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Bring the Professional Clean Home with the Best Car Wash Soap and Shampoo

If you are serious about caring for your car, then you want to keep it clean. These car wash soaps are formulated to remove dirt and road grime without removing your car’s wax job. It's important to use the right cleaning products on your car, because using the wrong ones (such as a dish soap) will leave the finish totally exposed to the elements.

The advantages of each of the following selections is they’re all designed to generate suds and increase the lubricity of the water so the soap lifts the dirt and grime without stripping the wax, scratching or creating swirls. Another critical characteristic of these best car wash soaps and shampoos in 2021 is they’re formulated to rinse totally in cold water while other soaps are not which can leave a contaminated surface.

Compare The Best Car Wash Soap and Shampoos Of 2021

Pinnacle Bodywork Car Wash Shampoo - Best Car Wash Soap and Shampoo Overall

Pinnacle produces many excellent, top-tier automotive car products. While their Bodywork Shampoo might be pricey, it offers excellent cleaning power. This concentrated formula creates more than enough wash water to clean a vehicle with a single ounce, while producing thick suds that stick around for the entire duration of the car wash. It even smells nice, rather like you're using your own shower products to clean your car.

Cleaners suspended in the bubbles remove grime and dirt, while natural oils act as a lubricant to allow easy rinsing of abrasive particles, reducing the chance of swirls and scratches in your paint. Pinnacle Bodywork Shampoo is pH-balanced and will not remove protective coatings such as wax or sealants, leaving paint clean and shiny between detailing.

Poorboys Slick & Suds Car Wash Soap and Shampoo - Runner Up

The Poorboys Super Slick & Suds car wash is a very concentrated formula, needing only about one ounce to wash an entire vehicle. This gentle soap is non-toxic, biodegradable, and pH-balanced while very tough on dirt. It effectively removes the dirt, oils, and grime that build up over time, gently removing them without causing scratches to your paint. Poorboys Super Slick & Suds doesn’t strip protective coatings or wax, keeping your car clean and shiny without requiring a full detailing process each time.

Optimum Car Wash Soap and Shampoo - Honorable Mention

Optimim Polymer Technologies is a company founded in 2001 by a PhD in polymer and organic chemistry, who had a background in automotive paint research and development. You'll need only a maximum of about one ounce of product to clean an entire vehicle, meaning that the Optimum Car Wash will last a long time even with regular use.This product creates a thick lather to lubricate abrasive particles, allowing them to slide off your paint without scratching it. Optimum Car Wash preserves protective coatings so you don't need to reapply your wax or sealant, and rinses off even with cold water. The formula is also biodegradable, allowing it to go easy on the environment.

Sonax Car Shampoo - Also Consider

The shine and sparkle you see on some high-end cars doesn't come easy. More often than not, it is a product of treatment with top-quality cleaning products like the Sonax car shampoo. This shampoo brand has a phosphate-free, surfactant-rich, and pH-neutral formula that is highly effective and safe for all car body finishes and films. It can be used with a variety of pressure washers and foam guns and, when used correctly, will leave an elegant shine on your vehicle.

Of course, it has a sweet-smelling scent and thanks to its thick foaming action, produces thick lather that leaves your car spotless and rinses off easily. This car shampoo is available in 1 and 5 liter sizes, both of which contain the same quality of car cleaning concentrates.

Mothers Gold Car Wash Soap and Shampoo - Consider

Mothers California Gold Car Wash is am affordable but concentrated formula, requiring only a small amount to wash an entire car. This pH-balanced car wash won't strip protective coatings, leaving your wax intact for longer. Touch on dirt, Mothers California Gold Car Wash dissolves sticky residues and lifts particles away from paint, rinsing clean and scratch-free in cold water. It even resists water spots, ensuring that a clean, shiny car is simple to achieve.

3M Car Wash Soap - Best Car Wash Soap and Shampoo

3M Car Wash Soap is an affordable option used by professional establishments for years. This car wash formula is phosphate-free, and produces thick suds to prevent swirls and scratches. Particles of dirt are lubricated, allowing you to safely rinsing them off without damaging paint. The 3M Car Wash Soap is a concentrated formula, and requires only about an ounce (about one capful) to wash an entire car. It doesn’t remove wax or other protective coatings, and easily rinses off for a clean and shiny finish.

Buyer's Guide

Why is Car Wash Soap and Shampoo Important?

You don’t necessarily have to own a car wash to use a car wash soap and shampoo. It is a useful product that helps you keep every inch of your car spick and span, including its interior, exterior, tires, and engine room as well. Nothing will uplift your mood like a clean car that doesn’t have a single speck of dust, and a car wash soap and shampoo will help you achieve this perfectly.

Most people use dishwashing soap or laundry detergent, but they contain substances that can actually damage your car’s paint or make it look dull after repeated washes. On the other hand, car wash soap and shampoo is specially formulated for cars and contains ingredients that won’t damage your car’s interior or exterior. Therefore, no matter how long you use it, you won’t complain about the car looking duller than before. Rather, you will be able to protect the paint of your car for a longer period of time.

So, as you can see, a dedicated car wash soap and shampoo works wonders for your car and keeps it clean in a way that other types of detergent or shampoos can’t. Therefore, having it in your car care kit is highly essential.

History of Car Wash Soap and Shampoo

The history of car wash soaps and shampoos dates back to the 1960s, and notable companies like Johnson & Johnson and Turtle Wax were the ones who entered the market with their products for the first time. These products were mainly targeted at service stations for washing their customers’ cars, and they quickly became popular among household consumers as well.

In the early 1970s, auto parts stores also started putting car wash soaps and shampoos on their shelves, as consumers were using them to keep their cars looking in tip top shape. Soon after, these products started coming with new and improved formulae that were more gentle on the cars’ paintwork. Since then, car wash soaps and shampoos have been commonly used by people all over the world.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Car Wash Soap and Shampoo

Whenever you are faced with choosing between different brands of car wash soaps and shampoos, choosing the option that suits you can be a tad difficult. There are certain factors that you must consider before you pick one option, and these factors not only help you choose the right product, but also pick a more affordable option.

pH Level

Since car wash soaps and shampoos are made up of chemicals, they will have a certain pH level, which tells you whether they are more acidic or alkaline. You need to consider this factor before choosing the best soap and shampoo, as a product with a pH value lower than 7 can be harmful for your car. Acidic soaps and shampoos can corrode the paint job of your car, which is why you should consider options that are neutral or alkaline in nature.


The concentration of the car wash soap and shampoo refers to how much you should mix them into water to form a solution that can be used to wash your car properly. A product with a higher concentration means that a smaller amount of shampoo will have to be added to a large amount of water, and this would also mean that you can use the product for a longer time. Therefore, it is wiser to choose a product with a higher concentration, so that you don’t have to buy it more frequently.


The foaming quality of a car wash soap and shampoo is another key factor that you can consider while choosing the best product for your car. Having a product that produces thicker foam will help in removing dirt and dust particles on its own, so you don’t have to work too hard on scrubbing the surface of your car.


Nowadays, most of the car wash soaps and shampoos have chemicals mixed in them, and these chemicals have a very strong smell that can be quite off-putting for you. However, you can also find scented solutions and products, which won’t cause you to have a headache every time you wash your car. You can opt for those options, especially if you can’t stand strong smells at all.

Water Spots

One of the biggest problems consumers face with car wash soaps and shampoos is that there are water spots left on the car’s exterior when they are done, which make your car look as if it hasn’t been washed properly. Some soaps and shampoos are also known to leave water streaks on the car, which make it look dirty. Thankfully, you can find solutions that are guaranteed to not leave any streaks or spots on your car.


Although this is a term less heard, lubricity is an important factor when you are choosing a car wash soap and shampoo for your car. Lubricity refers to how slippery the solution is, and the higher the lubricity, the better it will be for your car. The reason for this is that the solution would be easier to spread all over the car and wash off with water, thus leaving no water spots or streaks on the surface of your car.


Last but not least, the price of the car wash soap and shampoo that you consider buying also plays a major role in your choice, as you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money simply to keep your car clean. Generally, you can find car wash soaps and shampoos in the price range of $10 to $50, but some of the high quality options may also go up to $150 to $200.

Another thing you should consider, along with the pricing, is the amount of car wash soap or shampoo you are getting in the container. It is always better to buy a larger quantity, since it would be more economical and will also last longer.


How long does car wash soap and shampoo stay good for?

Most car wash soaps and shampoos have an expiry date of 18 to 24 months after they have been opened, and your car wash solution won’t even last that long, no matter what its quantity is.

Will car wash soap and shampoo clean bird droppings properly?

Bird droppings are acidic and can damage the car’s paint if not cleaned properly and quickly. If you choose a neutral product, it will be able to clean out the stain completely.

How often should car wash soap and shampoo be used to wash the car?

According to experts, you shouldn’t wash your car more than once every two weeks, but if you live in a dusty area, you may choose to wash it once every week.

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