Can you wash your car with laundry detergent?

can you wash your car with laundry detergent
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The question can you wash your car with laundry detergent? It is common among car owners.

You’ve probably heard you can wash your car safely with soaps and detergents. In the end, suds are just suds. Knowing what you can and cannot use on your paint is a good idea because some cleaning products will cause more harm than good. We can answer your question about whether you can complete this task with washing detergent. We investigated the underlying science so that you could be sure if it were safe.

Laundry Detergent To Wash The Car 

Using laundry detergent to wash your automobile is not advised because most contain abrasive chemicals and degreasing agents that can significantly harm your vehicle’s paint and protective layer.

Laundry Detergent To Wash The Car
Credit Source: CARS24

However, you must wash your car immediately; all you have is laundry detergent. In that case, you can lessen the possible harm to your car’s exterior by diluting the detergent with water.

Pros And Cons Of Using Laundry Detergent To Wash A Car 

There are always some advantages and disadvantages to every single chemical-based thing. The use of laundry detergent for washing a car also has some advantages and disadvantages of its own. 

The advantages of using laundry detergent to wash your car are- 

  • Laundry detergent is one of the most widely used and reasonably priced car cleaning supplies.
  • It may be purchased at any grocery shop and is typically far less expensive than products designed for washing cars.
  • Additionally, it is available in various forms, including liquid, powder, and gel, so you may select the one that best suits your requirements.
  • Also, laundry detergent removes mud and filth from your car’s exterior.
  • The detergent’s high-foaming action aids in lifting dirt and grime from the surface, making it simpler to rinse away.

The disadvantages of using laundry detergent to wash your car are- 

  • Even though laundry detergent can be a powerful automotive cleanser, your automobile’s finish may suffer significantly.
  • Many laundry detergents include strong chemicals that might remove the wax coating that protects the surface of your car.
  • This could expose it to environmental degradation, fading, discoloration, and oxidation.
  • The fact that laundry detergent is not intended for use in autos is another drawback of using it.
  • It might not be as successful as removing tough dirt and grime with specialized auto-cleaning products.

Other Alternatives To Car Wash 

  • Laundry Detergent- In an emergency, some laundry detergents can also be used to wash your car. Use a gentle laundry detergent that isn’t too potent to prevent your paint from being stripped away. Since we use mild laundry detergent to clean our clothes, it should be able to remove practically any dirt or filth from your car.

You must dilute the mixture somewhat before applying it to your vehicle, just like conventional dish soap. When using this substitute to wash your automobile, use a sizable bucket full of water and minimal soap. In contrast to regular dishwashing, you won’t have to worry as much about streaks or swirls on your automobile.

  • Hand Soap- Additionally, you might think about using hand soap, albeit doing so might be challenging, given that most hand soap containers don’t initially contain much liquid. Hand soap is also far less efficient than typical vehicle wash soap. But if you have nothing else, it’s better than nothing.

If your hand soap recipe foams a lot, as opposed to more liquid-like soaps, you will have a better experience. This is so that the foam can lift away dirt and grime that has been rubbed into the paintwork or finish of your car so that it may be washed off. 

Another major benefit is that most hand soap products have pleasant scents, so your car will continue to smell good after being washed. Regular soap shouldn’t need to be diluted as much as dish soap or laundry detergent, but as with any substitute for car soap, pay close attention to what happens as you wash your car in stages. If you notice that the paint is starting to come off, stop.

  • Baby Shampoo- You can even use baby- or kid-friendly mixtures on your car. Why just these two kinds of shampoo and not others? The shampoo is considerably kinder since newborns’ and children’s skin is more delicate than normal adults’.

As a result, kids’ shampoo won’t be very effective on your automobile; you may struggle to remove stains that are very strong or grime that has been pushed deeply into the paint. However, it also implies that the likelihood of removing your paint is significantly reduced.

Keep in mind that shampoo can be quite useful for removing specific types of grime, such as bird droppings or other organic material.

Dish Soap
Credit Source: Tool Tally
  • Dishwasher Soap- Is using this gelatinous detergent to wash a car safely? It works well at removing oil from dishes. Unfortunately, “gentle” dish soaps can still be too abrasive to put on the clear layer of your car, which is sensitive. Many popular products have hazardous or corrosive ingredients within their formulae, which can dissolve the wax barrier behind the grime.

Some cleaning agents and techniques can only destroy the car’s protective wax coating if replaced, making them effective for thoroughly cleaning your vehicle.

Because of this, car maintenance professionals advise utilizing specific automotive-safe cleansers and wash/wax solutions. They are typically less expensive than other laundry detergents and are guaranteed to strengthen your car’s paint and wax coatings rather than damage them.


What Kind Of Detergent Can You Use To Wash Your Car?

Never clean the paint with common cleaning products like hand soap, dish soap, or glass cleaner. These can remove the protective wax because they aren’t designed for use on a car’s paint. Use a specialized car-wash product that is gentler and intended to be used on vehicle paint.

What Is A Good Homemade Car Wash?

A potent car wash shampoo that can remove most pollution from the paint or glass can be made by combining 1 ounce of dish soap with 1 gallon of water. Bug removal – A significant buildup of bugs can be easily removed by adding 1 ounce of dish soap to 1 gallon of water.

Should I Shampoo My Car?

Regular deep cleaning of the car seats is essential, especially if you spend a lot of time eating and drinking. A seat and floor shampoo will also eliminate stains, pet hair, dirt, and other gunk that gets tracked into your car if you have kids, dogs, or both.

Do You Need Soap To Wash The Car?

Make sure you remember the towel because a car that isn’t permitted to dry will get spots that damage the washing in the first place. Dish and hand soaps can harm the paint covering your car, therefore, it’s important to use the right soap. Grease and dirt should be removed using a rag, and water should always be used before and after washing to wet the paint and remove dirt. When cleaning, make sure to use clean water and to frequently refill your bucket when you go back for additional soapy water.

What Is The Best Homemade Car Cleaner?

Fill a spray bottle with 2 teaspoons of baby oil (or mineral oil), 1 cup of warm water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of Blue Dawn, and 1 cup of warm water. Combine by shaking.
Spray it on a cloth, then apply it to the surface that has to be cleaned and polished. Use this on the dashboard, doors, and tires. This formula can also clean the car’s handbrake, steering wheel, and other non-leather interior components.


You may wash your car with laundry detergent.

However, it’s crucial to remember that it can remove the finish of your car’s protective wax coating and may not be as efficient as specialized auto cleaning products.

The best course of action is to use laundry detergent as a last resort and, wherever it is practical, to use a specialized car cleaning product.

The risk of stripping your car’s paint means that while there are many alternatives to carwash soap, there are often better ones. It’s up to you to choose the formula that will work best for your car without harming the paint job because some options are superior to others in a crisis.

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