Best Car Shampoo

Best Car Shampoo - AutoGlanz AG Car Care

Joe Pritchard |

As motor costs burgeon and the pinch on your purse strings tightens, you've become increasingly discerning about where you invest your hard-earned pounds, especially when it comes to maintaining your cherished vehicle.

This comprehensive guide accentuates the significance of choosing the right car shampoo that fits your exact needs, compared to the way you want to wash your car!

Key Takeaways

  • There is no "one shampoo fits all"
  • A car wash shampoo does not have to be expensive to be good
  • Choose a shampoo with wax if you want to add additional protection
  • Choose a shampoo without wax for ceramic coating or if you add LSP (Last Stage Protection)

Understanding Car Shampoo Formulations

When it comes to preserving the sheen and health of your car's paintwork, the choice of car wash shampoo is an important choice in order to get a safe clean wash. 

What You Should NOT Use To Wash Your Car

Many a car owner has fallen prey to the temptation of using household cleaning agents like washing up liquid to clean their vehicles. Despite their accessibility, these products are notorious for stripping away essential oils and damaging the delicate coating of your car.

Do NOT use the following: 

  • Dishwashing Detergent: Using dish soap may seem convenient, but it can strip off the car's protective wax and leave the paint vulnerable to damage.
  • Household Cleaners: Products like kitchen or bathroom cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can harm the car's finish and trim.
  • Laundry Detergent: Laundry detergents are designed for fabrics, not car surfaces, and may contain additives that are unsuitable for automotive paint.
  • Bleach or Ammonia-based Cleaners: These strong chemicals can cause discolouration and damage to the car's paint and trim, leading to costly repairs.
  • Hair shampoo: Just leave it for your hair!

While we are at it - Do NOT use the following accessories:

  • Abrasive Sponges or Brushes: Avoid using rough materials that can scratch the paint. Opt for a microfiber wash mitt instead.
  • Low-Quality Towels or Chamois: Using rough towels or chamois can leave swirl marks on the paint. Choose high-quality, soft materials for drying.

What Makes a Good Shampoo for Car Wash?

A good car wash shampoo is a brew of science and care—formulated specifically for automotive use.

These formulations ensure that dirt is lifted without harsh chemicals that can deteriorate wax layers or ceramic coatings. Featuring pH neutral properties, they provide peace of mind that your vehicle's protective barriers are respected during the wash. Moreover, for those with a ceramic coating on their ride, it's essential to select a shampoo that compliments the ceramic coating, not contests it.

Remember, while the bevy of car shampoo brands on the market might overwhelm you, the ultimate selection boils down to understanding your car’s specific needs.

In this guide we will shorten down the list for you - making it easy to make the right choice for you and your car!

But basically - a good shampoo should:

  • Have plenty of suds to minimise the risk of scratching your car.
  • Good cleaning abilities against road grime and dirt.
  • Be economical (Have a high dilution ratio)

Different Types of Shampoo for Washing Your Car

When selecting the ideal car shampoo, understanding the different formulations available can profoundly affect not only the appearance but also the protection of your vehicle.

These are the types of shampoo that are on the market, that we recommend to remove dirt on the car.

Car Shampoo With Wax (Wash and Wax)

If you desire a dazzling shine and added protection in one step, consider a wax shampoo. This type of wash and wax car shampoo is infused with waxes that deposit a thin layer on the surface during the wash, thus leaving your paintwork with a gleaming finish. We've designed our variant (Bubblicious) with natural carnauba for high gloss levels and keeping soiling suspended from the vehicle. 

It can be diluted at a ratio of up  to 1:250. 

Bubblicious Car Shampoo

We recommend Bubblicious as the best car shampoo if you don't have any protection on your paint already and if you don't want to add any additional protection to your paint after washing it. 

Customers say about Bubblicious:

Bubblicious review

View all reviews

PH Neutral Shampoo

For the conservation of your vehicle's existing wax, ceramic coating or other last stage protection, ph-neutral car shampoo is your best bet. Our pH neutral car shampoo, is designed for a supremely lubricated, foamy and effective wash. 

Pure ensures a spotless clean without compromising the integrity of your car's protective layers and can be diluted at ratios of up to 1:2000!

Pure Car Shampoo

We recommend Pure as the best car shampoo if you have a ceramic coated vehicle, or if you wish to add additional paint protection after washing your car.

Customers say about Pure:

Pure review

View all reviews

Waterless Wash Shampoo

Focused on environmental conservation or lacking access to a proper hose?

A waterless wash or rinseless wash shampoo is the ultimate choice. Just spray, wipe, and buff your way to a pristine car, all while sparing precious water resources. 

You can use it in cases where your vehicle is only lightly soiled. 

Zeroh2O Car Shampoo 

Customers say about ZeroH2O:

zeroh2o review

View all reviews

We recommend ZeroH2O for summer use, removing individual stains or bird droppings, or to give your car that last shine when you arrive at your destination for eg. a car show.

Pre-wash Shampoo

Before washing your car with car shampoo - you should pre-wash your car.

This ensures that grime and loose debris is removed, before the actual contact wash with car shampoo. 

See our full guide to selecting the right pre-wash shampoo here>>

Other types of shampoo

Other types of shampoo includes No Rinse shampoos and ceramic wash (water repellent) shampoos. Both are good types of products. We do not have specific recommendations for these product types.

Top Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Car Shampoo

These are the factors to consider when looking for a high quality shampoo:

Lubrication Abilities

One of the first attributes to consider is the lubrication quality of the shampoo. This is paramount because the more a shampoo lubricates, the smoother your wash mitt will glide across the vehicle’s surface, consequently diminishing the risk of leaving unsightly scratches or swirls. Opt for a car shampoo that offers a rich, sudsy lather to act as a protective barrier between the dirt and your car's delicate paintwork.

How will you know that beforehand? 

You can't!


We guarantee that no matter whether you choose Pure, Bubblicious or ZeroH2O - there will be plenty of lubrication.

Evaluating Cleaning Power and Efficiency

Your chosen shampoo should be able to cut through grease, dirt, and grime with ease while not necessitating laborious scrubbing that can marr the vehicle's finish.

The efficiency of a car shampoo also correlates to how seamlessly it can be rinsed off, leaving behind no residue or water spots for that pristine look. If you do see black spots in the form of tar, red spots or tree sap - do not try to rub it of, as it is not the shampoo's job. 

Instead read our guide on how to decontaminate your car>>

Cost-Effectiveness, Dilution Ratios and Value for Money

Value for money is not simply about a shampoo's initial purchase price.

Delve into understanding the cost per wash, which can be determined by the dilution ratio – the recommended amount of shampoo per litre of water. A higher concentration means you’ll use less per wash, extending the lifespan of your bottle, and thus, reducing the long-term costs.

Our UK factory made products have market leading dilution ratios!

Assessing the Impact on Wax and Paintwork Protection

Lastly, reflect on how the shampoo interacts with your car's existing protective measures.

Quality shampoos should preserve or even bolster your sealant and wax layers, not diminish them. This protective aspect is crucial for maintaining the car's paintwork against the elements, ensuring it remains guarded against UV rays, environmental pollutants, and acid rain.

With these factors in mind, you will be equipped to select a car shampoo that not only cleans effectively but also maintains the integrity and appearance of your vehicle, offering a cost-effective solution and superb end results. 

Best Car Shampoo for Ceramic Coated Vehicles

Well done!

You've made one of the best choices for your car by giving it a long term protection and making it easier to clean, due to the coatings hydrophobic characteristics.


Let's make sure that protection has the best prerequisites to do its job!

In general:

The shampoo you should choose should be pH neutral.

We recommend Auto Glanz Pure as the best car shampoo for Ceramic Coated Vehicles.

Best Car Shampoo for a Glossy Finish

If you desire your car to have that enviable, high-gloss finish and either have no protection or want protection baked in as you wash - then look no further. 

Glossy car shampoos characteristically incorporate constituents such as carnauba wax, known for producing an esteemed shiny coat synonymous with a professional showroom glare. The efficacy of such shampoos lies in their capability to generate a substantial amount of suds that meticulously cleanse, while their beading technology ensures water and contaminants slide off effortlessly from wash to wash, culminating in a spotless, glossy surface.

We recommend Auto Glanz Bubblicious as the best car shampoo for a glossy finish

    Best Car Shampoo If You Want To Add LSP (Last Stage Protection)

    If you've been into car care - then you and we know that you want to add that last stage protection - be it a quick detailer or a spray sealant

    When applying LSP you want a car shampoo that just cleans and doesn't add anything that will mess up your LSP.

    We recommend Auto Glanz Pure as the best car shampoo if you want to add the LSP of your choice.

    Expert Tips for Using Car Shampoo Effectively

    When it comes to maintaining your vehicle's appearance, employing the right washing techniques is as vital as the choice of shampoo.

    A methodical approach to washing your car using car shampoo can significantly enhance the overall cleanliness and prevent damage to the paintwork.

    Let's delve into the expert practices that ensure your car is not only spotless but also protected during the cleaning process.

    These steps are narrowed down to the straight essentials. 

    For an in depth guide - please read our safe wash guide>>

    Pre-wash your car

    Pre-wash your car to remove all loose dirt. 

    The Right Techniques for Lathering and Scrubbing

    After mixing the car shampoo in the right dilution ratio.


    Apply the shampoo solution using a wash mitt, preferring one made of microfibre material. The key is to use gentle, linear motions rather than circular ones – this helps to remove dirt effectively without leaving behind those dreaded swirl marks. Rinse the mitt frequently to ensure you're always working with a clean tool.

    Timing and Weather Considerations for Best Results

    Opt for washing your car on a cool, cloudy day or in a shaded spot if possible. Sunlight can cause the soapy water to dry too quickly, leading to unsightly water spots and streaks. Give yourself ample time for the job; rushing through the process won't do your car any favours. The combination of right timing and weather can make a world of difference to the end result.

    Dry Your Car

    Once you've completed the wash and rinse process, it's paramount to dry your vehicle properly. Use soft, plush microfibre drying towels to absorb the water without scratching the paintwork. Drying your car prevents mineral-loaded water from drying on the surface and leaving a spotty residue. Take your time to go over every surface, including hidden areas where water can collect and potentially cause rust.

    By integrating these practices into your car washing routine, you can elevate the standard of your vehicle's care, ensuring it not only shines but also maintains its integrity for longer. 

    Demonstrating the Best Car Shampoo in Action

    Curious on how they perform in real life?

    Take a look at Pure here:


    Take a look at Bubblicious here: 


    Take a look at ZeroH2O here: 


    User Reviews: What the Enthusiasts Say

    User reviews are often a treasure trove of truth from those who are most passionate about their rides - car enthusiasts like yourself.

    Please feel free to read the reviews about our products to convince yourself that our products are the best on the market in the UK and let their experiences steer your choice. A gleaming car awaits.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the importance of using a dedicated car shampoo?

    Dedicated car shampoos are formulated to clean vehicles without damaging the paintwork or protective coatings. Using common household detergents can strip away protective wax and clear coats, leading to dullness and potential paint damage. Car shampoos are specifically designed to clean effectively while preserving the integrity of your car’s finish.

    Can car shampoo with wax provide a glossy finish?

    Yes, car shampoos with wax not only clean your vehicle but also leave a protective gloss finish. These shampoos contain ingredients like carnauba wax, which can impart a high-gloss layer, offering added protection against environmental factors while enhancing the vehicle's aesthetic appeal.

    How does PH Neutral shampoo benefit my car's finish?

    PH Neutral shampoos are formulated to be gentle on your car’s existing wax or ceramic coatings. They ensure that the car is cleaned without altering the pH balance of the surface, thereby preventing damage to the protective layers and maintaining the paintwork’s longevity and shine.

    What should I look for in a car shampoo to protect my ceramic coating?

    When you have a ceramic-coated vehicle, you should look for a shampoo designed to complement these coatings. A good ceramic shampoo will clean without removing or degrading the ceramic layer, often helping to reinforce the hydrophobic properties that make water and contaminants bead and roll off the surface.

    Is it more cost-effective to use a concentrated car shampoo?

    Concentrated car shampoos can be more cost-effective as they typically require less product per wash when diluted properly. Assessing the dilution ratios and overall cost per wash can help you determine if a shampoo offers good value for money.

    How do I use car shampoo effectively to avoid scratching my car?

    To use car shampoo effectively, ensure you create plenty of suds to lift dirt gently, use a high-quality wash mitt, and clean the vehicle in straight lines rather than circular motions to reduce the risk of scratching. It's also key to keep the mitt clean and rinse the car well after washing to remove all shampoo residue.

    Why is drying my car important after using car shampoo?

    Drying your car after washing is crucial because it prevents water spots from forming, which can contain minerals that may etch into the paintwork. Using a microfibre towel to dry your car will soak up the water without scratching the paint, leaving a spot-free, shiny surface.

    What kind of car shampoo is best for a vehicle that requires Last Stage Protection (LSP)?

    For vehicles requiring Last Stage Protection, it's advisable to use shampoos that is pure and does not add elements to the paint. 

    How can I assess the performance of a car shampoo before buying it?

    To assess the performance of a car shampoo, look for before-and-after videos, and read user reviews and testimonials. These resources provide insights into the effectiveness of the shampoo in real-world conditions, making it easier for you to choose the best product for your needs.

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