Can You Wash a Car with Dish Soap?
Dish soap, such as Dawn, is used by many everyday people to wash their cars. There are many articles online about car wash soap alternatives, which typically list dishwashing liquid as #1!
Unfortunately, the idea that dishwashing detergent is good and safe to use on your car is widespread.
You should NOT use dishwashing liquid, or any other household soap, to wash your car for many reasons.
Here are the true reasons why you should not use wash a car with dish soap and what you should use instead!
Dish soap is intended to remove grease and tough food particles. Therefore, it is too harsh and strong to be used on your car’s paint.
Using any harsh product on your car repeatedly could eventually cause damage. This is why I often recommend using cleaning products designed specifically for cars.
It’s Difficult to Rinse
Washing your car with dish soap will also cause other issues. It is much harder to rinse off with a normal hose.
Dishwashing liquid sticks to the paint more than normal car wash soap, causing it to be extremely difficult to rinse of with just a garden hose.
If soap is leftover on your car when it dries, it will leave a residue on the car.
This will ruin the time spent washing your car and may even cause additional damage by sitting on the car’s paint over time.
It Strips Wax
Since dish soap is harsh and meant to remove grease and other substances, it will remove any wax on your car.
So, if you just spent time last weekend waxing your car (or maybe even paid someone to do it), all that work will be gone if you wash your car with dish soap.
Although, sometimes you may want to strip wax. For this, I recommend using a wax stripping car soap, such as Clean Slate by Chemical Guys.
What About Other Car Wash Soap Alternatives?
So if you can’t use dishwashing detergent, what household cleaning product can you safely use to wash your car’s exterior?
To put it simply, no household cleaner should be used as a car wash soap alternative.
Every type of soap in your house has a different purpose, such as hand soap, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, etc.
Your car is no different, as it requires a milder chemical mixture that still cleans the surface effectively.
Using homemade car wash soaps can result in unintended results and even damage to your car’s paint. It is much safer to stick to a soap that is safe to use on your car.
So What Type of Soap Should You Use?
Using products not designed for vehicles can yield unwanted results.
You should use a designated car wash soap to wash your car, not a household soap such as dishwashing liquid.
Car wash soap is designed to keep wax on your vehicle and is not harsh on your paint.
For car wash soap, I use and recommend Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash.
Meguiar’s is a trusted name in auto detailing and this product effectively removes dirt and grime without stripping wax.
It is a high-quality product at an affordable price and I highly recommend it.
There are also car wash soaps that wash and wax your car at the same time. This is quicker and more convenient, as it integrates waxing into the washing process.
Although it may be easier, it will not offer the same level of protection as paste wax.
A wash and wax car soap could be used to maintain your wax protection, but should not replacing waxing entirely.