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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.

Updated 03/04/2021 with a new featured product recommendation.

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

chemical guys mr. pink super suds car wash

Our top pick 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 other products on our list, 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.

Read More Top 10 Best Wheel and Tire Cleaners

Featured Product: The Last Coat’s The Last Soap

The Last Coat’s The Last Soap

When it comes to car wash soap, efficiency is everything. That’s why The Last Soap, brought to you by the team at The Last Coat, stands head and shoulders above the rest. You get 32 ounces of concentrated formula per bottle, with only 1 to 3 ounces needed per wash — regardless of whether you’re using a wash bucket or foam cannon — meaning a single bottle should last between 12 to 32 washes, making this an excellent value. And that value prop gets even better when you consider all that The Last Soap does, and how long the results last.

A pH neutral solution, this car wash soap delivers professional-strength results while also being incredibly easy to use, and is safe for all standard applications – as well as for use on vinyl-wrapped vehicles, PPF clear bras, vinyl decals, and fiberglass surfaces such as boats and RVs. That’s because it’s exceptionally gentle on surfaces.

Infused with The Last Coat’s popular ceramic-based tech, The Last Soap doesn’t just clean your vehicle either, it seals and revitalizes surfaces, flushing the microscopic pores while also laying down a thin layer of protective, hydrophobic coating, thanks to being enriched with ceramic ingredients. (This also helps it preserve and protect ceramic-coated cars.) In fact, it’s common to hear users claim that simply washing their vehicle with TLC’s The Last Soap gives their finish a just-waxed look — and it’s called “The Last Soap” because once you try it, it’s the last car wash soap you’ll ever want to buy.

*This is a sponsored placement.

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. 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.

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. Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash and Wax

turtle wax hybrid solutions ceramic wash and wax

If you’ve been keeping an eye on car washing and detailing trends over the recent years, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of ceramic coating. A premium protectant originally only offered by professional detailers, ceramic coating has grown in popularity as a great way to protect your car’s finish for many years. Naturally, some companies have developed ceramic-type products, piggybacking off ceramic coating’s popularity.

One of those products is Turtle Wax’s Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash and Wax, infused with SiO2 polymers to create a durable barrier for both coated and uncoated cars. That leaves your car’s surface super hydrophobic, making water bead and sheet to keep your finish nice and clean. This car wash soap is designed for scratch-free cleaning, while adding a chemical resistant layer of protection that lasts for months.

This product can also be used with a foam cannon, to make washing your car even easier.

Read More Top 10 Best Car Waxes

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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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