Washing your car yourself allows you to take extra car and use a quality car wash shampoo. It is also far cheaper than paying a valeting company and you get the satisfaction when the paintwork is left gleaming.
The best car shampoo is the AutoGlym Bodywork Shampoo, which is pH neutral and lifts traffic film without harming polished or waxed surfaces.
Many people make the mistake of using basic washing up liquid to wash their cars. This can have the result of stripping any car wax that you have applied to the car because it is not pH neutral.
Table of Contents
- Best Car Shampoo
- Car Shampoo Buying Guide
Best Car Shampoo
|AutoGlym Bodywork Shampoo||Bucket||500ml to 2.5 Litres|
|Meguiar’s Gold Class||Bucket||1.89 Litres|
|Gtechniq G Wash||Bucket||250ml to 5 Litres|
|Turtle Wax Zip Wax||Bucket||500ml to 5 Litres|
|AutoGlym Polar Blast||Pressure Washer||2.5 Litres|
|Pro-Kleen Thick Snow Foam||Pressure Washer||5 Litres|
Investing into the best car shampoo you can get your hands on is highly recommended for a safe yet effective wash. Using less superior shampoos can leave streaks on the paintwork and strip wax.
Car shampoo is available in several forms and can be used by the traditional bucket method or a pressure washer. To avoid disappointment, you will want to ensure you have the correct type depending upon your washing method.
Below is a list of the best car shampoos that effectively remove dirt and grime without effecting waxed surfaces.
AutoGlym Car Bodywork Shampoo
AutoGlym are one of the biggest detailing brands in the UK and their car wash shampoo is by far the most popular. The popularity is mainly due to the value for money and it’s ability to effortlessly remove dirt and grime.
The brand offer this car wash shampoo in either a 500ml or 2.5 litres bottle, which the larger capacity offers the most value for money.
Other features of the AutoGlym Bodywork Car Shampoo include:
- pH neutral formula
- Deep cleaning and streak-free
- Special ingredients to boost water resistance
- Lifts traffic film without harming the waxed surface
- Concentrated solution
- Pear fragrance
The AutoGlym car wash shampoo is a high performing formula that is affordable and available in a large bottle. Simply fill the lid of the bottle with the shampoo, pour into a bucket full with hot water and you are ready to begin washing.
Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo
Meguiar’s are another reputable brand and their Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo is designed to gently wash and condition in one step. The formula produces rich suds that safely foam away tough dirt and other contaminants.
Other features of the Meguiar’s Gold Class include:
- 1.89 litre bottle
- Safe on all paint types
- Biodegradable detergents
- Ultra-rich paint conditioners
- Advanced formula doesn’t strip wax
- Produces a vast amount of suds
The Gold Class formula by Meguiar’s is an excellent all-round car shampoo that is loved by many enthusiasts and professionals. It is more expensive that the AutoGlym alternative but produces more suds for safely removing dirt.
Gtechniq G Wash Car Shampoo
Gtechniq are a detailing brand that produce premium products for the best results. The G Wash is no different and follows that great reputation. It has a high foam content that provides a powerful dirt and grime removal.
The brand offer this car wash shampoo in four sizes that range from 250ml to as large as a 5 litre capacity.
Other features of the Gtechniq G Wash include:
- Maximum gloss retention
- High quality foam content
- 100% biodegradable
- pH neutral
- Can be diluted
- Bubblegum scented
Although the G Wash shampoo by Gtechniq is the most expensive within this article, it is a professional grade formula. It is designed to break the bond between the dirt film and the paintwork whilst ensuring maximum gloss retention.
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Turtle Wax Zip Wax Car Wash Shampoo
The brand have been developing car shampoos for years but this is their new and improved carnauba enriched formula.
Other features of the Turtle Wax Zip Wax include:
- Gently washes away dirt and grime
- Dries spot-free
- Wash and wax carnauba formula
- Concentrated solution
- Cleans all exterior surfaces
- Multiple bottle sizes
Overall, the Turtle Wax Zip Wax is a deep cleaning car shampoo that offers excellent value for money. The inclusion of carnauba in the formula adds a layer of protection to the paintwork, which help maintains the shine and protection.
AutoGlym Polar Blast Pressure Washer Car Shampoo
If you use a pressure washer to wash your car, you can use a specific shampoo that dispenses directly from your pressure washer. The best option for producing rich snow foam is the AutoGlym Polar Blast.
The formula is available in an affordable 2.5 litre bottle that you can pour straight into your pressure washer or snow foam lance container.
Other features of the AutoGlym Polar Blast include:
- pH neutral pre-wash formula
- Clings onto the paintwork much longer than alternatives
- Effectively removes dirt and contamination
- Doesn’t remove any wax from the paintwork
- Easily diluted to suit your requirements on thickness
The polar blast formula can be used through a pressure washer or snow foam lance and requires 10 minutes to get to work. It is the best car shampoo for a pressure washer that is safe yet effective.
Pro-Kleen Snow Foam Car Shampoo
Pro-Kleen are a brand that are know for the snow foam lance that they produce. They also produce their own car shampoo that you can use and rivals the Polar Blast alternative by AutoGlym.
The brand claim that the formula includes rich ingredients and a generous amount of wax for unbeatable results.
Other features of the Pro-Kleen Snow Foam Car Shampoo include:
- Super thick suds
- 5 litres of shampoo
- Non-caustic formula
- Suitable for all snow foam lances
- Multiple fragrances to choose from
- Remove tough dirt from all exterior surfaces
Overall, it is an affordable car shampoo for snow foam lances that is able to produce the desirable thick suds. The brand claim that it is used by some of the best valeting companies in the UK and it will not disappoint.
Car Shampoo Buying Guide
Car shampoo is an essential product required for washing your car and is available in several forms. It is highly advised to avoid using household solution for washing your cars as they can be tough on the paintwork.
Depending upon whether you use a pre-wash technique, you may require two different shampoos for use with a pressure washer and then with a bucket.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding car shampoos.
pH Balanced Formula
The car shampoo that you use will need to maintain a pH balance that is similar to water. This prevents the shampoo stripping the wax that you have applied previously. Higher alkalinity does assist with breaking up dirt and can be useful in certain situations but shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.
If you drive a convertible with a fabric roof, you may want to avoid regular usage of a shampoo and instead use a dedicated convertible top cleaner.
Amount of Suds
Car shampoos that produce plenty of thick suds will be more effective at removing dirt particles without scratching the paintwork. This is an important feature of any car wash shampoo and you will be able to see the quality whilst comparing between different brands. However, some people may prefer the lack of suds because it provides a sheeting effect that lets water run off the paintwork.
Inclusion of Wax
Some formulas include carnauba wax and other special ingredients to make them standout from the hundreds of shampoos available. Although it is not strictly necessary, it is very beneficial for those that occasionally wash their car. If you intend on polishing or waxing the car straight after washing it, it isn’t really worthwhile paying extra.
Water Spot and Streak Resistant
After washing your car, there is nothing worse than seeing water spots or steaks upon the paintwork. They are made noticeable under direct sunlight or lighting and can make the car look worse than it did before it was cleaned.
Using a quick drying formula will prevent both of these issues and make washing your car slightly more easier.
Other Desirable Features
Many brands will state that their car wash shampoo formula is 100% biodegradable. Although this may not benefit your car, it is environmentally friendly because once the soap is removed from the car, it goes down the drain.
A benefit that will benefit the person washing the car is the scent from the car shampoo. There is an array of fragrances available and it makes using the shampoo slightly more enjoyable and you can often smell it from the car hours after.
Conditioning is often included in the formula of some car wash shampoos. They are designed to enhance the colour of your paintwork as well as making it more slippery, which improves water beading.
Most brands offer their shampoos in a range of different bottles sizes. If you want the best value for money, you will want to purchase the larger capacity bottles. It is worth noting that some formulas are concentrated, which means you may be getting more shampoo but just in a smaller bottle.
Best Tips For Washing Cars
The simple task of washing your car is something many people get wrong on a regular basis. Using an improper technique can increase the chances of swirl marks, scratches and other defects in the paintwork. Using the correct technique is only half the battle because you will also need to own the correct equipment.
We highly recommend that you adopt the “Two Bucket Method” to washing your car. You will need to purchase an extra bucket but it will ensure that the wash mitt that you are using remains clean.
You should also chuck away any sponges and invest into a proper wash mitt that captures dirt. If you use a sponge, the dirt becomes trapped between the paintwork and the sponge, which will cause scratches.
In terms of your technique, we recommend that you start with the wheels. Begin by using a wheel cleaner and allowing the formula to get to work. You can then spray away the residue and clean any leftover dirt with a wash mitt that is dedicated to your wheels.
Once the wheels are completed, you can fill up two wash buckets with warm water and the car shampoo. Starting from the top, begin to wipe down each panel and regularly dunk the wash mitt into the bucket using the Two Bucket Method.
Once every panel is cleaned, begin to dry the car using a microfiber drying towel. It is always to wash your car in the shade or not in direct sunlight. This will allow you time to properly dry the car and reduce the chances of water spots.
In order to safely wash your car and not strip any wax from the paintwork, you will need a quality car shampoo. There are hundreds to choose from but the above recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and car washing methods.
It may be tempting to use household cleaning products but you can cause damage to your paintwork. Considering most car wash shampoos are fairly cheap, it is strongly advised to buy the best you can afford.