The Ultimate Beginners Guide For Making Car Wash Soap


Your car is due for a wash but you have no car wash soap? Or, are you tired of buying products that you can make yourself? Well, there’s no need for a trip to the store. You can make a homemade car wash soap with household ingredients. That’s what this guide is about, making a car wash soap, and car wash soap alternatives.

You can make a homemade car wash soap by diluting cleaning products like dish soap, baby shampoo, a mild laundry detergent, and liquid hand soap. All of these are good alternatives for car wash soap as long as they are diluted with water.

Let’s see how you can make these solutions and how to use them.

How To Make A Car Wash Soap

How To Make A Car Wash Soap

As I said in the short answer, you can use many household items to make a car wash solution. But not all of these work the same. More so, the way to make each solution is different. So, let’s take a look at each solution thoroughly.

Using Dish Liquid Soap

Liquid dish soap is probably the most common household item. You may not have some of the ingredients on this list in your home, but you definitely have dish soap. The reason why this is such a good alternative is that it’s not likely to ruin the paint. Dish soap is mild but it will still ruin the paint if you don’t dilute it.

As you will later see, some of the ingredients can’t be used on all parts of the car. Liquid soaps are the most versatile, so it’s a general cleaner. However, it’s not that good at taking out road grime and bird droppings.

To make a car wash solution using liquid soap, you will need:

  • 1 cup of dish soap.
  • 1 bucket of warm water

Just mix this well. You should get a bucket full of soapy water. Make sure the soap is diluted enough. I recommend using this on the body exterior. You can use it to clean pretty much anything but it won’t be as effective in some areas.

Using Baby Shampoo

Another good wash soap alternative is baby shampoo. Anything that is being used to clean babies is mild enough to clean your car. You still have to dilute it though. Same as with dishwashing soap, it’s best for cleaning the body. It won’t help with grime and hard-to-get-rid-of dirt though.

The trick with this cleaning solution is to rinse right away after applying the wash soap. Even though it’s mild, it can still damage the paint. It won’t break it apart, the paint will just lose some of its color. So, just don’t leave it too long on the car, rinse immediately.

To make a car wash mixture with baby shampoo, you will need:

  • 1 cup of baby shampoo.
  • 1 bucket of warm water.

There you go, just like with the dish soap. Honestly, no matter what you choose between these, you will get the same result. So, if you don’t have baby shampoo, go for the dish soap. If you don’t have mild soap, go for the shampoo.

Using Hand Soap

Using Hand Soap

Just like the dish soap, and the baby shampoo, hand soap is also a great choice. All three of these work the same. They all are mild. If you are worried about damaging your paint job, I would recommend picking either of these three.

You can use both liquid hand soap and normal hand soap. You will have to break it apart though, to get that soapy water. Make the solution just like before, 1 cup of hand soap, and 1 bucket of warm water.

Using A Laundry Detergent

Now, this is a strong alternative. I don’t know how comfortable you will be using this. Even if you are so, I recommend checking if your paint job can’t handle laundry detergent. Also, if you don’t have a layer of clear coat, do not try this. Without the clear coat, the paint is just directly exposed to the detergent.

Unlike the options listed above, this is not exactly a mild solution. So, it will get rid of road grime and bird droppings. However, you should still opt for a mild laundry detergent. Even the mild ones are way stronger than dish soap or hand soap.

To make a car wash mixture out of laundry detergent you will need:

  • 10 tablespoons of laundry detergent.
  • 1 bucket of water(warm).

I don’t know how dirty your car is. If there’s is too much grime, you can go as far as 12 tablespoons. But if you just want to give a nice clean touch, I recommend going even lower, 8 tablespoons. The thing is, you want to dilute this as much as possible but still get soapy water. Rinse with cold water immediately, and don’t leave the soap too long on the car.

Using Wheel Cleaners

I know that wheel cleaners aren’t exactly a household item. But I also know that if you like cleaning your car, you probably have a wheel cleaner. And, you can make do with it. It’s quite similar to the commercial soaps specifically made for cars. There are few added ingredients.

Make no mistake though, it still should be diluted. I don’t know if you will ever be in a situation where you don’t have dishwashing soap or hand soap but you have a wheel cleaner. Still, it’s nice to know this.

There are no exact measurements for making this, you will have to estimate yourself. You want to add a small amount of wheel cleaner, the smaller the better. Then, dilute it with warm water. It can be harsh on the paint job, so be careful. Same rules as with the laundry detergent.

That’s it for the general detergents. Chance is, you will have trouble getting rid of grime and making the windows shiny. So, let’s talk about that for a second.

How To Clean Road Grime & Bird Droppings

How To Clean Road Grime & Bird Droppings

I guess that the mild solutions didn’t help much with tar, grime, and dirt that’s hard to get rid of. Have you tried laundry detergent? Even the laundry detergent won’t help in some situations. Also, I know that some of you don’t want to clean the car with powdered laundry detergent.

To get rid of that nasty dirt, you will need something that will react with the dirt. Since this is a guide focused on household items, I have just the solution for you, baking soda! The baking soda will dissolve the stuck dirt.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of mild soap.
  • 1 bucket of hot water.
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda.

Just mix this in a bucket and apply it with a soft cloth. Then, rinse with a water hose or with buckets of cold water.

How To Clean Windows & Windshield

How To Clean Windows & Windshield

Now, I’m not saying that the solutions listed so far won’t clean your windows and windshield. It’s just that you won’t get that shiny look you are looking for. Most likely, you will have trouble getting rid of those water spots. Luckily, I have a solution for you.

We will be using vinegar for this. The thing with vinegar is that it’s an acid. So, you want it to stay on the windows and not touch anything else. We are going to dilute it but still, let’s be safe. That’s why it’s best to use a spray bottle for this detergent.

You will need:

  • Microfiber cloth.
  • A Spray Bottle.
  • Half a tablespoon of mild soap.
  • A quarter of a cup of white vinegar.
  • 2 cups of water.

Put the vinegar in a spray bottle with the water. My advice is to use distilled water, it won’t leave any dirt marks or water spots. Then, add the soap to the bottle. Spray it on your windshield and windows. Make sure that it does not touch any body parts. Lastly, wipe with a microfiber cloth or paper towels. You want that squeaky sound while you are wiping, that means no water spots. You can use this for washing the wiper blades too.

Additional Cleaning Tips

  • Do not use the same bucket for washing cars and for rinsing. There will be soap residue left in the bucket. Use two buckets, one bucket of water for rinsing, one for the soap. 
  • Always use clean water for the detergent and for rinsing
  • If you have a WD-40, you can use it to get rid of bird poop.
  • Some people use hair conditioners as a car wash soap alternative. Diluted hair conditioners, of course.
  • If you are too lazy to do this, or you are just scared of damaging the paint surface, just go to a professional car wash place. I recommend this for cars with a special paint type.
  • Check the chemical composition of each product you are using, make sure there are no harsh chemicals.
  • Consider adding a coat of wax after washing your car.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Is Dish Soap Bad For Cars

It depends on how mild the dish soap is. Dish soap on its own is bad for cars. However, if it’s diluted with water, the soap shouldn’t be bad for the car. Provided that you rinse right away.

What Soap Is Safe To Use On Cars

The safest soap for washing cars is a dedicated car wash soap. There are alternatives to this though. Baby shampoo, dish soap, and hand soap, all can be diluted to be used on cars. Make sure that the product is mild though. If it’s too hard on the skin, it’s too hard for your car.

Recent Posts