Sometimes, going to a car wash is just too much of a bother. Why visit a car wash when you can wash your car at home. If you don’t have a car wash soap, you can use alternatives. Here are the best car wash soap alternatives.
- Dish Soap
- Hand Soap
- Baby Shampoo
- pH Neutral Shampoo
- Hair Conditioner
- Laundry Detergent
- Baking Soda
- Wheel Cleaner
Keep in mind that dedicated car wash soap is the most effective way to wash a car. There’s no doubt about it. Car wash soap alternatives will clean the car but won’t be as efficient. And, if not used properly, may cause damage to the paint.
There is a right way to use these alternatives, so don’t use them blindly. Here is a list of the best car wash soap alternatives.
The Best Car Wash Soap Substitutes
Absolutely, the best thing you can use as a car wash soap is dish soap. This alternative beats all the other alternatives. The reason is, it’s not that strong on the paint, and it’s the most effective at lifting off the dirt.
Dish soap is able to create a nice, slick foam that can be great for washing cars. Although it differs a little bit from dedicated car wash soap, the foam is still good enough.
The soap will lift off dirt and the foam will be slick enough to not cause any scratches while wiping. Dish soap should still be diluted when used on cars. Here’s a complete guide on how to make car wash soap.
Be careful though, don’t use any kind of dish soap. The basic dish soap with no additives should be fine. I recommend Dawn Dish Soap. Strong and acidic soaps will damage the paint.
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Hand soap is by far the safest option out of these alternatives. The only disadvantage to it is that it’s not as effective at cleaning dirt off cars.
The good thing is that it’s mild so it poses no damage to the paint job. The foam is not as slick but it will not cause any scratches.
The bad thing about it is that it won’t be able to remove all of the dirt from the car. The paint may look clean but there will still be some dirt particles stuck on the paint.
To wash a car with hand soap, you will need to dissolve. Don’t worry about the proportions though, regular hand soap is mild enough. I recommend using basic hand soap without any added scents or ingredients.
Another good substitute for car wash soap is baby shampoo. Again, a safe option. Baby shampoo is very mild and pH-neutral.
Since it’s specifically made for babies, it’s weak and contains harmless ingredients. So, there are no strong ingredients that may damage the paint.
As much as this is an advantage, it’s a disadvantage as well. Baby shampoo won’t be able to lift off all the dirt from the paint. You may have to apply the shampoo several times. Even so, there will still be dirt particles on the car.
There’s another disadvantage to using baby shampoo for washing a car. The foam created by baby shampoo is very thin. So, you may cause some scratches on the car. You may not notice them because they will be so minor.
You can also use regular shampoo instead of using baby shampoo. But you have to make sure that the shampoo is pH-neutral.
It’s the same idea as with the baby shampoo. You are using a mild detergent that will be safe on car paint. You still have to dilute with water though.
Be careful here. The shampoo can be neutral but if left on the paint long enough it can still cause damage. So, you will have to be quick with rinsing it away.
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have dish soap, hand soap, and baby shampoo on hand, you can try using a hair conditioner.
In general, it’s not the best alternative for car wash soap but it will get the job done. The good thing about using a hair conditioner to wash a car is that it will give it a nice shiny look.
The hair conditioner will have to be diluted. However, it will not create a nice foam that you can wash a car with. It’s best used when you first wash the car with something else and then add the hair conditioner.
Along with dish soap, laundry detergent is the most common alternative used for washing a car. It creates a slick foam and it’s quite efficient at lifting dirt off the car.
Laundry detergent is by far the strongest solution you can use for washing a car. That’s why laundry detergent needs to be diluted well enough so it doesn’t damage the paint.
Don’t use petroleum-based laundry detergent. Use petroleum-free laundry. I recommend laundry detergent for baby clothes. These are a bit milder and safer.
Also, don’t leave the foam to dry on the car, rinse it quickly so you avoid streaks on the paint.
The most common household item used for cleaning is baking soda. It can be used to wash the car’s exterior and interior.
Although baking soda is abrasive, when you dilute it, it’s safe to use for washing a car. All you need to do is dilute one cup of baking soda with a gallon of water.
Pour the solution on the car and wash with a sponge. Then, just rinse the car with a pressure washer or a garden hose.
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Lastly, a good alternative to car wash soap is wheel cleaner. If you don’t have a car wash on hand but you do have a wheel cleaner, you can use that.
The good thing about it is that you are still using a dedicated car cleaning product. Although it may not be as effective as a car wash soap, it will still lift off most of the dirt.
Don’t worry, wheel cleaner is safe to use on car paint. Just spray it on the body area and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Then, rinse the car.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Is Car Wash Soap Necessary
Yes, car wash soap is necessary when cleaning a car. Some kind of a cleaning solution to lift off dirt is needed. Otherwise, the dirt will not be cleaned off. There are alternatives to car wash soap but it’s recommended to use a dedicated car wash soap.
What Kind Of Soap Can I Use To Wash My Car
You can use hand soap and dish soap to wash a car besides using car wash soap.
Can I Use Dawn To Wash My Car
Dawn Dish Soap is probably the best alternative to car wash soap. You can use Dawn to wash your car if you dilute it properly.