Car Wash Soap Alternatives and DIY Car Wash Solution

Jerry Wilson
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Car Wash Soap Alternatives

Synthetic car washes are great, the end. They are relaxing, and most people agree that they get your car “clean as a whistle.” However, one of the biggest gripes about car detailing is the cost. Detailing is expensive, and even if you’re good about car upkeep, you’re bound to need a car wash every year or so.

The DIY car wash business is growing. In the May issue of AOL Autos, a car owner was quoted as saying, “Aside from the quality you can see at a professional car wash, I like them because they put a lot of time into each car. These PSAs who use their only car to get to and from work and have to wash it themselves usually take twice as long and do a 1,000 times better job than us car guys.”

Our wash recommendations are frequent washes, washing soon after driving in the rain, blotting the wet car with a dry towel instead of a hose, and using a wax to protect the paint.

Those are all great tips. But weather and schedules can wreck them.

How to Make Homemade General Purpose Car Wash Solution

A general purpose car wash solution that you can easily make yourself is a useful item to have in your home. It is highly effective, cheap, and environmentally friendly.

Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar. Fill the rest with water and shake well to mix well. One of the primary reasons why this works so well is because it dissolves the dirt from the car and suspends it in the vinegar, where it’s free to be rinsed away in the water.

More Ways to Remove Dirt from Your Car

To the vinegar and water in the spray bottle, add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap. You might not realize this, but as your car is driving along, it is picking up dust and dirt from the traffic ahead of you. This is also true from the roads and from the air. The soap helps break up the dirt so that it can be collected by the vinegar and dissolved in the water, where it can be rinsed away.


Car wash soap alternatives are on the rise because more people are concerned with the chemicals in the car wash soap and the effects it may have on people and the environment.

Several car wash soaps are listed in the top ten most hazardous products by the American Boat and Yacht Council. These are the chemicals you want to be washing off of your car, and into ground water, where they can pollute the environment. To make matters worse, these chemicals are persistent, meaning these chemicals take a long time to break down into harmless molecules.

Something as simple as a shower can rinse harmful chemicals out of the body and lead to serious health risks, not to mention the harmful effect these chemicals have on the people who perform the car wash. Soap alternatives can help keep these chemicals out of the water supply while preventing workers from illness and all the medical bills that go with those illnesses.

In addition to the environmental impacts, most wash soaps require a large amount of water, which increases the cost.