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When it comes to washing your car, you’ll want to invest in a proper car wash soap. 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.

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1. Editor's Pick: Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash

chemical guys mr. pink super suds car wash

Another more premium option comes from Chemical Guys in the form of the Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash. Designed to be gentle on sealant and wax coatings, this car shampoo is ideal for weekly use and is pH balanced so it won’t damage other materials such as polished metals, glass, vinyl, rubber, and plastic trim pieces. It’s a slick formula that easily glides off your car, helping make sure swirl marks and scratches don’t appear while you wash. The soap also rinses clean, leaving behind no residue or water spots.

Like the Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash, expect the Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash to produce plenty of foam when mixed properly. As a bonus, it smells “delicious,” as some reviewers said on Amazon. We don’t recommend tasting it however.

2. Adam's Car Wash Shampoo

adam's car wash shampoo

One of the highest priced car shampoos available comes from Adam’s Polishes. The company’s car shampoo uses a blend of advanced cleaners and polymers to create a rich, thick, head of foam during your entire washing experience. Expect to see thick, luxurious suds when using this particular car wash, which won’t strip away any existing car waxes or sealants. It is also pH balanced so it works on all types of materials, gentle enough to not dry out your trim or any plastic components you may have on the body of your car.

And if it matters to you, it has a wild berry scent that Adam’s Polishes claims “will have you wanting to drink the bottle.” Again, we don’t recommend doing that.

3. Optimum No Rinse Wash and Wax

optimum no rinse wash and wax

If you’re looking to conserve water or don’t live in an area with easy access to a hose hookup, Optimum’s No Rinse Wash and Wax is made for you. It doesn’t come cheap, but you won’t have to rinse your car with a hose. That’s because the solution has no soapy surfactants to wash off the car. The unique product features substantive polymers that bond to the paint and protect it from abrasion during the wash, while offering greater protection and lubrication than conventional car washes. It leaves a slick and glossy finish afterwards.

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4. Griot's Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash

griot's garage car wash

Made from concentrated, premium ingredients, Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash is another high-end car shampoo that promises to make tons of suds. The formula is safe on all paint finishes and is pH balanced to safely lift dirt and grime from your car’s surface. The wash also features special brighteners that are designed to enhance your car’s color. You can safely use Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash on your paint without worrying about stripping wax or any other protectant. Griot’s Garage says the wash is safe to use on matte paint and vinyl wraps.

5. Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash

meguiar's gold class car wash

Arguably the most popular and trusted brand in car care, Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash is also one of the most popular car shampoos available. The Gold Class Car Wash contains an ultra-rich conditioner to make your car’s paint look the best without stripping any wax protection from the body. All Meguiar’s car washes are non-detergent and lubricate the surface to help get dirt and debris off your car’s surface.

The Gold Class Car Wash is billed as a shampoo and conditioner in one, designed to both wash and condition your paint in one easy step. Expect plenty of suds using this wash, as it is one of the “soapiest” car shampoos available. When applying it to your car using a hand mitt, you’ll quickly realize how smooth the soap is, gliding easily on and off your car.

Most users also find the soap’s smell pleasant, which may not be a huge deal to some car owners.

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6. Rain-X Wash and Wax

rain-x high foaming wash and wax

You might have heard of Rain-X, a company that specializes in rain protection for windshields. Using its research and knowledge of repelling the elements, Rain-X offers a High Foaming Wash and Wax specialty car wash that is like a two-in-one. The cleaning foam dissolves and lifts dirt off the surface of the car, while soft gel Carnauba Wax beads help protect your car’s finish.

The formula is biodegradable and pH balanced, so it won’t harm any exterior surfaces of your vehicle. It’s an ideal product for those car owners who doesn’t care to take the time and effort to wax their car on a regular basis.

7. Mothers California Gold Car Wash

mothers california gold car wash

Another brand you likely recognize in the car care industry is Mothers. The company’s California Gold Car Wash is priced similarly to both the Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash and the Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash and offers similar results. Some users however, do say both the Meguiar’s and Chemical Guys produce more suds, giving the impression that those two products result in a slicker and cleaner application.

Still, the Mothers California Gold Car Wash will be super-sudsy compared to cheaper car shampoos. Its formula is also pH balanced for added safety and resists water spotting. Like other premium car shampoos, it won’t remove wax or dull the paint when used properly.

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8. Turtle Wax ICE Car Wash

turtle wax ice car wash

If you aren’t that passionate about washing your car and want a cheaper product that does a good job, Turtle Wax’s ICE Car Wash is more affordable than other premium shampoos. This wash will still produce a good mount of foam and is pH balanced so it’s safe and gentle on all finishes. This wash and wax features special gloss enhancing agents that help give your car that “just waxed” appearance.

You may notice some of Turtle Wax’s products have “ICE Smart Shield Technology,” which means the product features the most advanced scientific polymer engineering to intensify and maximize car care results.

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9. Duragloss Car Wash

duragloss car wash concentrate

Priced as a premium car shampoo is the Duragloss Car Wash Concentrate. The solution shines as it cleans, and promises to not streak or spot the paint. Duragloss says the special formula encourages a sheeting effect to leave the vehicle mostly dry. It consists of a highly-concentrated blend of mild surfactants and cleaners and does not contain acids or alkali, so it won’t remove any durable polishes. It is also pH balanced so it’ll be safe on all surfaces. And for those who are curious, it smells like cherries!

10. Armor All Car Wash

armor all car wash concentrate

Armor All might best be known for its interior detailing products, but the company offers car wash as well. Formulated specifically for car finishes, Armor All’s car wash is powerful enough to lift away the toughest dirt and grime without stripping your car’s wax. It’s a clean-rinsing formula that promises to leave a spot-free, streak-free finish with thick foaming action.

It’s one of the more affordable and cost-efficient car washes available, just keep in mind it does run a bit thin according to some users.

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