Can I use shampoo to wash my car? Yes, but hold on.
If you have recently come across the information that shampoo can be used to wash your car but don’t know how to do it, you have landed at the right place. Although we, as one of the most trusted service providers in your area, recommend using car soaps in general, our experts gathered up the information and experience to craft this guide for you.
The most important thing you should know is the difference between the chemical composition of car soap and shampoo. That’s how you can avoid making the mistakes most car owners make.
Table of Contents
- Difference Between Car Soap And Shampoo
- Steps To Wash The Car With Shampoo
- Step 1: Gather Cleaning Supplies And Prepare Shampoo Mixture
- Step 2: Prepare Your Car
- Step 3: Remove The Dirt
- Step 4: Clean The Wheels
- Step 5: Wash The Entire Car With Car Sponge
- Step 6: Finish Off With Hair Conditioner
- Step 7: Wash The Underside
- Step 8: Use Shampoo Vacuum To Clean The Interior
- Step 8: Let It Dry Completely
- Products You Should Not Use To Wash Your Car
Difference Between Car Soap And Shampoo
Car soap is designed to stick to the surface for longer whereas the shampoo lacks this property. This is the principle difference that can affect the results. You have to rinse the shampoo as soon as you spray it on the surface because it is not formulated to stay on the surface for long.
Both of these materials have sodium laurel sulfate that acts as the surfactant but their amount by percentage varies.
Steps To Wash The Car With Shampoo
Whether you are using car soap, detergent or shampoo, dishwashing liquid, the method of DIY cleaning remains almost unchanged. The main difference is where you have to scrub and wash off the substance from the surface.
Step 1: Gather Cleaning Supplies And Prepare Shampoo Mixture
Looking for cleaning supplies while your hands and feet are wet is not so convenient. Take out some time to gather all the supplies you will need during the process. You must have two buckets, car sponges, a water hose, wash mitts, a microfiber towel, car wax, shampoo, and a glass cleaner.
You can either use a shampoo mixture or directly apply the shampoo to the car. Using the mixture is much more convenient but the quality of the lather may not be satisfactory. Mix equal amounts of water and shampoo in a spray bottle for making a shampoo mixture. If you are looking for a milder cleaning product, opt for baby shampoo. Keep in mind that not all household products are safe for car cleaning.
Step 2: Prepare Your Car
Make sure your car is parked outside of direct sunlight. Otherwise, you will end up with dried streaks of soapy water. Once it is safely parked, close all the windows. Retract the antenna and pull the windshield wipers from the screen into propped position. It is critical to prepare your car like this so that water does not seep into the car's interior.
Step 3: Remove The Dirt
Attach the water hose and set it at a low-pressure setting. Hose down the car to loosen and soften the dirt. It's best to start from the wheels and then proceed at the top. Keeping the pressure setting low is essential otherwise the dust acts as an abrasive agent and may leave micro-scratches on the surface. Point the water flow downwards so that water does not enter the window seals.
Step 4: Clean The Wheels
Car wheels are usually the dirtiest. Use the water hose to loosen all the dirt from the wheel and then use a stiff brush to scrub the wheels. Keep rinsing and scrubbing until clean water comes out of the wheel. Wash the front wheels and then the rear wheels.
Step 5: Wash The Entire Car With Car Sponge
You should divide your car into small sections to start rinsing with soapy water. Spray shampoo mixture generously over each section and use a car sponge to rinse off the dirt. Rub the stains but be very gentle as you don’t need any scratches.
Rub the car from top to bottom and continue to remove dirt, bird droppings, and mud. Keep changing the water and mitt as you continue the washing, especially when your car is super dirty.
We recommend rinsing off each section of soap before proceeding to the next section. Keep the entire car wet until you have washed off the soap.
Step 6: Finish Off With Hair Conditioner
Once the vehicle is squeaky clean, grab your hair conditioner for the final finish. Add two cups of water in a bucket and half a cup of your favorite hair conditioner in it. Use the microfiber cloth to smooth out this mixture on the car surface. After the complete surface is covered, hose down or rinse the car with clean water.
Step 7: Wash The Underside
Then comes the underside of your car. It is typically the dirtiest region of your car. Spray the underside with the hose to dislodge all the mud and dirt.
Step 8: Use Shampoo Vacuum To Clean The Interior
Car upholstery should be cleaned with a shampoo vacuum. This wet and dry vacuum is effective against the dirt and stains that have settled down in the fabrics.
Step 8: Let It Dry Completely
This is a critical phase of a car wash. Drying makes the difference between a good and a poor car wash job. When water evaporates quickly, it leaves a layer of minerals on the surface that look pretty sloppy. As your car is standing away from sunlight, the chances of getting prematurely dried streaks are less.
Use microfiber towels for drying your car. Start from the top and proceed to the bottom. Wipe and dry until there is no residue left on the car. You must ensure that every section is completely dried to prevent rusting.
You can use a car heater to dry the upholstery. Keep the windows open for a few hours to let the fresh air pass.
Products You Should Not Use To Wash Your Car
Some tips and tricks work well in the promotional videos but can be super harmful to your car. We highly discourage you from using shower gel or dishwashing liquid to wash your car because we have witnessed serious messes. Better safe than sorry!
Are you caught up in your routine work but need your car clean and fresh? Give us a call now.