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Can I Use Dishwashing Soap To Wash My Car

When Dish Soap May Be An Okay Option For Your Car

Fact vs Myth: Dish Soap is Bad for Washing your Car

There are times when it may be okay to use Dawn if its all youve got like stripping off old wax or tree sap from the clear coat before you compound or polish a scratch out. Prior to claying your car or doing any type of light scratch removal, you need a completely bare surface. This would be an appropriate use case for dish soap if its all you have.

On the other hand, they do make several automotive soaps designed to remove waxes that probably do a better job at this.

Whats The Difference Between A Detergent And Soap

As a society, we tend to use terms that are not exactly accurate to their description. Whether its calling a soda Coke or a Pop we all have our own ways of describing common, everyday use products. Such is the case when talking about dish soap. By definition, a dish washing liquid cleaner is not a soap but a detergent.

A detergent is a high-foaming mixture of multiple surfactants that does not cause skin irritation. They are different than soaps because they dont react with minerals in water which leads to the formation of soap scum or that thin layer of soapy substance that we all hate. Detergents are used in washing clothing, dishes, and even cleaning animals who have been impacted by oil spills.

The main ingredient used in dish detergents is water followed by stabilizing and thickening agents, surfactants, salts, fragrances, dyes, and preservatives.

The combination of these ingredients creates a higher pH level usually in the 8.5 to 9.5 range. This is what helps to remove grease and food that is caked onto plates and dishes.

So, it must be great for removing road grime, dirt, bird droppings, and other stuff right? Well not so much.

What Is A Good Homemade Car Wash

Now, lets take a look at some of the best DIY car wash soap solutions you can try.

  • Dish Soap. This is one of the most popular DIY car soaps youll see people using.
  • Hand Soap. Hand soaps another good cleaning agent when youre in a pinch.
  • Laundry Detergent.
  • Hair Conditioner.

What happens if you never wash your car?

The truth is, not washing your car is bad for several reasons due to the fact that dirt is abrasive, and can eat away at your cars clear coat over time. This can cause additional problems, like rusting, pitting, fading, and can even be dangerous if visibility is impaired.

How often should cars be washed?

When Should I Wash My Car? Experts say you should be giving your car a wash every three weeks. It doesnt matter if you go to an automated car wash or you get a sponge and clean it yourself. If you live along the coast or in areas like Green Bay that sees a lot of snow, you should wash every two weeks.

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Should I Use Dish Soap To Wash My Car

One of the most common questions we hear is can I use Dawnto wash my car? When you are car cleaning at your home, it might be easy toreach for dish-washing detergent, but it shouldnt be put on your car. Dish soapis harsh. It can strip the wax and coating off of the paint and causeirreparable harm. Instead, stick to using car-specific soaps instead.

How To Wash Your Car

Can I Use Dish Soap To Wash Car

It is not only a great feeling to bring a gleam to the chrome and the paintwork, but washing is also a handy way to check that everything on your car, ute, SUV, truck or bike is as it should be with no loose bolts, badges or bumpers. It can also be a sensual feeling to run your wet sponge over the contours of the bodywork.

But before you grab your hose and get all excited, you should check your local council for water restrictions. Some stipulate the use of special hose nozzles or buckets and specific hours or days when washing is allowable.

Even if working within the guidelines, it is advisable to be water conscious. Use a trigger nozzle on the end of the hose. It not only conserves water but also gives a nice, even spray. And if you wash your car on your lawn, it saves you having to water it.

High-pressure hoses are waterwise but be careful not to spray directly on rubber, or vinyl such as tonneau covers or motorcycle seats, as some powerful units can sometimes rip these materials. Frequent washing will ensure the paintwork is kept in good condition and prevent oxidisation.

However, you can overdo it, especially on old vehicles and those with exposed engines and other mechanical parts. Too much water and detergent can make plastics and rubber parts dry out, and dilute the lubricants on some important working parts such as suspension and various cables.

So, armed with some commercial cynicism, but always prepared to listen to expert advice, here are Autoglym’s tips:

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Substitutions For Car Washing Soap

If you want to twist my arm and demand a substitute for car soap so you can wash your vehicle, here are my top picks.

  • Hair Shampoo. With a pH closer to 7, hair shampoo is less likely to damage cars. Especially if you are just using it in a pinch, dont expect amazing cleaning power, though.
  • Baby Soap. Kids Shampoos are designed to be less likely to burn their eyes. It is also less likely to burn your cars finish.
  • Hand Soap. The pH isnt ideal, but it should cause fewer problems than dish soap would.
  • Dish Soap. Dish soap is less caustic than other household cleaners, so well keep it on the list as a one-off solution.
  • Why Do People Still Use Dish Soaps To Wash Their Cars

    Well, I think that the lack of knowledge is the main reason for that. Many people dont educate themselves enough.

    Also, some people use it when theyre in a rush, and they dont have any of the car products at home but still want to clean their cars.

    I cant entirely agree with that too. Nothing will happen if you dont wash your car for two days more until some car wash soap arrives. Also, you can buy car wash soaps in almost any more extensive shop.

    Even the cheapest car wash soaps are better to use than dish soap. At least, theyll be easy to rinse off, which is not the situation with the dish soap .

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    Is Dish Soap Safe For Your Car’s Paint And Clear Coat

    If youre new to car ownership or washing a car yourself, you may be unaware of whats ideal to use when washing it. You may have heard stories of people using dish soap and it working just fine to get dirt off while not causing any damage. However, is this really the case?

    The short answer is that it doesnt harm the clear coat on your vehicle, so, it may be fine to use in a pinch if you dont have anything else around. However, it isnt a particularly good idea to use it for regular maintenance washing purposes.

    How To Choose A Good Soap

    Ask Meguiar’s: Can I Use Dish Soap to Wash My Car?

    We all know how hard it can be to find the right soap for washing a car. The key is to choose the right soap made specifically for cars.

    Some of the best soap for washing a car is:

  • Dishwashing liquid: Its safe, effective, and inexpensive. It also leaves no residue on your cars paint job.
  • Non-abrasive dishwasher detergent: This option is gentle enough to prevent scratching your cars paint job and still leave it clean and shiny.
  • Automatic dishwasher detergent: This option has an automatic rinse cycle that will ensure your car gets thoroughly cleaned without you having to do anything extra.
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    Can You Wash A Car With Dish Soap

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    Dish soaps are cheaper than car wash soaps. They also produce much more foam. Its completely normal to consider washing your car with dish soap if youre a beginner.

    But, should you wash your car with dish soap?

    You shouldnt wash your car with dish soap. Dish soap is too aggressive and removes any layer of protection you added, such as waxes and sealants. Also, its not nearly as good lubricant as car wash soaps.

    If washing a car with dish soap is great, why would they even make car washing soaps, right?

    I see so many people washing their cars with dawn dish soap, one of the most popular dish soaps in the USA. I think thats a mistake, and Im going to explain to you why.

    Can You Wash Your Car With Washing Up Liquid

    While washing up liquid is well known for its cleaning properties, using it on your car is not advised.

    In 2016, research by car cleaning company Simoniz found that 43 per cent of UK drivers prefer to wash their own vehicles rather than going to a car wash.

    Their survey also found that 41 per cent of those who wash their own are doing so with washing up liquid.

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    It’s claimed the chemicals in washing up liquid break down the wax that is applied to the paintwork on our cars.

    Ben Johnson, marketing director of Simoniz, told the Telegraph: “We decided to undertake this research to better understand customer needs but it has really highlighted the fact that those using washing-up liquid are unaware that they could be doing more harm than good.

    “Its great to see that nearly half of car owners still take the time to wash their cars themselves.

    “However, we need to continue to educate that using a proper shampoo and wax is important.


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    What Are We Really Cleaning

    Except for single stage paints on non-metallic paint colors, most car washing is cleaning off dirt and debris from the thick top-layer of car paint called clear coat.

    According to Avalon King, the four biggest dangers to a cars clear coat are UV exposure, chemicals, acid rain, and animal waste.

    Except for sun, its the acidic nature of those contaminants that wreak havoc on your paint.

    Bird droppings, for example, have a PH between 3-4.5.

    Regular car washes remove these harmful contaminants from a cars paint, preserving the protective layer of a cars paint job.

    They Are Not Made For Cars

    can i use dishwashing soap to wash my car

    Thats the most straightforward reason so far. Dish soaps are intended to use for greasy dishes.

    Dish soaps are abrasive soaps that we use to clean grease and caked-on food from the dishes. Theyre too aggressive for the car paint.

    Most of the dirt on the cars is water-soluble, and you dont need abrasive soaps to clean it.

    Even though they will clean all the dirt from your vehicle, specialized car wash soaps will do a better and safer job.

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    What All Do I Need To Wash My Car Properly

    If you want to learn how to wash and wax a car properly, youmust start with the supplies you use.

    • 5-gallon buckets
    • No-Streak Car Window Cleaner
    • Soft Bristle Tire Brush

    First, we recommend the three-bucket system. One bucket isfilled with clean soapy water, while the second is used for water to clean offyour mitt. The third bucket includes the cleaning product and water used onyour wheels. Next, we recommend using a microfiber wash mitt. After the wash,you’ll want to dry. Here we recommend a microfiber drying towel. Microfibertowels are very absorbent and clean more effectively by gripping and liftingthe dirt away. Standard cotton towels tend to spread and move the dirt around insteadof wiping them off your car’s surface. Finally, we suggest that you can getspecialized cleaning products for the windows, tire brushes withsoft bristles for your rims, and high-quality wax or polish to keep your carshiny and looking brand new.

    Always Rinse Before You Start

    Experts always recommend rinsing before you scrubbing.


    Rinsing the vehicle first helps to remove any loose contaminants, such as dirt, dust, and small pebbles, which can scratch and damage your paint when youre scrubbing it.

    Therefore, always make sure to rinse first, wash second, and then do a final rinse to finish.

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    Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Car

    It may seem a bit silly to wonder if dish soap is alright for washing your car. After all, its something many people have used, especially if they dont have a certain goal in mind beyond a simple cleaning. Youll want to weigh out the pros and cons though, and here, weve laid out a discussion on whether this kind of soap is an ideal cleansing agent for an automobile.

    Your vehicle’s surface is filled with contaminants. Some of these may be visible, such bug guts, bird droppings, water spots, and tree spots. And some contaminants, such as iron deposits, brake dust, and overspray may not be visible to the naked eye.

    In addition to contaminants, you may also have previous waxes and sealants still on your vehicle’s surface.

    These contaminants sit atop your vehicle’s “clear coat”, which is the layer of resin directly above your car’s paint.

    The key to a sealant lasting as long as it should is applying it directly to the vehicle’s clear coat. This way, it won’t sit atop contaminants, which causes the sealant to degrade quickly.

    How To Wash A Car Extra Credit: Once Dry Wax The Car

    How to Get Your Car Clean & Shiny with Dawn Dish Soap

    If after the entire washing process, you want to give your car a quick detail, use a clean microfiber towel and a spray detailer or car wax to give your car added protection and beautiful shine. Depending on the product you use, the directions for application will be different. With that in mind, when choosing detail spray or wax, use whatever best suits your car. We recommend the detail spray from Torque Detail or the liquid car wax from Meguiars.

    When using wax, spread the wax as thin and evenly as possible. You can use your hands! Make sure to apply the wax in the shade. Once the wax is dried , remove with a clean microfiber towel.

    When using detail spray, spray on the car and then wipe off with a clean microfiber towel.

    Now, take a minute to step back and look at your car because, WOW, its a glorious sight to see!

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    Pressure Washer Soap Buying Guide

    While soaps arent complex in their design, picking theright product for your dirty surfaces and your pressure washer, isnt as easyas it may seem, its not a case of grabbing any old pressure washer soap off ofthe rack at the hardware store.

    Which is why Ive decided to put together this buying guide,Ill cover everything you need to consider before purchasing a pressure washersoap, so lets get into it!

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    Can I Use Dawn To Wash My Car

    Yes. You can use Dawn regular dish soap to clean your car. However, you cannot use it for general maintenance.

    Dawn soap will clean your car effectively without damaging the paint. But it gets rid of the wax and the sealant leaving the vehicle exposed.

    You should avoid using dawn wash that has visible abrasive in it. Those particles can scratch your car.

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    Can Wash Car With Dish Soap

    Asked by: Hilario Will

    Don’t use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and may strip off the protective wax. Do use a dedicated car-wash product, which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint.

    Is It Ok To Use Dishwashing Soap To Wash Your Car

    Rainbow Soap Foam Car Wash

    The short answer is YES, using dishwashing soap is likely okay to use to wash your car. You might get different answers depending on who you ask. Much of the information around this subject is due to the marketing indoctrination saying that you must use a dedicated car wash soap to wash your car safely. Reasons given for doing so include: using a non-car soap will damage the cars paint, a pH-neutral soap MUST be used otherwise it will also strip existing protectants, and a dishwashing soap will strip the car of its existing wax/sealant/coating. In my opinion, these statements couldnt be further from the truth.

    To dispel some of these myths, I want to point out some things. Using dishwashing soap on your car is not going to damage the cars paint its improper wash technique that will likely cause more damage to your cars finish than simply using dish soap instead of car soap. Also, most car wash soaps are pH-neutral these days. Even some car soaps that are non-pH neutral arent strong enough to strip existing LSP on your car . And finally, dish soap is not going to strip your car of existing LSP on your car either.

    Also, you might be thinking of a dish soap commercial showing a bunch of pots and pans underwater with grease miraculously breaking away Ive got that burned into my memory too. Unless youre planning to submerge your car into a huge vat of dish soap and water for hours on end, I dont think youre to get the same result.

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