Keeping your vehicle clean and neat is important not only so that you’re not driving with a dirty, dingy car, but also so you can prevent expensive maintenance costs from worn-out parts and components filled with dirt and debris.
There’s also no reason for you to not clean your car since all you need is a decent car wash soap along with lots of water and a bit of effort. However, finding the right car wash show can be difficult. There are plenty of products on the market that produce mediocre results and come with unbearable scents.
Sometimes, you might even find yourself not having a car wash soap on hand at all.
Here’s some good news for you: there are lots of car wash soap alternatives available that you can use to clean your car. We’ve listed down some of the best options that you can try so you can get your car to look squeaky clean in no time.
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- 8 Best Car Wash Soap Alternatives
- How to wash your car with available home ingredients
- Overview: Car wash soap alternative
8 Best Car Wash Soap Alternatives
1. Laundry detergent
One of the best alternatives to car wash soap is mild laundry detergent like the allLiquid laundry detergent, because it uses a potent formulation that can remove almost any kind of buildup and grime on your vehicle.
You just need to be careful when using mild laundry detergent so that you don’t damage your vehicle’s paint job, since some of the more aggressive detergents can be quite harsh on paint. So, make sure that you’re not using an aggressive formulation, and also check whether the pain type you’ve got on your car can handle washing with detergent.
For best results, dilute the laundry detergent with water before applying it on your vehicle’s surface.
2. Liquid dish soap
Another excellent option is dish liquid soap like the Dawn ultra dishwashing liquid, since it can effectively cut through grease, thereby making it ideal for cleaning cars covered in greasy and oily residue.
It’s also highly effective in removing dirt and grime, though dish soap may leave its own residue, so you need to be ready to put in some work with polishing your car afterward.
Do make sure that you also dilute the dish liquid soap with water to make sure that it won’t be too harsh on your vehicle’s paint job. And even then, only use it sparingly since too much dish soap could ruin the paint.
3. Hand soap
If your car isn’t that dirty and you’ve got no car wash soap lying around, you may try using regular hand soap like the EO hand soap. It’ll be a little difficult to use since it’s not really as effective as car wash soap, but with some effort, it can still do a pretty good job.
However, you will need lots of product to be able to wash your entire vehicle and also get the right amount of foam you want. This shouldn’t really be a problem since hand soap is relatively cheap, especially as compared to car wash soap. In fact, hand soap is widely available and even comes in a wide selection of amazing scents.
Again, be prepared to spend lots of time cleaning your car if you’re going to use hand soap. And if your car is very dirty and covered in quite a bit of stuck-on debris that is difficult to remove, it might be best if you use other, more potent alternatives.
4. Regular household cleaners
You can also use regular household cleaners like the Method all-purpose cleaner as a car wash soap alternative. After all, the reason why these cleaning agents are used on just about everything is that they come with a versatile formulation that is highly effective in cleaning all types of dirt and buildup.
That said, most household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that may be damaging to your car’s paint job, so you need to be very careful when using them in order to not fade, chip, or damage your paint.
What you need to do is to first choose a mild type of household cleaner, then further water it down to reduce its harshness and make it more suitable for use as a car cleaner alternative.
5. Baking soda
Another popular home cleaning solution used by most people is baking soda from Arm & Hammer. In some ways, it’s actually more versatile than household cleaners since you can use baking soda for everything, from eliminating odors, to washing dishes and cleaning out certain appliances.
Naturally, it’s also suitable for a car wash alternative. However, you need to mix it with warm water and dishwashing liquid to make a good cleaning solution that will deliver satisfactory results.
And like most other alternatives on this list, you will also need to dilute it with more water to ensure that it won’t cause damage to your paint job.
6. Baby shampoo
If you want a product with a gentler formulation that will be safe to use on your car’s delicate paint job, one of your best options is baby shampoo like the Aveeno baby shampoo, which is intended for sensitive skin, thereby making it great for your car’s sensitive paint. Still, diluting it with water is always a good idea.
Now, since the solution isn’t really harsh, it will be tough to use if you’re dealing with a heavy buildup of dirt and grime. Baby shampoo is best used for cleaning your car windows and removing bird droppings from the roof and windshield.
Furthermore, you need to ensure that you wipe the product as soon as you finish using it to clean your vehicle since leaving the baby shampoo on your car service for too long may fade the paint job.
7. Hair conditioner
You may also resort to using hair conditioner like the ones from Dove to clean your vehicle if you’re not really particular about getting a spotlessly clean finish, and are just hoping to get rid of some of that annoying buildup and residue on your car.
Here, it’s important to be careful with what hair conditioner you’re using, specifically, what ingredients it contains. For instance, certain harsh ingredients can cause permanent paint damage. On the other hand, some ingredients are more helpful than others when it comes to eliminating grime.
These include lanolin, which not only helps you clean your car, but also leaves a nice shine on the surface so you can enjoy that freshly waxed look. It even leaves a nice water repellent layer that protects your paint job for longer.
8. Car wheel cleaner
Don’t have any car wash soap but still got some Meguiar’s car wheel cleaning product lying around? Go ahead and use it- it will likely feature the same formulation as your regular car wash soap, with the addition of some extra ingredients intended to better clean your wheels.
You will just need to dilute the car wheel cleaner by adding some water to make it more suited for washing your vehicle, and more delicate for the car’s paint job. Furthermore, don’t leave it on your vehicle any longer than what’s necessary so as not to fade the paint.
How to wash your car with available home ingredients
1. Clean the car’s exterior
The first step to cleaning your car no matter what product you’re using is to shower it with water by using a bucket or a hose in order to loosen any buildup and residue on the surface. Then, soak your car with your preferred cleaning solution, such as a mixture of a few teaspoons of baby shampoo and a gallon of water.
A few tips: if you are cleaning your vehicle during the winter season, you might want to add a cup of baking powder to the soapy water in order to better clean off grime and salt. Or, if you are removing tree sap and bird droppings during the summer, try using denatured alcohol. You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean your windshield wipers and eliminate grime.
2. Clean the center console and all hard surfaces
Moving on to the interiors of your vehicle, take a rag and with it with a bit of water, then use this damp rag in wiping all the hard surfaces including the center console. You will also use fabric softener sheets to clean your car interiors by dipping it in a mix of rubbing alcohol and water and using it to wipe the interiors.
You may also use toothpaste to remove tough stains on leather, or even rubbing alcohol if the toothpaste proves unsatisfactory. If there is tough dirt or grime in the vehicle’s interior, a good option is to use a balanced mixture of linseed oil and vinegar.
3. Clean fabric materials
When it comes to cleaning the fabric materials in your vehicle, just use your vacuum to suction any trash and dirt, then take some cornstarch to remove any grease stains. Sprinkle it on the stain, then apply an equal mixture of water and vinegar. Leave it on for a bit then rub the stain out by using a wet cloth.
4. Clean the car windows
To make a homemade car window cleaner, mix together 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/4 cup of alcohol. Spray resolution on the windows to remove stubborn bugs platter. Wipe everything clean with a steel wool and a rug, working your way from the top going down.
Overview: Car wash soap alternative
As you can see, there are many alternatives that you can use to wash your car. You don’t have to be limited to buying expensive car wash soap. However, it’s important to always check your cleaning product whether they will be suitable for use on delicately painted services since not all cleaning products are the same.
For instance, newer cars may be cleaned with just about anything, but you’ll still want to use a mild formulation so as to keep your paint job looking good as the day you bought your car. On the contrary, older vehicles may require a different homemade alternative that offers some polishing capabilities to try and preserve the car’s fading paint.