Can you use dish soap to clean your car? You’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages, so we’ve laid out a discussion on whether this kind of soap is the best cleaner for an automobile here.
No, you should not use dish soap to clean your car. You’ll understand why dish soap, such as Dawn or Dial, is bad for your car if you consider what it’s designed for, such as removing grease and caked-on food. It does a good job, but that’s only because it’s a good abrasive soap.
However, using an abrasive soap on paint on cars speeds up the oxidation process and gives the car a dull appearance. Dish soap can be hard on rubber and will also remove the wax coating from cars.
Is Dish Soap Safe for Your Car’s Paint and Clear Coat?
You might not know what’s best to use when washing a car if you’ve never owned one or have never done it yourself. You may have heard stories of people using dish soap and it working “just fine” to get dirt off while not causing any damage. But is this really the case?
The short answer is that it won’t damage your car’s clear coat, so you could use it in a pinch if you don’t have any other options. However, using it for routine maintenance washing is not a good idea.
Car Wash Soaps Features
Car wash soaps have three important features that make them safe to use on your car:
Car shampoos contain balanced surfactants that dissolve tough stains from bird droppings and road grime without harming your car’s wax or paint sealants.
In the world of car maintenance, dish soap is the equivalent of a cleaner-degreaser: a powerful car wash soap that removes thick layers of wax for a thorough detailing overhaul. This type of soap would be deemed excessive for a standard car wash. On the other hand, regular car wash soaps are much kinder to your glossy finish while still getting rid of dirt just as quickly and easily.
No matter how much it costs or what extra features it has, balanced surfactants are the foundation of every car wash.
Lubricants make it possible for your car wash to glide over the surface, trapping loose soils and debris to avoid scratching and swirling your delicate paintwork.
There are no lubricating additives in dish soaps. To make matters worse, if you wash your car with an old rag or a t-shirt, you not only remove the protective coating that is necessary for it, but you also rub dirt into the finish that may harm the glossy clear coat.
Anytime you wash your car, make sure to use a microfiber towel or wash mitt. The tiniest fibers are made to pick up loose soils and draw them away from the surface of your vehicle to produce the smoothest finish possible.
An Easy Rinse Chemical Formula
Any carwash should be simple to rinse off with a standard garden hose without leaving behind any streaks or residues, making it simple to clean your car in 10–20 minutes or less. Dish soaps, however, are difficult to remove without a sink full of warm water, leaving behind unsightly water spots that can eventually cause painted surfaces to oxidize.
What Makes a Good Car Soap?
What are your options now that you are aware you shouldn’t wash a car with dish soap? Other household cleaners, hand soap, and laundry soap are prohibited as well. These soaps can harm the paint on your car because their pH levels are off. All you need is some car soap to achieve your desired results. When you move the soap from the car behind your fingers, you’ll notice that it has more lubricant. The surface of your car will benefit greatly from the slick formula.
What Car Cleaning Products Will You Need Besides Soap?
- Sponge or Washing mitts made of sheepskin or microfiber
- A brush or additional sponge for tires
- Multiple buckets – one for soapy water and one for plain water
- Wheel cleaner
- Microfiber drying towel, chamois cloth, and/or squeegee
- Bug and tar remover
- Wax, either spray or rub-on (optional)
- Polish (optional)
What’s the Best Way to Wash a Car?
Using the correct auto soap for the right vehicle will increase the effectiveness of these steps:
- initial wheel cleaning The wheels will be the dirtiest and need the most scrubbing, but a car soap will clean the rubber without eroding it. After finishing, fill your buckets again with new soap and water.
- Make sure to remove any debris from beneath the wiper blades as you use a hose to rinse off the entire car. Compared to other, more abrasive soaps, car soap will rinse cleaner.
- Apply bug and tar removal soap directly to any stains (e.g., blood, bird droppings) to pre-treat them.
- Start by washing one side of the car. To prevent dirt from building up, be sure to periodically rinse the mitt in the water bucket.
- Wash in straight lines and refrain from using too much pressure. Swirl marks may result from circular motions.
- Before you start soaping up the next side, rinse the side you’re working on. Another time, a good soap will be helpful.
- You must still make sure to dry your car thoroughly after washing all four sides of it.
Can You Air Dry a Car After Using Car Soap?
Following washing, air drying can result in water stains. Use a car squeegee to carefully wring out the majority of the water before drying your car. Use a microfiber towel to cover everything after that. Moving the towel should be done flatly and only in straight lines; never in circles.
Should You Use Polish And/Or Wax?
Only use polish or wax after using a special auto soap to wash and thoroughly dry the vehicle. Waxes shield the car’s paint while polishes add shine. The surface of your car needs another wax coat if water doesn’t bead into droplets.
Only when properly paired with car soap can waxes be used effectively. When people are dissatisfied that their waxing product only lasts a few weeks, the question frequently arises. If you use car soap, waxing should only be required occasionally.
How to Remove Wax With Dish Soap?
Okay, so all you have on hand is Dawn dish soap. Although it’s not our top recommendation, we’ll still give you some instructions on how to use it safely to wash your car.
You should be ready when removing wax on purpose using dish soap and other household cleaning supplies because there is a proper way to do this. Prepare your materials and make sure you have plenty of hot water on hand.
- What You’ll Need
- Washing bucket filled with hot water and your preferred soap (Dawn?)
- Soft terry cloth or microfiber towel
Clean Your Car
Starting with a clean slate is beneficial. For this step, you can either use a hose or just a bucket of hot water with a sponge and soap, if you’d like.
Next, apply the soap to a soft cloth and begin with the trim. To get rid of as much wax as possible, gently rub the surface of the trim. This soap should not be abrasive; regular dish soap will do; this is preferable.
To remove even more wax and to do so more successfully, some people might decide to use a clay bar or another product that contains clay.
What Soaps Should Be Used for Washing Cars?
The best soaps to use when washing cars are those that have been created especially for the job. They are made specifically for use on the exterior of cars and are milder than dish soap or laundry detergent. Always follow the product’s instructions and use the recommended amount of water to dilute them for the best results.
Other Car Washing Tips
Even though it may seem simple enough to wash your car, it’s important to do it correctly. Here are some expert car washing tips to keep in mind:
- Prior to using car soap, always give the car a thorough rinse with clean water. This will remove any dirt or grime that might otherwise scratch the paint. Let the water flow over the entire vehicle, starting at the top.
- For the wheels, tires, and remaining portions of the car’s body, use different sponges. The wheels and tires will likely have more dirt than the body of the vehicle, so you don’t want to spread that dirt onto the body.
- Never circle the sponge while using it. It may cause swirl marks on the surface that are actually light scratches. Moving the sponge along the length of the body panels and hood is the proper way to wash your car.
- Make a lather with the car soap so that the surface of the car is adequately lubricated. Rinse the sponge in a different bucket of water.
- To shine your car, use soft terry cloths or microfiber towels rather than diapers, T-shirts, kitchen towels, or paper towels.
You’re prepared to take on even the toughest off-road dirt with your car if you keep these tips in mind!
Dish Soap is a Decent Wax Remover But…
Instead of using household cleaners, it is in your best interest to use a product made specifically for removing wax from cars without harming them. Torque Detail Decon Soap is one item that works well for this. We’ve given you some advice on how to use dish soap efficiently if you decide you want to do so.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that your car should always have a protective coating to keep it in top shape and prevent nicks and scratches. Because of this, you should apply a protective coating immediately after using dish soap or wax remover.
Torque Detail Ceramic Wash is a good choice for between-washes situations where you aren’t applying a new wax coat or removing anything. In this manner, it won’t matter how frequently you clean your car because nothing will be stripped away and the shine won’t be dulled. Another helpful tip for cleaning your car.