Best Car Wash Soaps Reviews (2020)

Posted: 11 December 2015


8 best rated car wash detergents for 2020

Top 5 best car wash soaps and shampoos

One of the best methods to washing your car, is called the two-bucket system.

Washing a car is not only therapeutic for your state of mind but also, an excellent way to keep your vehicle in top visual shape.

From the day you receive your vehicle, whether it was brand new or used, it most likely looked best at that time. In order to maintain that look, frequent washing is highly recommended to ensure your clear coat and paints are protected properly

Quite often, we can get confused as to what can be used on a vehicle’s paint. Using household cleaning agents like dish soap, hand soap, dishwashing detergents, or even glass cleaner for that matter, all of these products are NOT designed for use on automotive paint.

While those products work in the appropriate areas, using them on automotive paints can strip away wax and eventually eat into the paint.

The KEY to using a car shampoo is to get thick, foamy suds. This acts like a soft lubricant between you and the vehicle’s paint. As the car soap is laying on the vehicle’s paint, it will begin to lift away dirt, grime, grease, dust, tree sap, bug guts, etc.

By picking the best car wash soap, you’re essentially giving your vehicle the least abrasive way to be thoroughly cleaned.

**In our complete line-up of the 5 best car wash soaps to get, we picked: Zymol Natural Concentrate Auto Bath Soap, Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash, Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner, Green Clean Automotive – Car Shampoo Superior, Mothers California Gold Car Wash

Main considerations for car shampoos

Quantity + cost

An important aspect that many of us have to take into consideration, especially when buying a premium car wash shampoo is, how much am I paying, and how much am I getting.

You’d probably hate to buy a 15 dollar bottle of shampoo which only gives you enough for a few car washes. We picked the top car wash agents which give you a fairly large quantity, for a reasonable price.

Features + average user satisfaction

When you narrow it down to what most automotive shampoos do, it won’t be much. The key features which we are looking for are SUDS, SUDS and MORE SUDS. On top of that, automotive shampoos that will not strip away wax and be safe for use on any exterior surface is absolutely crucial.

While testing the top picks is one way to determine their effectiveness, but what experience does everyone else have with them? That’s an important factor which was taken into consideration for picking our 5 car shampoos.

Quantity + cost


Rule of thumb when diluting any given automotive soap (unless highly concentrated), is to add 1 oz of soap to 1 gallon of water. E.G. 5-Gallon bucket will include around 5 oz of your selected car detergent.

Rule of thumb when diluting any given automotive soap (unless highly concentrated), is to add 1 oz of soap to 1 gallon of water. E.G. 5-Gallon bucket will include around 5 oz of your selected car detergent.

Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Shampoo & Conditioner

Meguiar’s is without a doubt, a popular automotive car brand. Whether you’re looking at some of their best car waxes, orbital buffers, cloth’s, leather conditioner, additional accessories and soaps in this instance, you’ll see cost is intended to affordable by nearly everyone.

When we look at Meguiar’s Gold Class shampoo, you’ll get half a gallon of this specialty automobile soap (64 oz) for under 10 dollars. In the case that you’re using the two bucket system to wash your vehicle, a 5-gallon bucket filled with water will take approximately 5 ounces of this gold liquid.

To sum it up, you’ll have enough soap to perform 10-12 thorough washes. (Good quantity for the cost).

View on Amazon

Zymol Natural Concentrate Auto Bath Soap

Zymol is different in many ways. First and foremost, they specialize in higher-end products such as waxes and upholstery cleaners. Their Natural Concentrate Auto Bath is a premium automotive soap without the premium price.

One of the main reasons we chose this car wash soap is the overwhelming good user satisfaction rates and the bang for the buck you get.

About 10 dollars gets you approximately 48 oz of this product. Using the average ratio of 5 oz for every 5 gallons of water used, it can last you on average, about 9 thorough washes.

View on Amazon

Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash

With all of its products originating from United States, Griots Garage is serious business. Their products aren’t the cheapest by any stretch, but that’s primarily because they often times deliver extraordinary results.

When we look at Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash, you’ll see it costs just a bit more than Zymol and Meguiar’s mentioned above. However, even for that price, you are getting 64 oz of this soap, giving you enough for 10-12 thorough car washes.

This shampoo shines with its features and average user satisfaction, we’ll get to that in a bit.

View on Amazon

Green Clean Automotive Car Shampoo Superior

Green Clean Automotive’s car wash shampoo is catered towards those that take into consideration, the impact average automotive detergents have on the eco-system. With only a handful of products available for the general public from Green Clean Automotive, it looks like they have been able to satisfy nearly every single customer (literally).

This automotive shampoo comes in a 16 oz bottle which again, works properly when applied 1oz to every 1 gallon of water. While the cost is around 20 dollars for the entire bottle, pricey for only 16 oz of soap, you get a potent soap and environmental friendliness to ease your mind.

Below, we listed the main important features and just how satisfied an average user really is.

View on Amazon

Mothers California Gold Car Wash

When it comes down to two competitors with nearly identically performing products, its Mothers vs Meguiars. Mothers car care products are available at nearly every automotive outlet, offering anything from waxes, headlight restoration kits, clay bars, quick detail spray and much more.

Looking at Mothers Gold Car Wash (notice how Meguiar’s also has a gold car wash), you’re looking at paying around 11 dollars for a fairly large quantity of 64 oz. Using the two bucket car wash system, expect to get 10-12 washes from this entire jug.

View on Amazon

Features + average user satisfaction


It’s recommended to use a high-quality pressure washer to wash off every bit of car soap (to avoid any soap spots during drying).

Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Shampoo & Conditioner

Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo is undoubtedly, one of the best selling products on their shelves. While the majority of its users are do-it-yourself ers from all over, professional detailers also  choose to use this soap.

The major reasons as to why it is such a beloved product is: the price, quantity, a concentrated formula which creates a TON of soapy suds, excellent at lifting surface dirt, and lastly being its ability to condition the paint.

100% wax safe also!

View on Amazon

Zymol Natural Concentrate Auto Bath Soap

Zymol is most likely a company you won’t see often in a local automotive store. Their specialty is high-end, carbon automotive waxes.

When you open this bottle of shampoo, you’ll quickly begin to smell a very pleasing coconut scent. With the natural oils added into this soap, you’ve got a good formula for developing thick layers of suds and more protection from abrasive swirl marks.

Idea for using a foam cannon to get those suds spread all over, it’s completely okay to use this soap on higher-end vehicles.

When it comes down to overall user satisfaction, it’s quite impressive. From our experience, its one of the best car soaps you can get your hands on (especially for the money).

View on Amazon

Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash

Griot’s Garage is a brand that speaks loud to automotive enthusiasts. From garage queen polishing gear heads, to professional detailers, Griot’s Garage products are more serious on results than Meguiar’s and Mothers, combined.

Griot’s Garage’s Brilliant Wash consists of a high viscosity detergent, producing high density of suds, with a proper pH balance (excellent for clear coats and waxes), biodegradable properties, and an EXCELLENT bang for the buck.

View on Amazon

Green Clean Automotive Car Shampoo Superior

Any kind of shampoos, for the most part, are made up of various chemicals and detergents. The environment doesn’t find the majority of shampoos to be too friendly either, however it’s a bit different with Green Clean Automotive’s Car Shampoo.
Especially good if you live in a state where eco-friendliness is a higher priority (California for instance). This automotive soap work well at creating a thick lather on your vehicles paint, making it much easier to wash and reduce scratches in the process.

The overall value is quite good, for about 16 oz you’ll be looking at paying about 20 dollars. With this car shampoo, you don’t have to use much to create a TON of suds. Props to this product for its ease of use, and spot free drying.

View on Amazon

Mothers California Gold Car Wash

A good overall value for practically anyone, Mothers California Gold car wash is a good addition to your arsenal of automotive detailing chemicals. The pH formula makes it safe on any exterior section of your vehicle (including trim), and it will not strip away wax.

It lathers up quite well, removing bug remains, sediments, and mud with minimal effort to your part. A nice bonus is that it also dries without leaving any water spots.

View on Amazon

Best bang for the buck


When it comes down to the best bang for the buck, we’re looking at the overall cost and quantity you’re getting. While not being the BEST performing shampoo on the market, this one we picked will serve you quite well.

The Meguiar’s Gold Class car shampoo takes this spot as the best bang for the buck you can get. Meguiar’s is such a big automotive care company, their products are practically in every store that has a car care section.

If you’d like to grab a 64oz bottle of their liquid shampoo for under 10 dollars, view their official Amazon page.

View on Amazon


Best of the best



It’s not easy finding the best car shampoo on the market, considering how many of them are actually available for sale. But from our top 5 list, we picked the Zymol Natural Auto Shampoo.

From a company that makes some of the best car waxes on the market, their car wash shampoo creates excellent lather, a wax-like reflection, leaves little to no water spots even when drying in hot conditions, and lastly, it’s 100% wax safe.

To grab it for the current best price online, you can see the official Amazon page.


View on Amazon

The combination with some fine and high-quality car wash sponges, mitts and microfiber towels. Search our website for the new guide.


Best Car wash Soap and Shampoo Buying Guide

We’ve shared our top-rated car wash soaps so you can be safe in the knowledge that you have the perfect product to wash your car. Now we are going to look at some features to consider before purchasing and also the equipment needed and important steps when you wash your car.

Factors To Take Into Consideration Before Buying a Car Wash Soap

Foaming Action – If you want an effective car wash soap you will want one that provides you with plenty of thick foam. In some instances, you are going to have to give your car a hard scrub but for an overall clean having a lot of suds will separate the dirt from the surface of your car much easier. If the paint surface is well lubed and the dirt has pulled away it lessens the potential of doing any damage to your vehicle. If you are using mitts to clean your car it will allow them to glide easier and save you a bit of time.

Liquid Concentration – Most car soap products have a ratio of 1 ounce to 1 gallon of water and this is a good indicator of what you should be looking for if you want an economical product. Car wash soap isn’t a one-off purchase and the costs soon add up so you’ll want to choose one that is both economical and gets the job done well.

Value – The bigger the bottle the longer it will last that’s why we recommend a 64-ounce version like Mothers California Gold Carnauba Wash and Wax as a little of it will go a long way and will still be going strong when you’d be replacing smaller bottles. One bottle of this will pretty much last you a year if you wash your car once a month.

pH Levels – Before you purchase a car wash soap it’s recommended to check the pH level. Some of them are high alkaline which means that they are great for removing dirt that is acidic for instance if you get a lot of bird poop on your car. The higher the alkaline levels the more likely it is to do damage to your car. It’s recommended to use neutral pH car soap to prevent any adverse effects such as corrosion.
Eco-Friendly – If you have concerns about the environment many of today’s car wash products are eco-friendly for instance Green Clean Automotive’s car wash shampoo which is one of our top picks.

Water Spots – There’s nothing worse than water spots and streaks left on your car after a thorough clean. You’ll need to look out for quick drying soaps to prevent this as they are more efficient in removing water spots and streaks, for instance, our number one recommendation Zymol Natural Auto Shampoo.

The Smell – Some people are sensitive to different smells and you might want the scent of your car soap to not be too overpowering, look for citrus or fruit scents that aren’t too strong.

Equipment Needed For Car Washing

When it comes to cleaning your car you’ll need the following items:

Car Wash Soap – Just in case you forgot! Yes, you’ll need this we’ve already talked about what to consider so plenty of foaming action and balanced pH being two factors to take into account. If you want to do a particularly thorough job you can also purchase a separate cleaner for your dashboard and upholstery.

Two Buckets – You’ll need one for the soapy water and one for rinsing. You don’t want to be dipping your dirty sponge in the bucket with the soap.

Sponges or Washing Mitts – This will be down to your personal preference we like to use mitts. It’s a good idea to have two sponges or mitts at hand you’ll want one for the car body and windows and another for the tires and wheels. You don’t want to cross-contaminate the dirt from the tires with the other sponge as it can easily scratch the paint of your vehicle.

Hose – A hose will be required to rinse the soap from your car.
Pressure Washer – A pressure washer is optional but it does make cleaning your car much faster and easier. You obviously don’t want it on full power, just enough water pressure to lift the grime from your car. With pressure washers, you can add car wash soap to them and also use them to rinse. For those who want a little more hands-off then it might be time to consider purchasing a pressure washer.

Drying Towel – Lastly you will need a towel to dry the car with, never leave it to air dry otherwise you might get water spots on your paint. There is a wide range of car drying towels available made of different materials from chamois to microfiber just make sure that the towel is designed for drying cars, an abrasive material can lead to scratches.

The Essential Steps When Washing A Car

There’s an art to giving your car a wash, it’s not difficult but if you do everything needed in the right order you’ll have a car to be proud of when you have finished.

Step 1

Give the car a pre-wash using your hose or pressure washer removing all the loose dirt and grime will give you a good head start.

Step 2

Once you’ve sprayed down the car you’ll want to clean the tires and wheels before the rest of the car. You can buy a special wheel and tire cleaner formula but the car wash soap that you are using for the rest of the car will still do a good job of cleaning them.

Step 3

Mix the car wash soap according to the manufacturer’s instructions usually this is 1 ounce to 1 gallon of water.

Step 4

As we discussed in the equipment you are going to need, use two buckets, one for the soapy water and the other for rinsing.

Step 5

Using your wash mitts or sponge start washing the car in sections and then rinse. If you don’t do this the soap will start drying on parts of the car. So start off washing the hood and rinse it down then a couple of doors and so on.

Step 6

Once the car is fully washed and rinsed you can start drying it down, don’t delay doing this, dry it down straight away to prevent water spots.

Step 7

The last step is optional. You can polish and wax the car to give it that final level of protection and sheen, it might not be entirely necessary but for the completists, it’s the final icing on the cake!


Best Car Wash Soap FAQ

➡️ How often should I wash my car?

There are those people that find washing their car a chore while others find it a therapeutic experience and enjoy getting out on a weekend and giving it a wash and wax. Some are fair-weather enthusiasts and won't be so eager to get out and clean when it gets a bit cold. In regard to how often you should wash your car, there will be a lot of variables depending on the time of the year, environment and how often you drive it. Our advice would be to get into a routine, washing your car once a month would be what we recommend.

➡️ Can you wash your car with dish soap?

This is a question we often hear asked, you'd think that as dish soap is soft on the hands it wouldn't do any damage to use it when you wash your car, unfortunately, this isn't the case. As dish soap is abrasive and contains ammonia and bleaches it will certainly affect your car's paint if used repeatedly.

➡️ I've heard vinegar is good for washing cars, is this true?

There are mixed reports on using vinegar to wash a car. Many eco-friendly people who like to use home remedies to clean their houses use it as a disinfectant. Others say that due to the acidic properties of the vinegar it can damage your car. Personally we would stick to tried and tested car wash soaps that are designed for the sole purpose of washing your car.