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The Best Car Wash Soaps for the Ultimate Exterior Shine

The way you maintain your car can say a lot about who you are as a person. A dirty car can make you appear dirty or lazy, which is never a good appearance to have. A clean car is more appealing to look at and gives off a better impression of you. If you are in the market for a new car wash soap, look no further than right here. I have put together everything you need to know to help you make your decision.

Benefits of Buying Car Wash Soap

Obviously, the main benefit of buying car wash soap is that you’ll have something to clean your car with. Other types of soaps are not meant to be used on cars and cannot give you the same kind of results as car wash soap, which is why it is important you buy some.

Regularly washing your car also has several benefits. One of them being, it actually keeps your car healthy. The longer you go between washes, the more dirt and grime build up on your car’s body. Over time, that dirt can becomes abrasive and chip away at your car’s paint, leaving the metal frame exposed.

Once your paint starts chipping, it won’t be long before you start seeing rust, and then it’s like an avalanche. By regularly washing your car with appropriate soap, you are getting rid of all that gunk, keeping your car’s body healthy and extending its lifetime.

Investing in regular car washes will also save you money in the long run. This is due to the amount of damage you are preventing, i.e. rust, paint chipping, etc. By spending a little more on car wash supplies and taking care of your car, you are avoiding future problems caused by a dirty car.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Car Wash Soap

Do you know how to wash your car?

Before you go out and spend money buying all the materials to wash your car, think about whether or not you really know what you are doing. If you have never washed a car before, that’s okay, just do some research as to how to do it before you actually buy anything.

Just because you do not know how to clean car doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean yours, it just means you should learn. There are certain techniques you will learn the more you wash your car, including how to avoid streaking and water spots.

What scent do you prefer?

Car wash soaps come in a wide array of scents, from fruitier choices to more pungent soaps. Although scent should not be the only thing you base your decision off of, considering scent while making your decision is a good idea.

If you wind up purchasing a soap and realizing you hate the scent, you are going to be a lot less likely to use it, especially on any kind of regular basis, which is why I recommend you at least consider the scent before purchasing.

What is the pH?

The pH of the soap is incredibly important. A soap that is too acidic or too basic can lead to paint or wax damage, which is the opposite of what you want your soap to be.

The key is finding car wash soap with just the right pH level. Ideally, your soap should be pH balanced, and just barely basic, with a pH slightly higher than neutral, or 7.

With or without wax?

Lastly, you will want to consider whether or not to get a plain soap or a soap and wax mix. Combination soaps are usually more expensive because the wax leaves a nice, professional and polished look to your car.

However, that is only if you use them properly. If you use combination soaps incorrectly, it can come out looking like a hot mess and you would have wasted your money.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Wash a Car?

This is a popular question based on Google search, but the right answer might surprise some of you. Most people have the misconception that soap is soap, which is far from the truth. A well-formulated car wash soap will be filled with chemicals to keep the exterior shiny and looking like new.

Most of your regular dish wash soaps are formulated with degreaser, which will strip the protective shiny coating on your car’s paint over time. It is also true that dish soap will cause oxidation resulting in a dull exterior within just a few months.

Is it safe to wash your vehicle using dish soap? In my humble opinion, the answer is a definite no when you consider it can strip away the wax that protects the paint.

Tips for Choosing the Best Car Wash Soap for Your Needs

When looking for a car wash soap, it is almost always true that the more the suds there are means the better of a soap it is. High-end car wash soaps are known to be extremely foamy, which is what you want to try to aim for.

You will want to keep your eyes peeled for soaps that are extra sudsy because this is what helps to penetrate deep into the dirt and get all the grime and other contaminants off of your car.

I also recommend looking at the individual features of each soap and comparing them to one another. Once you have it narrowed down to a few choices, really nitpick and decide which one suits your needs more.

However, while you are looking at the features, don’t believe any crazy claims that seem too good to be true. Always do more research until you are confident in your final decision.

Lastly, you should consider what materials you would need with each soap. Some soaps require you to use a certain type of rag, whereas others can be used with your typical car sponge. Either way, you will want to make sure you have whatever other materials you may need to wash your car with that specific soap.

1 – Meguiar’s G7101FFP Gold Class Car Wash

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 128 fl. oz. & 64 fl. oz.

pH Balanced: Yes

Cleans and Conditions

Instead of just doing one or the other, this car wash soap actually cleans and conditions your car. The powerful suds break through dirt and grime, cleaning your car, all while conditioning your car’s paint as well. When you wash off all the suds, you will see your car, brighter, more vibrant, and cleaner than it was before.

Protects Clear Coat

This soap is nonabrasive and will not damage your car’s clear paint coat or wax layer. This helps maximize the life of your car and ensures that the soap is only doing good, no bad, to your car. The last thing you would want is to buy a soap in hopes of cleaning your car, and coming out the other side with more damage.

Easy to Use

This Meguiar’s soap is also very easy to use and doesn’t require any fancy tools, like a suds blaster. You can use this soap by hand with the help of a couple of different microfiber rags, which is the most convenient option for most people.


A useful benefit of this soap is its pleasant scent. The soap smells clean and refreshing and doesn’t irritate the senses. The scent is not so overwhelming as to overload your nose, but it is definitely noticeable. To me, a pleasant smelling soap like this one will beat out almost every other soap that smells like chemicals, but that is just my opinion.


The only downside of this soap, if you can even call it that, is that it is easy to use too much of it the first few times you use it. It is hard to believe that such a small squirt of soap can produce a bucket full of thick, lathery suds, but it can.

I made the mistake of using way too much the first time and ended up with a bucket of bubbles and virtually no water, not the best combination for washing cars.

2 – Mothers 05674 California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 64 fl. oz. (available individually or in packs of 6)

pH Balanced: Yes


Mothers California Gold wash and wax is totally biodegradable, which is good since it will most likely be washed off in your yard. Since it is biodegradable, you don’t have to worry about it damaging your yard.

Boosts Your Wax

This wash and wax is meant to be used between actual car waxing and is designed to keep your wax looking fresh and radiant. It also gives your car that brand new wax feel and appearance, it might even pass off as a new coat of waxing!

Super Sudsy

In addition to the wax portion of this soap, there are also powerful soapy suds that cut through all of the grease and grime that your car collects over time. It is absolutely mind-blowing how much dirt and just junk piles up on the body and tires of your car without you ever realizing it.

However, the suds in this soap cuts through it all and lifts all the contaminants off your car, and they are easily rinsed off of your car in a matter of seconds.


Mothers Wash and Wax is one of the least expensive soaps on the list. Usually, a cheaper soap indicates cheaper quality, but not always, and definitely not in this case. This makes it great for anyone who is on a budget but still wants a high-quality car wash soap.


This is a wash and wax, not a wax. As I mentioned earlier, it is intended to use between regular waxings to maintain the wax, but will not act as a wax on its own. If you are expecting to be able to actually wax your car with this soap, you may be disappointed.

3 – Rain-X 5077557 Wash and Wax

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 64 fl. oz. & 20 fl. oz.

pH Balanced: Yes

Carnauba Wax Beads

The Carnauba wax beads suspended in this cleaner is what gives this

soap its wax enhancing power. Although it cannot actually wax your car, it can help maintain the waxing that is already on your car’s paint and help protect against the elements.

Safe for All Vehicles

Because it is pH balanced, and biodegradable, this soap is safe to use on all of your vehicles. It will not cause any damage to the clear coat or color coat of your car.

Deep Cleans

Rain-X formulated this wash and wax to deeply clean your car, removing all grease, gasoline, pollen, and other debris stuck to your car. After using this soap, your car is left with a noticeable shine and squeaky clean finish.


Rain-X has been around for decades and has created a wide variety of products. All of their products have one thing in common though; they are meant to improve your driving experience in some way.

From wiper blades to washer fluids and even water repellants, Rain-X has made a name for themselves as one of the most reliable car care product companies so that you can trust your purchase.


Although this has not been known to be a problem, be careful and make sure you keep this soap out of children’s reach. The cool blue color and floating jelly balls could make this seem extremely appealing to toddlers and may be tempting for them to eat.

4 – Chemical Guys CWS_101 Maxi-Suds II Super Suds Car Wash Soap and Shampoo

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 128 fl. oz., 64 fl. oz., & 16 fl. oz.

pH Balanced: Yes

Included Water Softeners

This car wash soap and shampoo from the Chemical Guys is specially formulated with water softeners. Softeners reduce the amount of streaking and water spots, which makes this an extremely helpful feature.

Sweet Cherry Scent

This soap is probably the best smelling one on the list. It is fresh and sweet cherry scent that is very pleasing to smell. However, if you are not a cherry fan, don’t fret, this soap is also available in the strawberry margarita, and extreme grape rush scents. Both scents are very sweet and fruity, but in a different way than the cherry.

Childproof Cap

The Chemical Guys were extremely smart in putting a locking childproof cap on this soap. No matter what scent you go with, the soap itself is a bright and very intriguing color. This means kids are likely to try to get into it or drink it if they find it, which is why this childproof cap is so important.


Features can go on for days, but what everyone really wants to know is how the soap performs. This car wash soap creates rich and fluffy suds with just a small amount of soap.

Those suds are extremely effective at gently attacking and removing all the gunk built up on your car. This soap is also totally safe to use on all types of cars and is gentle enough to not damage to the car’s wax or sealant.


Unlike the last two soaps, this one does not include a wax component to it. This is only a downside if you specifically want a wash and wax type of soap. However, many people prefer to wash and wax separately, so this wouldn’t even be considered a downside for them.

5 – Turtle Wax T-79 Zip Wax Liquid Car Wash and Wax

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 16 fl. oz. & 64 fl. oz.

pH Balanced: Yes

Sparkling Finish

The powerful suds lift dirt and other unwanted debris and carry it with them when the suds are rinsed off, leaving behind a sparkling finish. Although the suds cannot get all the credit, Zip Wax is also enriched with Carnauba, which is also known to create an enhanced shine finish.


While using this soap, it is nice to know that the runoff from cleaning your car will not damage the grass or plants around you. Zip Wax is totally biodegradable and pH balanced, and eco-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals getting into the ground or plants.


Lastly, this soap is gentle enough to clean and “wax” your car while leaving all of your car’s wax alone. A car with peeling wax, even in just a few places, greatly reduces visual appeal and can make the whole car just look shoddy. Stripping can be caused by abrasive soaps, which is why I love how gentle Zip Wax is.


Out of all of the soaps on this list, Zip Wax is the least expensive. It will cost you just a few bucks for a large 64 oz. bottle that will last you a long while, especially considering you only need about an ounce of soap to wash your entire car.


Don’t forget, wash and wax soaps combine 2 steps, washing and waxing, which should not always be combined and can sometimes lead to underwhelming results. However, this soap has been very well received and become a popular choice. People especially love that it dries spot free.

6 – Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 144 oz.

pH Balanced: Yes

What’s Included: 1 full gallon, 1 full 16 oz spray bottle, 1 mini bug scrubber, 4 Microfiber towels, Product Guide, How to Use Guide, and a What to Use Vehicle Guide.


This kit allows you to choose how to clean your car. There are two ways you can use this cleaner, as you dry your car, or waterless.

Both are very easy to do and can help save water. Obviously, cleaning waterless saves the most amount of water, but even washing as you dry can save water.

Safe for all Surfaces

Due to its natural, biodegradable, plant-based formula, this wash is safe for all surfaces, both inside and outside of the car. This feature is particularly good because wash waxes usually cannot be used on all surfaces. Wash waxes are even known to create ugly, hard to remove stains on plastic, but not this one.

Anti-Static UV Protective Coating

Wash Wax ALL not only cleans and brightens your car, it also helps protect it by leaving behind an anti-static UV protective coating. This helps protect your car’s paint, which can be damaged by UV rays.


The company selling this kit, Aero Cosmetics, has extensive experience cleaning and protecting the surfaces of top quality aircraft’s.

This soap is actually meant for those top quality airplanes but can be used on virtually any form of transportation. And if you are not totally happy with the kit you receive, there is a 100% money back guarantee in place.


The only downside of this kit is that it is the most expensive item on this list. However, it isn’t too much more than some of the other soaps and you are getting a whole lot more stuff, so you are actually getting a really great deal on this product.

7 – TriNova Car Wash Concentrate

Top Features/ Specs

Sizes Available: 18 fl. oz.

pH Balanced: Yes


With a gentle, yet effective, formula, this soap is safe to use on any car surface. It also will not strip any sealant that is already on your car’s exterior paint. This is a relief because you know the soap is only doing what you want it to.

Premium Formula

The premium formula of this soap makes it extremely effective at breaking up grease and dirt, even bits that are caked on. The hardworking suds surround contaminants and take them with them on their way out.

Easy to Use

Lastly, this soap is easy to use and can be used to wash cars by hand, or it can be loaded into a foam gun. Don’t get too worked up about the idea of a foam gun, and they should really only be used by

professionals. Whether you use a foam gun or your mitt and hands, once the soap is on, all you have to do is rinse it off.


This car soap comes with a free microfiber mitt, which doesn’t leave behind any scratches and makes cleaning your car that much easier. I personally love the mitts because it feels like my whole hand is a mop.


Although this is a shampoo and conditioner, the design of the bottle just looks too similar to actual shampoo or conditioner for me. I just know that I am easily confused and see a potential mix up happening.

However, this will not apply to everyone.

Who’s the Winner?

My favorite product and personal recommendation is the Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit. Even though it is the most expensive, you get everything you need to clean and wax your car, so it is worth it.

It is also really easy to use, can be used on any surface or vehicle, and saves both time and water. In the end, I would recommend you assess your personal needs when deciding what soap to buy,