10 Best Car Wash Soaps Reviewed & Rated in 2018

A clean and well-maintained car is not just easy on the eye but has plenty of benefits for the car owner as well. Regular car washes have been proven to enhance the value of your car, protect your car’s exterior to harsh elements such as hail, and can go a long way in ensuring that your car functions at optimal efficiency. You reap even more benefits when you opt to wash your car yourself instead of taking it to a car wash. By choosing to wash your car yourself, you can save a lot of money. More importantly, you have more power in choosing the products more specifically tailored to your car’s needs.

 

Featured Recommendations

Meguiar's G7164
  • Meguiar's G7164
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Price: See Here
Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64
  • Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Price: See Here
Armor All Ultra Shine
  • Armor All Ultra Shine
  • 4.1 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Price: See Here

A good car wash soap is the first step in giving your car the proper attention it deserves. However, the market has become so oversaturated with thousands of products that it can be a frustrating process to find the ideal car wash soap that addresses all your needs. When choosing a car wash soap, you should specifically consider the soap’s PH-balance as well as how much the soap foams.

Since a car wash soap is the first step in cleaning and protecting your car, it is vital that you choose one that most adequately addresses your needs. Below you’ll find some of the highest rating car wash soaps available that is sure to suit your car and pocket.

 

10 Best Car Wash Soaps

 

1. Meguiar's G7164

1. Meguiar's G7164
Meguiar's is a well-known and loved brand among car owners all over the world. 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.
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Washes and Conditions
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.

High Lubricity
This car soap offers a high lubricity formula which means that the soap itself is very slippery. This is an ideal feature of a car wash soap since all the dirt and grime will simply slide off and require less physical effort from you.

Cost and Value
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.
Pros

Washes and conditions the car in one easy step

Essential oils in the soap will enhance your car's color and clarity

High foaming soap formula is easy and gentle to use

Soap is biodegradable

Will not damage your skin or driveway

Cons

Soap has a strong scent

The bottle can get damaged easily

2. Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64

2. Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64
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.
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Advanced Foaming Technology
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.

Ideal For Two Bucket Method
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.


Cost and Value
This product is more expensive compared to other similar products on the market. However, the concentrated formula means that you’ll use a lot less soap. A single bottle may be more expensive but will likely last you much longer than other products.
Pros

Soap offers a lot of foam for easy cleaning

Concentrated formula

Neutral pH balance

Versatile formula - can be used on glass, metal, vinyl, plastic, etc

Smells great

Cons

Can leave water spots

Not effective for heavy-duty cleaning

3. Armor All Ultra Shine

3. Armor All Ultra Shine
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.
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Washes and Waxes
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.

Powerful Cleaner
The soap contains several ingredients that can take care of heavy-duty cleaning while still protecting the integrity of your car's exterior. The soap is safe to use on any surface.

Cost and Value
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.
Pros

Washes and Waxes

Gentle formula

Helps water to bead on your exterior

Can be used on any surface

Contains real carnauba wax

Cons

You need to use a lot of soap

Can leave streaks or water spots

4. Mother's 05674

4. Mother's 05674
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.
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All in One Soap
This soap formula is perfect for quick, effortless cleaning. The soap's gentle PH-balance protects the integrity of your car's exterior while added wax works to enhance your car's shine.

Concentrated Formula
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.


Cost and Value
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.
Pros

Reasonably priced

Biodegradable soap

Washes and waxes all in one

Neutral pH balance

Concentrated formula

Cons

Can leave water spots

Does not work well with foam blaster

5. Griot's Garage 10866

5. Griot's Garage 10866
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.
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Plenty of Foam
This formula provides a rich lather with plenty of foam. The high foam content is ideal for car soap since it makes washing easier for you. A high foam content means that dirt will come off easily and won't require hours of scrubbing.

Leaves a Streak-Free Finish
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.

Cost and Value
This soap is one of the cheaper options available on the market while still delivering on its promise. Since the formula is concentrated a little will go a long way.
Pros

Great smell

Does not leaves streaks or spots

Biodegradable

Provides a rich later for easy washing

Ph-balanced

Cons

Not effective for heavy-duty cleaning

The bottle can get damaged easily

6. Adam's NEW Car Wash

6. Adam's NEW Car Wash
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.
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Neutral pH Balance
Despite the soap's powerful performance, the formula 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.

Concentrated Formula
This soap formula is concentrated which provides a high foam content. Only a little soap is needed to work up into a rich and effective lather. A single bottle will last you a very long time.

Cost and Value
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.
Pros

Neutral pH Balance

Biodegradable

Does not leave streaks or soap residue

High-quality ingredients

Concentrated formula

Cons

Expensive

The soap's thick consistency can be difficult to pour effectively

7. Meguiar's G17748

7. Meguiar's G17748
This soap 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.
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Washes and Waxes
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.

High Foaming Capacity
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.

Cost and Value
This option is more expensive than other car wash soaps. However, the formula operates as both a washing and waxing agent. This means that you won't have to spend extra time and money on additional products.
Pros

Added polymers wax your car while you wash

Gentle, pH-neutral soap

High foaming capacity

Boosts car's exterior protection

Cons

Expensive

Can leave soap residue on your car

8. Turtle Wax T-472R ICE

8. Turtle Wax T-472R ICE
This soap 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.
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Smart Shield Technology
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.

Enhances Car's Appearance
The soap 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.

Cost and Value
This is one of the cheaper products available on the market. While you do need a considerable amount of soap to clean your car, the product is a great option for entry-level car enthusiasts.
Pros

Neutral pH balance

Adds protective barrier

Adds gloss to car

Foams well

Cons

Soap can leave marks

Foam disappears quickly

9. TriNova Car Wash Concentrate

9. TriNova Car Wash Concentrate
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.
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Concentrated Formula
This 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.

Versatile Formula
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.

Cost and Value
This soap is more expensive than other options available on the market. However, the concentrated formula means that you won't have to buy new soap regularly. In addition, most bottles of this product usually come with a free microfibre mitt.
Pros

Washes and conditions

Gentle pH-balanced formula

Works well with any washing technique

Concentrated formula

Cons

Expensive

Can leave streaks or water spots

10. Zymol Z530

10. Zymol Z530
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.
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Natural Ingredients
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.

Rich Foam
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.

Cost and Value
Compared to other products, Zymol is somewhat more expensive, yet not exorbitantly so. The higher price can likely be attributed to the product's list of entirely natural and sustainable ingredients as well as the fact that the soap is a concentrated formula.
Pros

Made from natural, sustainable ingredients

Concentrated formula

Gentle pH-balanced

Environmentally friendly

High foaming capacity

Cons

More expensive than other products

Not suitable for heavy-duty cleaning

 

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.

 

Criteria Used In Evaluation Of The Best Car Wash Soaps

 

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

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.

Biodegradable

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.

Protection

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.

Formula concentration

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.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is a car wash soap?

A: A car wash soap is a cleaning agent specifically designed to clean and protect your car. The ingredients in a good car wash soap have been carefully selected to clean your car without damaging its exterior and to enhance its appearance.

Q: Can I use a regular household soap?

A: No. Regular household soaps such as dishwashing liquid are too harsh to use for washing your car. Household soaps contain acidic or abrasive ingredients that can strip your car of its protective wax sealant. With prolonged use, general household soaps can damage your car’s paint and its metal body.

Q: How often should I wash my car?

A: Experts recommend washing your car once a week for optimum car health. Regular washes are important to protect your car’s exterior and can greatly add to your car’s performance. Moreover, regular washes will enhance your car’s value over time.

Consider washing your car more often if you do live in an area where your car gets dirty quicker, such as sandy or muddy areas.

Q: How much soap do I need to use per single wash?

A: This really depends on which car wash soap you use. To get the best results, you should follow the instructions on the bottle. Concentrated formulas will require less soap per gallon of water used compared to regular non-concentrated formulas.

Your diluted soap mixture should be very foamy and be able to lift dirt and grease off your car with ease. If your soap mixture feels inadequate, feel free to add a little bit more soap until you find your desired soap to water ratio.

Q: How do I wash my car?

A: Before washing your car you should ensure that your car is parked in a shaded area. Washing the car in direct sunlight could cause soap to dry quickly and leave streaks and grease behind that is difficult to remove. If you are unable to wash your car in a shaded area, be sure to frequently hose down your car so that the surface stays wet.

After parking your car in a shaded area. Hose down your car to remove all loose dirt and pieces of debris. You should then continue with the washing method that you feel most comfortable with.

If using the two-bucket wash method, you should fill one bucket with clean water and the second with your soap solution. Start at the top of your car and using a soft mitt of washing cloth, wash the car using your soap solution. Use the second bucket of water for rinsing.

If you are using a foam gun you should fill your machine’s reservoir with soap and water and then continue to wash your car using the foam gun.

After washing your car, you should not forget to clean the tyres and beneath your car before drying.

Q: Which technique is better for washing my car?

A: Both techniques work well and depend on your preference and available gear. The two-bucket method is great for people who prefer having more control over the physical washing process. However, foam guns are somewhat more efficient since they create a richer foam which translates to quicker and easier washing.

However, a foam gun is not essential for a good car wash. You can just as easily get a clean car from using the more traditional bucket method.

Q: Is car wash soap safe to use on matte or enamel finishes?

A: Most car wash soaps from reputable manufactures should be gentle enough to use on special finishes such as matte or enamel. A good quality car wash soap will not damage your car’s finish or detailing in any way.

If this does concern you, look for a product that has a neutral pH balance these soaps don’t contain any acidity which could potentially have an abrasive effect on your car’s finish.

Q: Can the added wax in a car wash soap leave a greasy residue?

A: Certain products that claim to act as a dual wash and wax agent, the added wax often undermines the product’s cleaning capabilities. This often leads to a greasy residue and streaks left behind on your car after rinsing. If you are looking for a car wash that also acts as a wax, be sure to always buy a good quality soap from a reputable manufacturer where the ingredients are balanced to prevent any greasy film or streaks.

Also make sure to wash your car in the shade, to keep it wet while washing, and to dry it properly after rinsing. This will ensure a streak-free finish.

Q: Can I use the car wash soap on the interior or my car?

A: Since car wash soaps have been formulated to be very gentle, they are safe enough to use on the interior of your car. You can safely use your diluted car soap formula and a soft cloth or chamois to gently clean fixtures on the inside of your car. Be sure to vacuum your car before cleaning it with your soap solution.

Q: What equipment do I need to wash my car?

A: The equipment you need to clean your car will largely depend on which method you decide to use.

For the two-bucket washing method, you’ll need a hose, two large buckets, car wash soap, two separate sponges or soft cleaning cloths, a wheel brush, and a towel for drying.

For the foam gun method, you’ll need soap, water, your foam gun, a hose, and a towel for drying.

Additional equipment you may need for either method includes a wheel brush, vacuum for the interior, glass cleaner, squeegee, and any additional products you may need such as wax, etc.

Q: How do I dry the car after washing it?

A: Use a soft towel or chamois cloth to gently dry off residual water after the wash. Instead of rubbing harshly over your car’s exterior, use the towel or chamois to gently pat your car dry. Take care to dry your car gently to prevent any accidental scratches.

Air drying is not an efficient drying method since this can leave streaks or water spots on your car. Take the time to manually dry your car instead.

Q: Can I use other car care products in addition to the car wash soap?

A: Yes, you can! Even though several products contain added wax, you can still add your own wax product after washing your car. Other products you can use include dashboard and trim cleaners, glass cleaners, and special products to clean up your rims.

When buying additional products, make sure that the ingredients in your car wash soap respond well to the ingredients in your added products. The best way to do this is to buy products from the same manufacturer.

Q: Do I need to use a wax separately if my soap already contains a wax?

A: This really depends on the kind of product you use. Generally speaking, soaps which contain added waxes or polymers are great for a quick wash and wax but are not a long-term solution. If you are using a combined wash and wax product, you should be prepared to use an additional wax every few washes just to ensure that your car’s protective wax sealant remains in place.

When choosing a wax, try buying a wax from the same manufacturer as your car soap. Often their products have been designed to work together.

Sources

  1. Meineke – Can You Use Dish Soap to Wash A Car?
  2. WikiHow – The Best Ways to Wash a Car By Hand
  3. Chemical Guys – Soaps & Car Wash Products