Best Car Wash Soaps

best car wash soap

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • We think the best car soap in 2024 is Chemical Guys with their Honeydew Snow offering great cleaning power.
  • Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds offers excellent value for the cost.
  • Armor All’s Car Wash Formula is extra tough on grime.

Thinking about using dish soap to wash your car? Think again.

Car wash soaps, much like shampoos that we use on ourselves, are specially designed for a specific surface type to improve long-term health and prevent damage. The right soap for your car, therefore, should be chosen with care. Fortunately, our team of expert reviewers has tested the best car wash soaps on the market to help you find the right one for your vehicle.

Car Wash Soaps Reviews

Five of the best car wash soaps as tested and reviewed by our auto product team.

The car wash soaps in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching retailers like Amazon, RealTruck, and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors such as lubricity, pH balance, customer ratings, and prices.

What Are The Best Car Wash Soaps?

Based on scent, concentration, foaminess, and streak and spot resistance, our favorite car wash soaps are:

  • Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow
  • Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds
  • Armor All Car Wash Formula
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax
  • Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo

Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

Best Car Wash Soap: Our Testing Process

After looking at factors such as industry reputations, customer ratings, and prices, our product testing team ordered the car wash soaps that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a sedan, taking note of how well the car wash soap cleaned the car, how well it smelled, and the foaminess and concentration of the formulas. Each car wash soap was given a rating out of 5.0 stars based on these criteria.

Learn more about how we tested car wash soaps here.

1. Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow: Best Car Wash Soap

The Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow being used to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $10.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (Approximately 24,000 ratings)
  • Available in 16.0-, 64.0-, and 128.0-ounce sizes
  • One cap of soap per 5.0 gallons of water
  • Honeydew melon scent

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Review

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow is our top pick because of its formidable cleaning capabilities at a price that won’t break your budget. Its concentrated formula makes car cleaning a breeze for the everyday motorist and will leave the surface of your car shiny and protected.

The soap’s honeydew aroma is also enticing and pairs well with its spot-free shine. You can see how the Honeydew Snow fared during testing:

Below are the pros and cons of the Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow:

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow: Our Experience

Because the Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow soap scored well across all of our team’s review categories, we highly recommend it. It smelled amazing, and we couldn’t get enough of the snow-like foam it formed over our testing car.

  • Scent: As its name implies, this soap smells just like a fresh honeydew melon. The scent isn’t too overpowering, so sensitive noses can breathe easily.
  • Concentration: For our testing purposes, we used less than an oz. of soap with a 1.0-gal. bucket and were nearly overwhelmed with the suds it produced.
  • Foaminess: The Honeydew Snow foamed easily with medium stirring and spread easily across the test car. Suds created a snow foam layer over the car that was easy to scrub and eventually rinse.
  • Streak/Spot Resistance: Our vehicle had no evidence of streaks after washing. Water spots were also not present. Additionally, this car wash soap polishes automotive clear coats nicely.

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow: What Customers Are Saying

Many reviewers rave about the car wash soap’s foaming abilities, likening it to a layer of snow that rests on their cars. They also like the scent that comes along with it. Many positive reviews are from car owners who used pressure washers to spray their vehicles and microfiber towels for drying.

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2. Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds: Best Value

The Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds being used to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $9.99
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 (Approximately 48,000 ratings)
  • Available in 16.0-, 64.0-, and 128.0-oz. sizes
  • One cap of soap per gal. of water
  • Light fruity smell

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds Review

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink is the number one bestseller on Amazon for car wash soaps because of its excellent grime-stopping properties. Its suds-heavy formula of slick polymers and hyper surfactants is superb at lifting dirt from vehicles, reducing the amount of time you need to spend scrubbing.

Below is a scorecard of how well Chemical Guy’s Mr. Pink formula performed during testing:

Below are the pros and cons of the Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds:

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds: Our Experience

One thing we really enjoyed about using Mr. Pink was its high amount of suds produced with minimal effort.

  • Scent: Although the Mr. Pink soap had a fruity and slightly chemical smell, it wasn’t very strong during or after the wash.
  • Concentration: An oz. of soap was plenty for our 1.0-gal. water bucket to start foaming with medium-effort mixing.
  • Foaminess: There’s a reason Chemical Brothers calls this “super suds.” We were blown away by the amount of foam produced, which rinsed well off of the car.
  • Streak/Spot Resistance: We found no noticeable residue left from Mr. Pink, even after drying.

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds: What Customers Are Saying

A whopping 76 percent of all reviews are 5.0 stars. Many of the positive reviews praise the Mr. Pink Super Suds cleaner for its powerful foaming ability and compatibility with waxed cars.

While there are few negative reviews about this product, some of the positive ones recommend using a foam gun or foam cannon for the best results.

3. Armor All Car Wash Formula: Best Foam

The Armor All Car Wash Formula being used to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $8.50
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 (Approximately 2,300 ratings)
  • Available in 24.0-oz. container
  • 1.0 oz. of soap per gal. of water
  • New car scent

Armor All Car Wash Formula Review

Coming up on its 60th birthday this year, Armor All has been a trusted name in car care for generations. It’s no wonder that its Car Wash Formula stands as one of our team’s favorite car wash soaps.

You can see how the Armor All Car Wash Soap performed in each of our testing categories below:

Below are the pros and cons of the Armor All Car Wash Formula:

Armor All Car Wash Formula: Our Experience

While the Armor All Car Wash Formula was tough on tackling dirt and grime with its strong foam, it left a slight chemical odor.

  • Scent: The Armor All soap had a chemical smell when being applied to the car. However, it was reminiscent of the new car smell one gets with a fresh purchase.
  • Concentration: An oz. of soap per gal. of water was plenty, only requiring light mixing to create a sudsy foam.
  • Foaminess: The foam also stayed on the car very well and was tough on car grime, but took some effort to rinse off.
  • Streak/Spot Resistance: One thing we particularly liked about this soap was its ability to dissolve dirt streaks without leaving streaks of its own. It also left no streaks on the sunroof nor water spots on the surface of the car.

Armor All Car Wash Formula: What Customers Are Saying

The Armor All Car Wash Formula is so good that 76 percent of reviews are 5.0 stars. Many of the positive reviews highlight the streak-free shine the soap leaves and its foaminess.

One common trend among reviews is how well this soap works with the partnering microfiber sponge from Armor All, which can be purchased as a kit on Amazon.

4. Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax: Best Two-In-One

The Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax being used to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $31.84
  • Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (Approximately 5,600 ratings)
  • Available in 48.0-oz. or 1.0-gal. containers
  • 1.0 oz. of soap per gal. of water
  • Soap and wax combination

Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax Review

Want wax protection on your car without having to do the waxing? Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax keeps your car’s paint job looking brand new while also providing optimal protection.

If you want the durability of car wax without paying for a professional detailer, Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax may be perfect for your needs. Although it takes extra time and effort to properly wash with this soap, the end result is worthwhile for any motor enthusiast.

Below is how Meguiar’s car wash soap performed in each of our testing categories:

Below are the pros and cons of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax:

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Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax: Our Experience

Although it left a great finish on painted surfaces and created a good foam, the Meguiar’s product required some heavy stirring.

  • Scent: Meguiar’s left a chemical odor after being applied to the car.
  • Concentration: An oz. of soap per gal. of water was enough to create foam suitable for washing.
  • Foaminess: The soap was very foamy, but not without effort. The wax soap sat in the bottom of the bucket in a clump and required extra stirring to create foam.
  • Streak/Spot Resistance: There were no streaks or water spots left on the paint surfaces of the car, but all glass washed had light water spots left over.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax: What Customers Are Saying

A total of 83 percent of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax’s reviews are 5.0 stars, claiming the product is the ultimate wax product for getting a brilliant finish.

There are very few negative reviews of this product, but some claim that a separate wash and wax process will obtain longer-lasting results.

5. Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo: Best For Beginners

The Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo being used with a microfiber towel to clean the exterior of a vehicle.

  • Cost: $34.98
  • Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 (Approximately 3,400 ratings)
  • Available in 16.0-oz., 1.0-gal., or 5.0-gal. bottles
  • 1.0 oz. of soap per gal. of water
  • Wildberry smell

Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo Review

This soap is ideal for any car owner who likes a basic wash for easy-to-handle road grime and other contaminants. Adam’s Polishes formula is perfect for weekly washes without damaging your paint and can be purchased with a bucket and glove as a great DIY kit for beginners.

Below is how the Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo performed under our testing criteria:

Below are the pros and cons of the Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo:

Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo: Our Experience

We had to scrub slightly harder with Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo than other car wash soaps we tested, but it performed well, leaving our test vehicle with great shine.

  • Scent: During and after washing, the soap produced a subtle berry scent that was quite pleasing. There was no hint of a chemical smell.
  • Concentration: An oz. of soap per gal. of water created enough suds for a wash with ease.
  • Foaminess: A medium amount of foam was produced by light mixing, and the foam was easy to spread and rinse.
  • Streak/Spot Resistance: No evidence of streaks or spots was found after washing and drying. But the soap wasn’t strong enough to handle tougher stains on the car such as tree sap, ground-in dirt in crevices, and old bird droppings.

Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo: What Customers Are Saying

Adam’s Polishes shampoo is well-liked among customers. Over 80 percent of reviews are 5.0-star ratings, with many customers detailing how pleasant their cars shined after use.

There are not many negative reviews for this soap, but the few that exist claim the 16.0-oz. bottle is difficult to use or damages easily in shipping.

Car Wash Soap Buying Guide

Car wash soap cleaning a vehicle.

When buying a car wash soap, it’s important to consider the vital features that the product must have to be effective. Our team agrees that while scent, concentration, foaminess, and streak and spot resistance are our testing criteria, they should also be factors to consider when you’ve decided it’s time for a new soap. We also have a few other considerations that are worth taking into account before you decide on your next car wash soap.

Scent

If you are sensitive to strong odors or have a loved one who may be, it’s important to consider how strongly a car wash soap will smell. It’s best to avoid soaps that have a chemical smell and try to use those with a more subtle, inviting scent.

Concentration

A soap with a high concentration of polymers will need less water to be effective. This not only provides you with a more thorough wash but also requires a lower soap-to-water ratio so you can get more washes for less money.

Foaminess

Foaming car washes are better than others because foam is more effective at picking up dirt and grime than a typical waterless car wash. Lubricity is important to consider, as well, so that you can expend less effort for a better result.

If you prefer the simple nature of a waterless car wash and are looking to pick up a bottle, we recommend checking out our review of the best waterless car wash soaps. Our review will ensure a spot-free car wash, as long as you follow any included directions and put in a little elbow grease.

Water Spot And Streak Resistance

Besides keeping your paintwork fresh, car wash soaps that are resistant to water spots and streaks are better for auto detailing needs. Swirl marks can be detrimental to your car’s wax job so the less, the better.

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Other Considerations

Be sure that your soap is pH-balanced before purchasing, as an unbalanced soap can cause long-term damage to your car. Also consider investing in wash products such as buckets, wash mitts, microfiber towels, and even a foam gun to perform the best possible cleanup for your vehicle. If you are worried about your environmental impact, consider a biodegradable car wash soap, as well.

Best Car Wash Soap: Bottom Line

Based on factors such as scent, concentration, value, foaminess, and streak resistance, we think the following are the five best car wash soaps in 2024:

  1. Best Car Wash Soap: Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow
  2. Best Value: Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Super Suds
  3. Best Foam: Armor All Car Wash Formula
  4. Best Two-in-One: Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax
  5. Best for Beginners: Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo

Best Car Wash Soap: FAQs

Full Car Soap Testing Methodology

Each soap was tested in accordance with the instructions provided by its respective manufacturer. We rinsed our testing vehicle with water, applied each soap to a specific area of the car, and rinsed the car again with clean water. We applied every soap in a different area of our vehicle to see a side-by-side comparison of each product after cleaning.

Below, we have an in-depth explanation of what we consider to be the most important factors to look for in a car wash soap. Each factor contributed to the overall ratings of the products in this review.

Scent

A soap’s scent can make or break your purchase. We looked for soaps that produce a pleasant scent while not being too overpowering. Car wash soaps that met these criteria scored highest in this category. Soaps with a very strong chemical scent scored lower in this category.

Concentration

Car wash soaps that have a higher concentration require a lower soap-to-water ratio. This means you’ll get more washes while using less product, saving you money. The soaps that had a higher concentration scored highest in this category. By following the manufacturer’s instructions for combining soap and water, along with testing the soap on our vehicle, we determined the concentration of each car wash soap.

Foaminess

The amount of foam a car wash soap produces equates to how well the soap will pick up and remove dirt and grime. The car wash soaps in this review that produced a good amount of foam scored highest in this category, while soaps that produced little to no foam scored lower.

Streak and Spot Resistance

The last thing you want is noticeable streaking and spotting on your exterior after cleaning. The soaps that left a clean, smooth shine after being used on our vehicle scored highest in this category. Any streaks or spots we noticed after the car dried lowered the product’s rating in this category.

How We Score Products

Our testing team assesses each product with the assumption that it will be able to accomplish its intended purpose. We then award or dock points based on the performance of the product.

  • 5.0 Stars: The car soap cleared tough dirt and other debris off the vehicle panels easily, contained a pleasant scent, produced an exceptional lather, and represented a quality investment for the price point.
  • 4.0 Stars: The cleaning power of the car soap outshone other competitors, did not leave streak marks on the vehicle, and produced a substantial amount of foam. Additionally, we feel the product is priced competitively or below market based on its performance.
  • 3.0 Stars: The car soap was able to clear grime and debris with minimal effort, and we feel it is priced adequately.
  • 2.0 Stars: The car soap was able to clear grime after serious effort or was outperformed by competing products. We may also feel the product is overpriced at its current level of performance.
  • 1.0 Star: The car soap failed to clear debris or take an unreasonable effort compared to competitor products. We also feel it represents an outsized investment to consumers.

Why Trust Car news

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.