Buying Guide: Best Car Wash Soap (2016 – 2017)

hand car wash

While paying for a quick, impersonal car wash can sometimes be convenient, nothing beats the look and feel of a hand washed car. Hand washing ensures that your car receives the thorough, discerning clean that will help keep it looking new, and running well, for years to come. Not all car wash soaps are created equal, however, and it’s important to know what to look for, and what you need, before buying a car wash soap product.

#1 Top Rated Car Wash Soap (Editor Selection) — Click Here!

Below, we’ll share our picks for the top rated car wash soaps for the money and help you determine what to look for when you buy some soap to wash your ride at home.

Our Car Wash Soap Ratings At-A-Glance

car wash ratings
Our ratings for these automobile exterior soaps are based on value and overall performance.

Top 10 Best Car Wash Soaps Reviewed 2016 - 2017

Below is our list of the best car wash soap for the money based on our team's ratings of the products. For reviews and more product information, scroll down the page or click on the links.
PRODUCTOUR RATING
Meguiar's G17748 Ultimate Wash and Wax
Meguiar's G17748 Ultimate Wash and Wax
(9.6 / 10)
Meguiar's G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner
Meguiar's G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner
(9.4 / 10)
Armor All 10346 Ultra Shine Wash and Wax
Armor All 10346 Ultra Shine Wash and Wax
(9.4 / 10)
Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash
Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash
(9.6 / 10)
Optimum (NR2010Q) No Rinse Wash & Shine
Optimum (NR2010Q) No Rinse Wash & Shine
(9.6 / 10)
Chemical Guys CWS_107 Extreme Body Wash and Synthetic Wax Car Wash Shampoo
Chemical Guys CWS_107 Extreme Body Wash and Synthetic Wax Car Wash Shampoo
(9.4 / 10)
Rain-X 5072084 Foaming Car Wash
Rain-X 5072084 Foaming Car Wash
(8.8 / 10)
Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash
Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash
(9.2 / 10)
Griot's Garage 10866 Brilliant Finish Car Wash
Griot's Garage 10866 Brilliant Finish Car Wash
(9.2 / 10)
Chemical Guys CWS_402_16 Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap and Shampoo
Chemical Guys CWS_402_16 Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap and Shampoo
(8.8 / 10)

What To Consider When Shopping For Car Wash Soap

The most important thing you can do when thinking about good car wash habits is to wash your car often, and with a product that won’t leave streaks or spots. A car wash soap should have the right chemical concentration to ensure a quality wash on the first try. A soap with a PH which is too high or low may damage the wax or paint on your car, but a soap which is completely PH neutral won’t be very effective. On the balance, it’s important to look for a soap which has a PH slightly above neutral, but not too high or low.

When washing your car, be careful not to concentrate the soap too intensely, of the soap will remove some of the wax from the car and the vehicle will need to be re-waxed. Each car wash soap will require a different ratio of soap to water. Heavily concentrated soaps, for example, may only require a half ounce of soap for a gallon of water, while other, lower concentration soaps may need an ounce or more to every gallon of water. Different brands of car wash soap will have different ratios, and instructions on how to use them properly, so be sure to read the bottle before you buy. Using too much soap can leave your car with ugly spots and streaks, and the vehicle will need to be washed again properly to make them go away.

Different products will produce different amounts of foam when washing, and may also pair better with a specific washing implement, such as a sponge or a cloth. While the amount of foam produced is a minor concern, it can ruin the experience of washing your car and, if it’s not rinsed off quickly enough, foam may cause streaking. Soaps also come in different scents, so consider the scent of the soap as well during your purchase. Buying a soap which is particularly pungent may give your car a dissatisfying smell and can be a concern for people with allergies or sensitive noses.

You should know how much soap you need to buy, and even more critically, how much you need to use for each washing. Sometimes, you may even need two types of car wash soap. A traditional soap will likely be enough for the body of the car, but the truly discerning car owner will also need to use bug & tar soap from time to time for the really tough grit. A bug & tar soap is best used for wheel wells and other areas of the vehicle that see the most wear. Bug & tar soap is much tougher than regular car wash soap, however, so be careful not to use it unless you really need it. Otherwise, you may cause unnecessary wear on your vehicle.

Finally, some brands may be a combination soap and wax. Using these brands can leave your car with the look of being professionally cleaned if you use them properly. Using a combination soap will never be quite as good as waxing your car, however, so make sure to wax your vehicle from time to time even if your soap brand is a combination soap and wax. These brands can also be more expensive, so make sure you know what you need and how much you are willing to pay. Buying brands which are combination brands, or which have a higher concentration formula, will always cost more. The higher price is worth the quality product, however, so long as you are aware of your needs and the needs of your car.

Overall, there are many considerations to take into account when buying a car wash soap. The needs of every vehicle are a little different, and it’s important to be informed about what your needs are. Take time to read the labels on each product, and do product research to see what other car enthusiasts are saying about a given product. Being informed and conscientous about the needs of your vehicle will keep your car looking clean and sleek for years to come.

Meguiar’s G17748 Ultimate Wash and Wax Review

This brand is known for making some of the best car care products on the market and Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash and Wax is no exception to that.

What we really like about this one is that it is actually car wash soap and wax in one product. That’s right, this is a hybrid carnauba/polymer wash and wax product for your vehicle. The nice thing about this is that you don’t have to take the time to do the waxing once you have washed the vehicle. It’s almost like an effortless waxing job. Sure, you should take them time to wax it properly when you can, but in the interim this is a solid choice for keeping your vehicle shiny and clean.

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Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Meguiar's G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner

Designed with extreme car washing capabilities without ruining a wax protection, Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner proves as an excellent buy with ratings of four and a half stars. Including chemicals, in the conditioner, to protect the car’s paint leaving a lavish shine. The soapy solution creates a foam to clean the car thoroughly, all in one step. Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo details an easy use container with container size options of 64 ounces, or 128 ounces, from the manufacturer.

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Armor All Ultra Shine Wash and Wax Review

Armor All 10346 Ultra Shine Wash and WaxArmor All Ultra Shine Wash and Wax will mildly take away the dirt and grime on any type of vehicle that can cause unsightly scratches and blemishes.

It leaves behind an amazing clear shine that will you’re your vehicle look brand new while protecting it from the elements and roadway debris. This stuff is easy to use and will give your vehicle the results you want!

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Turtle Wax ICE Car Wash Review

Turtle Wax T-472R ICE Car Wash

Making your car look new has never been so easy.

All-new Turtle Wax ICE Car Wash will make your car shine like never before. The unique shine enhancers gently lift dirt and rinse your car clean for a spot-free shine all over. Plus, the special gloss-enhancing agents help give your car that “just waxed” look all year round. On top of that, Turtle Wax ICE Car Wash helps neutralize environmental contaminants on the paint finish, making them easier to remove.

Turtle Wax ICE Car Wash is made with only the finest ingredients, so it’s safe and gentle to use on even the most sensitive automotive finishes.

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Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine Review

Optimum (NR2010Q) No Rinse Wash & Shine

No Rinse Wash & Shine is a vehicle washing product that contains hi-tech polymers which removes dirt and grime, while leaving vehicle paint shiny and like new. Safe enough to use on any vehicle surface, including fiberglass. Only one ounce per two gallons of water is needed and no rinsing required. No Rinse Wash & Shine doesn’t contain any detergent like most traditional car wash products. It won’t leave behind any streaks or filmy residue. No Rinse & Shine only requires a bucket of water and a cleaning cloth. No more water hose needed.

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Chemical Guys Extreme Body Wash and Synthetic Wax Car Wash Shampoo Review

Chemical Guys CWS_107 Extreme Body Wash and Synthetic Wax Car Wash Shampoo

Chemical Guys Extreme Body Car Wash Shampoo shampoo includes a great synthetic gloss enhancer to give your car amazing post wash shine. Specially formulated to help reduce water spots upon drying, it continuously protects your car by repelling rain. Avoid a two-step process of washing and waxing and get Chemical Guys Extreme Body Car Wash Shampoo for a great two-in-one shampoo and wax. Its heavily concentrated formula helps make the product last longer and ensures a heavy duty wash while remaining gentle on your cars exterior.

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Rain-X Foaming Car Wash Review

Rain-X 5072084 Foaming Car Wash

Rain-X Foaming Car Wash is a concentrated car wash formula that helps to get a streak free wash while protecting wax surfaces. This high quality car wash gently cleans off dirt and residue left over by the elements such as rain and snow. Avoid the pricey car wash and get a professional quality wash for a fraction of the cost. Creating a wonderful foam, you can really see Rain-X Foaming Car Wash getting your car’s exterior deeply cleaned while remaining gentle on the wax polish underneath. This is a great buy for anyone who wants to take extra care of their car.

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Mothers California Gold Car Wash Review

Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash

Your car’s about to look as good as new! With Mothers California Gold Car Wash, you can wash your car thoroughly while protecting your wax. It’s strong enough to wash away dirt, road film, bugs, bird droppings, airborne pollutants and other grime, without removing wax or dulling the paint. But it doesn’t stop at cleaning and shining your car. Mothers California Gold Car Wash is also pH balanced, super-sudsy and also resists water spotting.

Discover the careful balance of powerful cleaning and exacting care. Your car will thank you.

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Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash Review

Griot's Garage 10866 Brilliant Finish Car Wash

Next time you wash your car, dish soap just won’t cut it. Simply add one ounce of Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash to a gallon of water, and watch the eruption of rich, slippery suds. Made from concentrated premium ingredients, Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash helps your car’s paint look absolutely spectacular. Its special brighteners even give your car a long-lasting, high-gloss, streak-free appearance. Shield your eyes because your car’s about to get shinier than ever!

Icing on the cake? It smells so good you’re going to want to spend much more time washing your car.

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Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap and Shampoo Review

Chemical Guys CWS_402_16 Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Soap and Shampoo

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap is a premium car wash soap at a fraction of the price of other premium soaps. Ideal for weekly maintenance, it is formulated to ensure no scratches occur during your wash. Its streak free shine adds to the overall quality of this soap. Producing a large amount of foam, it washes off any daily road residue and leaves a nice shine after your wash. A great added benefit is the wonderful smell that accompanies the Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Car Wash Soap.

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How To Wash Your Car The Right Way

For tips on the best practices when it comes to washing your automobile, check out the video below from our friends at Auto Zone. In the video below, you will learn how to wash your car properly the first time.

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