top of page
  • Writer's pictureJack Cummings

Top 6 Best Car Wash Shampoos

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Table Of Contents


Restoring the exterior of your vehicle starts with a simple hand wash, and if done correctly, you'll achieve the clean and shiny look you're after. But where do you start? Well, you can't achieve the look you're after without the right soap! Throughout this article, I'll be covering the basics of car wash shampoos, what to consider when buying the right soap for your vehicle, and some frequently asked questions.

What To Consider When Choosing A Car Wash Shampoo


Choosing the right scent is completely up to you and has little to no effect on the performance or cleaning power of the product. Popular scents of car soaps are citrus, berry, or fresh linen. If you're someone who is sensitive to certain smells, you may want to opt in for a soap that doesn't include any type of scent at all.


The significance of concentration in car wash shampoos lies in their effectiveness, cost-efficiency, and versatility.

I'll explain each point in brief...

  1. Effectiveness: Highly concentrated car wash shampoos are created with a higher concentration of cleaning agents. The higher amount of active cleaning agents results in more cleaning power. This allows the shampoo to break down dirt, grime, and road contaminants easier and more effectively leading to a more thorough deep clean.

  2. Cost-efficiency: Highly concentrated soaps allow for cost savings. Since this type of soap is highly concentrated and will allow for a greater dilution of water to the product, it allows you to use less product per wash making it a more economical choice over time.

  3. Versatility: Highly concentrated car soap allow for more versatility in terms of dilution ratios. The ability to customize the dilution allows you to adjust the strength of the cleaning solution based on the dirty your vehicle is. For light contaminants/dirt, you can use a more diluted solution, while for heavily contaminated areas, you can increase the concentration. This flexibility enables you to tailor the cleaning power to suit different cleaning needs and achieve optimal results.


The foam that is produced by car wash soaps is another important factor to consider. Choosing the right product that produces a good amount of foam allows you to get better coverage of application and it enhances cleaning performance. A car wash shampoo that produces rich and dense foam allows the cleaning agents to reach all areas of the vehicle, including the tight crevices and contours. The foam also lifts and suspends the dirt particles from the surface to prevent scratches and swirls when performing a hand wash.

pH Balance

The pH balance of a car soap is a significant factor to consider. A car wash shampoo with a balanced pH, typically around neutral (pH 7), provides gentle cleaning that effectively removes dirt and grime without being overly aggressive on the paint surface. If you were to choose an acidic product (pH <7) to clean your car with, not only will it remove any type of wax or sealant leaving it vulnerable to UV rays and oxidation, but it could also etch or corrode the clear coat. On the other hand, if you choose to go with an alkaline product (pH >7), it can cause staining, discoloration, or hazing to certain surfaces such as chrome or polished aluminum.

How We Tested Our Top Picks

To determine our top picks for car wash shampoos, we've used and evaluated a variety of products in real-world scenarios, both on our personal vehicles and customers' vehicles. We've assessed each product's performance in the field and found these 6 car soaps to be the best. A little side note before we begin - of course, we have not tested every single product on the market, so this list is subject to change, or you may even find a car soap that works better for you.

Best Car Wash Shampoos

1. Best Overall - Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam

2. Best Foam - Majestic Solutions Super Foam

3. Best Wash & Wax 2 in 1 - Meguiars Wash & Wax

4. Best Budget Car Soap - RainX Foaming Car Wash

5. Best Car Wash Soap For Hard Water - Optimum No Rinse

6. Best Soap For Ceramic Coated Vehicles - Majestic Solutions Shield Bath

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam is our best overall pick for car wash soaps. Its thick foam provides maximum coverage, minimizing swirl marks and the advanced cleaning agents effortlessly remove dirt and grime while being gentle on all vehicle finishes. With a refreshing honeydew scent, it leaves your vehicle looking and smelling fresh.

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Soap

If you're looking for a soap that produces the most suds, or "foam", then Majestic Solutions' Snow Foam is a good fit for you. This exceptional product is specifically designed to deliver an impressive foam consistency that clings to the vehicle's surface, ensuring thorough coverage and effective cleaning. The Snow Foam's dense foam acts as a lubricating layer, reducing the risk of swirl marks and scratches during the washing process. Its powerful cleaning agents effortlessly dissolve dirt, grime, and contaminants, leaving behind a spotless finish. Its formula is pH-balanced, ensuring it won't strip away wax or sealants. With Majestic Solutions' Snow Foam, you can achieve remarkable foam coverage and impeccable cleaning results, making it the ideal option for the "best foam" category and our go-to choice when detailing vehicles.

Majestic Solutions Super Foam Soap

Best Wash & Wax 2 in 1 - Meguiars Wash & Wax

As far as the best wash & wax 2-in-1, the ultimate pick is Meguiar's Wash & Wax. This exceptional product offers the perfect combination of cleaning power and wax protection in a single solution. With Meguiar's Wash & Wax, you can effectively remove dirt, grime, and road contaminants while simultaneously leaving behind a protective layer of wax. The advanced formula effortlessly lifts away contaminants without stripping existing wax or sealants. The Wash & Wax is also gentle on all vehicle surfaces, including paintwork and clear coats. Its easy-to-use application allows for a quick and convenient cleaning process, saving you time and effort. With Meguiar's Wash & Wax, you can achieve a clean and glossy finish.

Meguiars Ultimate Wash & Wax Soap

Best Budget Car Soap - RainX Foaming Car Wash

This affordable yet effective product offers excellent value for money. Despite its budget-friendly price, RainX Foaming Car Wash Soap does not compromise on quality. It is specifically designed to provide a streak-free and spot-free finish, leaving your car looking clean and refreshed. The gentle formula is safe for all vehicle surfaces, including paintwork and clear coats. With RainX Foaming Car Wash Soap, you can achieve a thorough and budget-friendly clean without breaking the bank.

RainX Foaming Car Wash Soap

Best Car Wash Soap For Hard Water - Optimum No Rinse

If you're facing the challenge of washing your car with hard water, especially in direct sunlight or in the heat, our top pick is Optimum No Rinse. This remarkable product is specifically formulated to tackle the challenges posed by hard water. Optimum No Rinse utilizes advanced technology that allows you to wash your car without the need for excessive rinsing, making it ideal for areas with limited water supply or hard water conditions. Its unique formula encapsulates dirt particles, preventing them from scratching the surface during the washing process. Not only does Optimum No Rinse efficiently clean your vehicle, but it also leaves behind a protective layer that enhances the shine and provides some level of surface protection. This soap is versatile and can be used for various car washing methods, including rinse-less and waterless methods. With Optimum No Rinse, you can achieve a spotless, water-efficient car wash even in areas with hard water.

Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine soap

Best Soap For Ceramic Coated Vehicles - Majestic Solutions Shield Bath

This top-of-the-line product is infused with SIO2, a key ingredient that enhances its performance on ceramic-coated vehicles. The SIO2 infusion in Shield Bath provides an added layer of protection, durability, and hydrophobicity to the ceramic coating. This means that not only does Shield Bath effectively clean the vehicle's surface, but it also rejuvenates and strengthens the existing ceramic coating. With Majestic Solutions Shield Bath's SIO2 infusion, you can confidently maintain the pristine condition and long-lasting benefits of your ceramic coated vehicle.

Majestic Solutions Shield Bath soap


What Soap Do Professional Car Detailers Use?

Professional car detailers often use high-quality, pH-balanced soaps specifically formulated for automotive use. These soaps are designed to effectively clean the vehicle's surface without causing any damage or stripping away protective coatings.

Does It Really Matter Which Car Soap You Use?

Yes, it does matter which car soap you use. Using high-quality car soap ensures proper cleaning and protection for your vehicle's paint and finish. Using the wrong soap can potentially damage the paint and leave behind residue or streaks.

Is It Bad For Me To Use Dish Soap?

It is not recommended to use dish soap for washing your car. Dish soaps are designed to remove grease and grime from dishes and can be too harsh for automotive paint. They can strip away protective coatings, dull the paint, and even cause drying and cracking.

Can the wrong car shampoo damage your vehicle's paint?

Yes, using the wrong car shampoo can potentially damage your vehicle's paint. Harsh or abrasive shampoos can strip away protective coatings, cause scratches or swirl marks, and dull the paint's finish. It is important to use a high-quality car shampoo specifically formulated for automotive use.

How often should you wash your car using quality car shampoo?

The frequency of washing your car using quality car shampoo depends on various factors such as weather conditions, driving conditions, and personal preferences. However, as a general guideline, washing your car once a month is a good starting point. Adjust the frequency based on the level of dirt, road grime, and environmental factors your vehicle is exposed to. Regular washing helps maintain the cleanliness and protection of your vehicle's paint.


In the end, there's no "one size fits all", different soaps may work better for your vehicle than they do for someone else's, and of course, these aren't the only options you have. As long as you find a soap or shampoo that works best for you and take care of your vehicle, that's really all that matters. With that being said, I hope you found this article helpful and will be inspired to venture out and clean up your vehicle!


Cummings Mobile Detailing logo

About Cummings Mobile Detailing

Here at Cummings Mobile Detailing, we strive to provide the best quality interior and exterior car, truck & van detailing, and more importantly, the best customer relationships.

With our large service area, accompanied by our mobile detailing setup, we are capable of servicing vehicles in locations including your home or workplace. We are based in Rolesville North Carolina, and we service vehicles in Wake Forest, Raleigh, Garner, and more. Our objective is to keep your vehicle looking great on a schedule that fits your needs. No job is too big or too small.

We seek to deliver high-quality service at a reasonable price. That's why our service packages are affordable and tailored to your vehicle to help you get the most out of each and every detail. The best part about having a mobile setup is that we make it easy to keep your vehicles looking great by offering on-site detailing so you can go about your day as usual

Before you go through the hassle of going to a car wash or detailing your vehicle yourself, give us a call today or click here for more information!


*Links provided in this article are not affiliate links.


bottom of page