Car Wash Soap Alternative: What Kind of Soap Can I Use to Wash My Car

One of the most common questions about car owners is, “What kind of soap can I use to wash my car, what are car wash soap alternatives?” 

The best soap to wash your car is the one that will get the job done. There are plenty of options out there, but all you need is water and a good wash mitt.

Of course, if you’re looking for something more specialized, there are plenty of great products out there that can help. Here’s a look at some of them:

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8 Car Wash Soap Alternatives To Use

We’re all about saving money, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 different options for you.

Dish Soap

Dish detergent is a good alternative to car soap because it cuts through grease, dirt, and grime with ease. It’s also cheap, which means you can save some cash by using this product instead of a dedicated wash lubricant.

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Shine Armor Fortify

If you’re looking for a specialty car cleaner, then look no further than Shine Armor Fortify. This product contains a blend of ingredients designed to protect your vehicle’s finish while also enhancing its appearance. 

Fortify uses nano-technology to provide long-lasting protection against UV damage and oxidation. Plus, it has an advanced formula that helps prevent streaks and smudges from appearing on your paint job.

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Hand Soap

Many people use hand soap to clean their cars because it’s biodegradable and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that could damage their paint jobs or clear coats. 

The only downside is that hand soap doesn’t always remove dirt from deep within cracks and crevices, so it may not be enough for some vehicles. You can try using hand soap in combination with other products like dish or shampoo soaps.

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Soaps with Enzymes 

Enzymes are used in many commercial laundry detergents and cleaners because they’re biodegradable and can break down dirt and grime. They’re also tough enough to remove stains from clothing, carpets, and furniture fabrics. 


Solvents are nonpolar chemicals that dissolve grease and oils from automotive surfaces without leaving behind any residue. In other words, they allow water to penetrate into hard-to-reach areas such as nooks and crannies where oil spills have accumulated over time (such as under the hood). 

Household Cleaner 

This type of soap will remove dirt and grime but won’t strip waxes or sealants from your vehicle’s paint job. It also won’t leave behind any residue that could damage the finish of your vehicle’s paint.

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Wheel Cleaner

Wheel cleaners are designed specifically for wheels and can remove brake dust and road grime without damaging delicate wheel finishes. They’re also great for getting rid of hard-to-remove brake dust on calipers and rotors.

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo is gentle enough to use on sensitive skin but tough enough to remove dirt and grime from almost any surface, including your car’s exterior. It’s also very cost-effective.

What Kind of Soap Can I Use to Wash My Car

There are a few different kinds of soap that can be used to wash your car. Each type has its pros and cons, so let’s take a look at how each one works and what you should be aware of before using it.

Mild Laundry Detergent

A mild laundry detergent like Tide or All Free Clear is fine for washing your car, but it doesn’t contain any real lubricants or oils like dish soap does. 

If you’re looking for something that will leave your car with that “just waxed” shine, this isn’t the right choice for you. However, if you’re just trying to get rid of dirt and stains, it’ll do just fine.

Automotive-Specific Soaps

Automotive-specific soaps also work well when washing your car. You’ll find these in auto supply stores and at some major grocery stores. These products are formulated to remove dirt from specific areas of your vehicle, such as plastic bumpers or vinyl seats.

What Is a Good Homemade Car Wash Solution?

Your car deserves a good wash, but the harsh chemicals in commercial car washes can damage your paint and tires. Make your own homemade car wash solution that’s safe for your car’s finish.

You will need:

  1. 1/4 cup baking soda
  2. 1/4 cup dishwashing soap (use a gentle formula such as Ivory)
  3. Warm Water

Mix Warm Water and 1/4 cup Baking Soda with 1/4 Cup Dishwashing Soap

Dilute 1 gallon of warm water with 1/4 cup baking soda. Stir until dissolved. Add 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid and stir thoroughly. Pour into a spray bottle and use to wash the vehicle with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth.

Car Wash Soap Alternative FAQs

Can I Use Baby Soap to Wash My Car?

You can use baby soap to wash your car, but it’s not the best option. Baby soap is designed to be very gentle and mild. It usually has no chemicals in it that can harm the paint on your car. However, it’s not as strong as dish soap or shampoo, so you need more of it to clean your vehicle.

Can I Use Hair Conditioner to Wash My Car?

Yes and no. Hair conditioner contains ingredients that are designed to make hair soft and shiny. Some of these ingredients may also be used in car waxes because they make the paint look better too. 

Will Vinegar Hurt the Paint on My Car?

No, vinegar will not hurt the paint on your car or any other vehicle’s finish if used properly according to the directions on its label. 

Can You Use Baking Soda to Wash a Car?

Baking soda is an abrasive that helps remove dirt from cars. It also has mild cleaning properties and helps prevent corrosion. However, baking soda is not recommended for use on most car surfaces because it can damage the paint and other parts of the vehicle.

What Takes Hard Water Spots Off Cars?

Hard water spots are a common problem with newer vehicles that have been washed in city water or have spent time in areas with hard water. The spots are caused by the minerals in tap water reacting with the wax or sealant applied to your car’s paint. 

These spots can be removed by using a wet-dry vacuum to remove them, or by applying rubbing alcohol to them and scrubbing them off with a towel or an old toothbrush. If your car has been washed with city water, you may also want to consider applying a protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectant after washing it to prevent future mineral buildup on your vehicle’s surface.

Can I Use Laundry Detergent for Car Wash?

Laundry detergents are highly alkaline in nature and will strip away all waxes from your car’s surface if used directly on it. The soap should only be used as a pre-soak solution for washing your vehicle, followed by rinsing with plain water so that no residue remains behind on the paintwork.

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