Driver's Guide

How to Make Homemade Car Wash Soap

It’s important that you know how to make homemade car wash soap. Of course, your car can be in a mess at any time, and you may run out of car soap.

how to make homemade car wash soap

Homemade car was soap is less expensive than a commercially- manufactured car shampoo. Moreover, the procedures for producing homemade car wash soap are simple enough. Soap manufacturers make the procedures appear more difficult, though.

Depending on how you combine the ingredients for your DIY car wash soap, it may be harmful to your vehicle finishing. Some experts disapprove of the use of homemade car wash soap, but is homemade car wash soap worth it? Your homemade car wash soap would not be harmful when you follow the steps in this guide.

Requirements for DIY Car Wash Soap

The ingredients required for a car wash are easy to obtain. They include:

  • A small bucket
  • Warm water
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Powdery detergent (optional)
  • Borax

However, avoid products that contain acetone. This sort of product may include Raid insect spray, nail polish remover, etc. These products can degrade the car paint faster by dissolving the clear coat, which attracts rust.

How to Make Homemade Car Wash Soap

This section covers the steps to follow to make your homemade car wash soap safely. Below are the steps to follow regarding how to make homemade car wash soap:

Prepare the Bucket

First, prepare a small bucket and fill it with warm water. Pour in a cup of liquid dish detergent to create foam. Due to the addition of warm water, the defect of the detergent on the car reduces, so the detergent does not entirely affect the gloss or vehicle paint.

You need an alkali-free soap because alkali can the car paint while removing dirt and grease from the car. But if the liquid soap contains alkali, you would have to wax the vehicle after washing it.

Add Powdery Detergent

Optionally, you can add 12 tablespoons of petroleum-based powdered laundry detergent to your homemade car wash soap. A petroleum-based laundry detergent is phosphate and chlorine-free.

Depending on the quantity of car wash soap you require, you can increase the number of powdery and liquid detergents. Make sure to rinse your vehicle thoroughly to remove the soap from the car body.

When selecting your detergent, buy a detergent that can make lots of suds. You may purchase biodegradable detergent since soapy water will soak into your yard when washing the car to protect the environment.

Pour in Borax

You can avoid streaks by adding borax to the car wash soap mixture of warm water, liquid dishwashing detergent, and powdered laundry detergent. The purpose of borax is to get rid of detergent and dish soap residues on the car paint.

Is Homemade Car Wash Soap Effective?

Yes, homemade car wash soap is effective for washing your car, but expert-manufactured car wash soap is better. When using homemade car wash soap, you must be careful not to add excessive liquid and powdery detergent. Make sure to use warm water to reduce the chemical strength of the detergent and make it milder to avoid scratching or damaging the car paint.

Cons of Powdery Detergent

Note that laundry detergents typically contain strong degreasers, including other chemicals that break up oil on clothing.

It’s okay to use it once on your vehicle since a one-time usage does not damage the paint. Prolonged usage makes the paint dull, similar to the defect of dish-washing detergent.

Instead of using homemade paints always to wash your car, you could get an affordable and dedicated car wash soap produced by experts. You do not have to rinse your vehicle thoroughly since detergent residues are not left behind.

Cons of Liquid Soap

Liquid dish soap, including Palmolive and Dawn, does not damage the finish/paint of vehicles. However, they contain solvent additives that dissolve cooking grease and oil, which would also dissolve the protective wax on your car.

So, the reason liquid soap is a harmful ingredient in your homemade car wash soap is that its additives wash off the protective wax on your car. The finish of your car now becomes vulnerable to contaminants such as road salt, dirt, grease, and bird droppings.

After washing a car with your DIY car wash soap, make sure to clean the surface thoroughly to get rid of the soap residues. The final step is to coat the vehicle with wax to serve as protection for the paint/finish.

Affordable Car Wash Alternatives

Homemade car wash soap that does not contain car wash soap is mild for the car paint and convenient in the absence of car wash soap. It is also a cheap alternative to avoid damaging your car paint. Nonetheless, you would require professionally-made and special car wash soaps to keep your vehicle shiny for the long term.

  1. Meguiar’s G7101FFP Gold Class

  • ONLY ONE STEP: Meguiar's Gold Class foaming car wash soap simplifies your car cleaning routine by combining cleaning and conditioning into one easy step. Save time and effort while achieving a flawless, factory-looking finish.
  • CLEAN AND PRESERVE: Featuring an advanced formula, this powerful car shampoo and conditioner not only cleans your car, but it’s also gentle enough to preserve any existing wax protection. No more sacrificing protection for cleanliness!
  • THE PERFECT PROFESSIONAL CLEAN: Experience the ultimate clean with this eco friendly car wash soap. Its biodegradable formula forms powerful suds that easily pick up and foam away even the toughest dirt, road grime, and contaminants.
  • LONG-LASTING RADIANT LOOK: Say goodbye to dull and faded paint and hello to the ultra-rich paint conditioners Meguiar's Gold Class foam car wash uses to leave the surface looking radiant, renewed, and ready for car show season.
  • FOAM CANNON READY: Meguiar's Gold Class car wash is versatile enough to be used in either a bucket or in a car wash kit with foam gun. Simply dilute the soap 5:1 before using it with a foam cannon for a professional-level clean.
  • FOAM CANNON READY: Dilute Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash 5:1 when used with a foam cannon

Feature and Details

  • This car wash soap is excellent for washing as weekly maintenance.
  • It is PH-neutral, which encourages gentle car wash and leaves no paint scratches.
  • You can use it for foam gun or two-bucket wash conveniently.
  • The manufacturer designs it with extra slick to prevent scratches when washing your vehicle.

After rinsing your vehicle, this car wash soap does not leave residues behind. The rinsing water is able to wash off every bit of the car soap. You can also use a small amount to clean the interiors of your vehicle with a small amount of water.

  1. Chemical Guy

  • 10 plus YEARS OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS – Mr. Pink has been available on Amazon since 2012 and consistently gets the best ratings and reviews (40,000 plus and growing). It’s one of the best-selling products in the history of Chemical Guys. Don’t believe us. Check out the reviews and ratings on this page.
  • FOAMY FUN – The key to a clean car or a complete detail starts with a great wash. The best way to wash your car, truck, SUV, RV or Jeep is to use a product that creates a lot of foam. Mr. Pink produces thick, dirt fighting bubbles that help clean any vehicle.
  • BUCKET, FOAM GUN OR CANNON – Whether you are washing with a wash mitt and bucket, a foam gun connected to your garden hose, or a foam cannon connected to your pressure washer, Mr. Pink is the right car wash soap to deliver loads of foam and suds to get a great wash.
  • MADE IN AMERICA – Each bottle of Mr. Pink is proudly produced in the USA. We celebrate the happiness of clean cars each day in our Southern California headquarters as well as our Detail Garage retail store locations throughout the country.
  • CONCENTRATED – A little bit goes a long way. Just add 1-3 oz. of Mr. Pink to a 5 gallon wash bucket or to a 32 oz. solution tank for your foam cannon or foam gun and you are ready to experience a foam frenzy.
  • SMELLS GREAT, LOOKS GREAT, FEELS GREAT – Washing your car should not only be fun, but it should make you feel good. It makes you feel awesome when your ride looks clean and new. We’ve created Mr. Pink to not only make your wash better and easier, but also, the amazing candy scent adds to your car washing experience.
  • PH BALANCED – Other detailing shampoos and low grade car wash soaps are often too strong, stripping wax and staining plastic and rubber parts. Mr. Pink is pH balanced and gentle on all exterior automobile parts like paint, clear coat, polished metals, glass, and plastic trim. It's safe on waxes, sealants and ceramic coatings too.

Features and Details

Many consumers recommend using this car wash soap for the best experience. It allows deep cleaning high foam soap that cuts through your vehicle dirt, grease, etc., for an excellent wash.

After rinsing the vehicle and water evaporates, no spot is. You do not also require a towel for drying your vehicle because you might end up scratching the paint unknowingly.

The spot-free formula sheens water off your car easily, making it possible to drive in a shiny vehicle with a maintained finish. Of course, you can expect a bright shine on the car following the manufacturer’s use of concentrated formula.

  1. Rain-X 620034 Spot Free

  • Convenience From Start to Finish - Deep Cleaning Foam Car Wash Cuts Through Dirt and Debris; Saving Time and Promoting Convenience - Just Wash, Rinse, Air Dry, and Go - No Towel Drying Needed
  • Environmentally Conscious - The Formula is Safe For The Environment, Biodegradable and pH balanced to not harm any exterior surfaces of your vehicle or the world around you
  • Concentrated Formula - This Concentrated Spot-Free Foaming Car Wash Requires Only 1oz of Formula to 1 Gallon of Water To Leave a Bright Spot-Free Shine On the Vehicle Without Stripping Wax
  • For Best Results - Avoid Washing the Car in Direct Sunlight. Wash One Section at a Time in the Shade; For Newly Waxed Surfaces, Pour a Little Car Wash Directly on Sponge/Wash Mitt Prior to Washing
  • Brand Name You Can Trust - Drivers Have Trusted Rain-X for Superior Car Cleaning Products Giving Vehicle Owners the Confidence to do it Themselves While Getting Professional Results

Features and Details

Uses powerful cleaners to get rid of dirt and road grime from cars. Following research, consumers rate this product 9/10 overall for car washing effectiveness.

It is designed with a spot-free formula that leaves no streak on the vehicle surface. The manufacturers also include additives that protect your car from waxing off, which exposes your car paint. This is also the con of using dish soap or detergent to wash your car.

By using this product, you are protecting the finishes on your automotive, including clear coats. It can also cut through tough grime and dirt on cars.

  1. Mothers 05664 California Gold

  • Careful balance of powerful cleaning and care to prevent dulling paint
  • Balanced pH for added safety even with continuous use
  • Super-sudsy formula resists water spotting
  • Designed to shine without removing wax
  • Regular use provides a long lasting benefit to your vehicle

Features and Details

  • Contains balanced pH for improved safety despite using it continuously unlike using dish soap or detergent, which is not advisable.
  • It can retain your vehicle shine without removing the protective wax.
  • The super-sudsy formula used in this car wash soap prevents water spots that may contain paint-damaging residues.

This car wash paint is your best bet in terms of a balance of powerful cleaning/care to avoid car paint/finish dulling.

Note that you can use this car wash soap regularly without losing the paint appearance of your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

When making your homemade car wash soap, avoid phosphate or chlorine soaps; they are not environment-friendly. Phosphate is known to damage the car paint/finish clear coat, as well as the environment.

Make use of biodegradable or vegetable-oil-based soaps to mix with the warm water and powdery detergent in your small bucket.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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