When it comes to washing your car, you’ll want to invest in a proper best car wash shampoo. Stay away from using soap like dish detergent, since those are designed to fight grease, which means it will strip your wax or any other protective coating from your car.
Car shampoos are specially formulated to be used on paint surfaces and clear coat, with added lubrication so dust and grime glide right off when you’re washing.
There are dozens of options for car wash soaps in the market, so if you’re having a tough time deciding, we’ve got you covered.
Top 10 best car wash shampoo
What do you look for in a car wash soap? Lets find out together!
1. Autoglym BSC500US Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner
Auto Express’ 2019 test winner – this two-in-one is like Head and Shoulders for your motor. You can buy a bigger 2.5l bottle if you’ve got the storage space with this offering even better value. But you don’t need a lot of Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, since its concentrated.
A pH neutral formula, this car shampoo breaks down grease and grime, leaving a water repellent finish.
It’s suitable for all paint types, including matte finishes and the suds wash away easily, drying to a respectable shine. This little 500ML should do you for around 25 washes.
2.Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Shampoo & Superior Surface Cleaning Soap
It is our top all-around pick. It’s specially formulated by a company that uses advanced technology to help both expert detailers and car enthusiasts make their cars shine and glisten. Featuring a pH-neutral formula that delivers a gentle wash, this car shampoo is safe to use every week for regular maintenance.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s too soft—this car shampoo can remove grime, build-up, and dirt with its premium super polymers inside the soapy bubbles. It’s also incredibly slick, which ensures you’ll enjoy a scratch-free washing experience and keep your car in its best possible shape. Though it doesn’t give your windows a brilliant shine, this shampoo rinses clean and rarely leaves a residue behind.
3. Diamondbrite DB 21 Car Shampoo
This fully biodegradeable shampoo made from vegetable oils gives off a sweet citrus smell. In much the same way as Autoglym’s Shampoo Conditioner, it adds a finish as it washes – which makes it ideal for our test’s emphasis on a dry panel after rinsing. Diamondbrite Shampoo was a touch behind our winner, but the panel had only a few drops left for a microfibre drying cloth to remove. The big pack keeps the cost per wash down to a reasonable 24p per bucket.
4. Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo
Adam’s tends to name its products with quite generic descriptions, but don’t let that fool you; the company sells some great stuff. And in our car wash shampoo testing, the best overall wash came with Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo. The suds, the slickness and even the scent are all fantastic. Regardless of how you use it, whether it’s a simple hand wash, a foam lance or foam gun, this car wash soap hits all the marks.
5. Meguiar’s Ultimate Car 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.
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.
6. Gtechniq W1 G Wash 250ml
Whilst many car cleaning manufacturers have a range of various car shampoo, Gtechniq has focussed on perfecting a single shampoo product – and they’ve done a great job.
Gtechniq G Wash might slip under the radar of a lot of car cleaning enthusiasts when it comes to car cleaning shampoo, but it’s a very performant all-round car cleaning shampoo. Hence why it’s deemed the best choice in this article.
Gtechniq G Wash is a shampoo with great cleaning ability – offering a gentle yet effective clean on all levels of dirt and grime. On a well-maintained car, you may only need to use a few capfuls, making it economical to use every week. For a very dirty car, Gtechniq recommended using 4 capfuls to increase the strength of the shampoo.
In terms of foaming, G Wash is a high foaming shampoo which shows all the characteristics of a go-to shampoo for regular washes on your vehicle. This shampoo not only foams well but it has the level of lubrication you’d expect from such a shampoo.
If you wash your car regularly (weekly or fortnightly) then shampoo with lots of lubrication is essential, as this will reduce swirl marks and scratches on the paint – increasing the longevity of the gloss on your car.
Of course, G Wash is a pH neutral shampoo meaning that it won’t degrade any existing waxes or sealants on the surface of the paint. Gtechniq recommends this product as a maintenance shampoo on their ceramic coating. So you can be confident that it will help to maintain any wax, sealant or ceramic finishes on your car.
The slick feel of Gtechniq G Wash, combined with the fantastic cherry fragrance makes this a very enjoyable shampoo to use. It cleaning ability makes it a great all-round shampoo for all levels of car cleaning.
We believe that G Wash is one of the best all-round shampoos on the market at the moment.
7. Power Maxed CSUW5000 Concentrate Car Wash Shampoo and Wax
Power Maxed made the top four in our test with an excellent performance. It really lived up to the Ultra Wax part of its name and quickly shifted water from the car’s bodywork. It was a little behind the Autoglym product here, but left very little water behind. The bottle is large, and with a per-use price of 22p, the cost is small.
8. Bilt Hamber Auto Wash Car Shampoo
There are concentrated car shampoos, and there is the Bilt Hamber Auto Wash. In terms of cleaning power, this car shampoo is one of the best. But the highly-concentrated formula is simply amazing. How so? You only need 5 millilitres of the Bilt Hamber Auto Wash to fill a medium-sized bucket of water with smooth and rich foam.
Now, speaking about the foam. The other car shampoos in this list produced thicker bunches of foam compared to the Bilt Hamber. I even tried increasing the concentration of shampoo, but to be honest, it didn’t have a huge effect on the overall outcome.
This definitely isn’t the foamiest car shampoo to be quite honest. But what puzzles me is how the product manages to deliver a higher level of lubricity and cleaning power despite the absence of thicker foam.
This car shampoo contains no colourants, perfumes, thickeners, or waxes. What you get is a pure concentrate of powerful surfactants that can gently lift away dirt and contaminants without stripping off wax and sealant.
Would I use for my maintenance wash? Maybe not, but if you’re looking for your first wash in a few weeks or months and especially over winter, the Bilt Hamber Auto Wash really starts to come into its own.
9. Nu Finish Car Wash by Nu Finish
If you park your car outside and frequently notice tree sap, bugs or bird poop dirtying your paintwork, you need to try Nu Finish Car Wash Soap. This liquid is made from pure orange oil rather than harsh cleaners. However, it does a wonderful job at breaking down the natural but tough to clean substances listed above. It also won’t damage the wax or polish on the car’s exterior. Plus, this orange-based cleaner smells great while you’re hand washing your car.
10. ValetPRO Advanced Poseidon Car Wash
This is another popular choice of car shampoo in Britain because it is affordable and offers a high-quality finish. One of the best things about this particular product is that it’s very good at giving a car a noticeably shiny finish once it has been used.
How to choose best car wash shampoo
#1 | Always buy pH balanced car wash soap.
It may not sound like much to the everyday consumer, but it can make all the difference in quality results. A pH balanced car wash soap will ensure the surface remains at a neutral pH of 7 while other, more caustic, cleaners will leave a basic or acidic surface. Car wash soaps with heavy solvents (usually these are the least expensive) can even strip your surface clear of a pre-existing sealant. Do your car’s finish a favor, stick with a pH balanced soap.
#2 | Search for a heavy-foaming formula.
Foam is an underrated aggressor when it comes to cleaning your car, and most people don’t realize that it can do a lot of the cleaning for you. Essentially, foam loosens all the dirt, grease, and grime that has built up on your car since your last wash. Loosening these contaminants means an easier wash for you and a safer wash for your car’s finish. Foam also adds to a safer car wash by providing lubrication for your wash pad and/or body brush. You may want to grab a foam-gun hose attachment, too… they are well worth the small investment.
#3 | Avoid ‘waterless,’ ‘2-in-1 wax,’ and ‘deep clean’ product claims.
I’ve already covered why waterless car washes are a complete joke. A ‘2-in-1 wash & wax’ simply does not exist in the same product if you want more than one week’s protection. As covered in tip #1, ‘deep clean’ promises usually are bad for your finish and can be highly caustic (either acidic or basic). Stick with what you know works and don’t buy into gimmicks.
#4 | Consider the manufacturer.
Not all car care product manufacturers are created equal. A lot of the big names are simply chemical redistribution companies for bigger names like Dow Chemical, for example. While they do have great prices, they don’t always have the highest quality products. It comes down to ingredients and attention to detail, where more boutique manufacturers can provide better results in almost every aspect product development. More time with the products = better results… simple as that.
When shopping for the best car wash shampoo, your best bet is to get as much information on the product you want before you buy it. If a “super cleaning” car soap doesn’t tell you it’s pH level, promises unmatched results, and claims to revolutionize the way you wash your car… I’d keep looking. The best car wash soap will compliment proper car wash procedure by being pH balanced, biodegradable, and having a heavy-foam formula. While you’re searching, it doesn’t hurt to see what others are saying; a lot of products have terrible user experiences (smelly hands, dried out skin, etc.) and people are vocal about them. So before you buy, it’s always a good idea to search for reviews or check out what previous customers have to say about the product.