They also liked the fruity smell. However, some customers said that the soap required a lot of scrubbing when their cars were really dirty.

 


 

#4 Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo

 
 

This car wash soap comes in several sizes on its own or in a car wash kit. If you’re new to DIY car washing, you can purchase the soap with a bucket and glove so that you have all of the necessary tools. If you regularly wash your car and already have the tools, you can buy the soap on its own in three different sizes.

This soap has both a sudsing and slick formula, which allows the dirt particles to be easily picked up without scratching your car’s paint.

Key Features

  • Comes as a 16-ounce, 1-gallon, or 5-gallon container
  • Option to purchase it in a kit with a bucket and glove
  • 1-2 ounces of soap for 2 gallons of water
  • pH neutral
  • Grape smell
  • Sudsing formula
  • Slick formula for scratch prevention
  • Safe on all car surfaces, including paint, rubber, vinyl, and glass

Our Experience

  • pH Level: Like the other soaps in this review, this one has a neutral pH to protect the car’s paint.
  • Scent: This product had a fruity smell like the Chemical Guys ones. However, this one smelled like grape instead of melon or cherry.
  • Concentration: While we didn’t have to use more of this product to clean our car, we found the instructions confusing. The instructions say you need one or two ounces of product for a bucket. However, it doesn’t specify how big the bucket is or what one ounce looks like with the squirt applicator. We ended up putting two long squirts of soap into our two-gallon bucket, and it cleaned well.
  • Foaming Ability: After putting in two squirts of product, the bucket was about half full of water and half full of suds.
  • Water Spot and Streak Resistance: While our car still had some water spots and streaks after washing with this soap, the streaks were smaller and less prevalent than the ones from the Chemical Guys soaps.
  • Our Score: We gave this product a score of 4.25 stars. We took off half a point for concentration because of the instructions and a quarter of a point for water spot and streak resistance because of the few water streaks.

What Customers Are Saying

Close to 500 customers gave this product 4.8 stars, which is 0.1 stars above the Amazon average. After including reviews from other e-commerce retailers, its score remained the same, making its overall score equal to the overall average.

Customers liked how thick the suds were and said that you could spray it on with a foam gun, and the suds would stay in place until you got around to scrubbing with a sponge or towel. They also said that it doesn’t leave water spots if the soap dries on the car before you get to rinsing it off. Some customers complained about the price, and said that it was more expensive than similar products.

 


 

#5 Armor All Car Wash

 
 

The Armor All Car Wash is the most affordable soap in this review. It comes in a 24-ounce bottle, and because you only need one ounce of soap per gallon of water, you can get a dozen or more washes for less than $10.

This car wash soap is also safe on all paint finishes, which means you don’t have to worry about paint corrosion.

Key Features

  • Comes as a 24-ounce container
  • 1 ounce of soap for 1 gallon of water
  • Chemical smell
  • Sudsing formula
  • Safe on all paint finishes
  • No spots or streaks

Our Experience

  • pH Level: This is the only provider in the review that didn’t specify the pH level of its soap. However, we didn’t have issues with paint corrosion, so we believe this soap is neutral like the rest of them.
  • Scent: This product had the worst scent out of the soaps in this review. It smelled strongly of chemicals with no fruity scent to cover it up.
  • Concentration: Like the Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys Mr. Pink, and Adam’s car wash soaps, this one required about one ounce per gallon of water, leaving enough product to use for several car washes in the future.
  • Foaming Ability: Like other customers mentioned, if you wanted more foam, you had to use a little more of the product. We put an extra half an ounce in the bucket to get it to foam like the other soaps in this review.
  • Water Spot and Streak Resistance: A few streaks were left on the car after the car wash, but were only noticeable because we looked for them.
  • Our Score: This product received the lowest score of 4 stars out of 5. We took off a quarter of a point each for the lack of specification on pH level and for the water streaks. The biggest hit to this soap’s score was its chemical smell, which decreased its rating by half a point.

What Customers Are Saying

This product received an average rating of 4.6 stars after about 400 customers rated it. This is 0.1 stars below the Amazon average, but its score increased to 4.8 stars with reviews from other websites, making it equal to the overall average.

Customers liked how affordable this car wash soap was in comparison to other big brands, like Chemical Guys. They said that it cleaned off dirt and grime and left the car shiny. There were mixed reviews about its resistance to streaking. Some customers said it left streaks all over their cars, while others said that it didn’t if you rinsed it off before it dried. There were also some complaints about needing more of the soap to get it to properly foam.

 


 

Buying A Car Wash Soap: Factors To Consider


Take a look at the factors we looked at when testing the car wash soaps above.

pH Level

The pH level of your car wash soap determines its acidity or alkalinity. A soap that is too acidic or too basic will corrode your car’s paint job, which means a neutral soap is best.

Scent

If you are sensitive to odors, this factor will be an important one to consider. You’ll want to avoid the soaps that have a strong, chemical smell, and opt for the ones that are odorless or have a fruity smell.

Concentration

Each car wash soap will have instructions on the correct soap-to-water ratio. A soap with a highly concentrated formula will require more water and less soap in the mixture, allowing the bottle to last for more car washes.

Foaming Ability

A soap that produces a thick foam will be more efficient at getting the dirt particles off of your car. This cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend scrubbing the car and decreases the risk of scratching your paint.

Water Spot and Streak Resistance

Some car wash soaps leave behind water spots or water streaks which makes your car look like it is still dirty. To keep this from happening, opt for a car wash soap that advertises a no-streak formula.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I wash my car?

Here is a step-by-step guide for washing your car:

Can I use dish soap or dishwasher detergent to wash my car?

You should not use either to wash your car. Dish soap contains chemicals that could eat away at the wax and paint on your car, and dishwasher detergent contains grit to help scrub the food off of your dishes, which will chip your car’s paint. You should only use soap designed to clean vehicles.

Do bird droppings damage a car’s paint?

Yes. Bird droppings can be acidic, which will burn through the car’s paint. It will initially damage the clear layer, leaving a dull spot, but if you leave it there long enough, it will penetrate the paint all the way down to the metal. Bird droppings may also contain grit, which can scratch your paint.

How often should you wash a car?

Experts recommend washing your car once every two weeks. However, there are some car owners who wash their car every week. If your car is exposed to irregular dirt or debris, like road salt or bird droppings, you should wash your car immediately to prevent any damage.