5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (2024)

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (1)

Put that dish soap down!

As tempting as it may be to continue using dish soap to clean your car, you need to stop. You’ve invested in a pressure washer to wash your car, so you need to use a car detergent specifically formulated for cleaning your car to get the best results.

Better yet, you should use a car washing soap for pressure washers.

The best pressure washer detergents for cars will leave your car not only cleaner but also won’t do any damage to your car.

In this article I will review a few of the best power washer detergents for your car and give you some tips on what to look for when buying.

Let’s not forget that you are using chemicals on your car and not all soaps have your car’s best interest at heart. They might get your car cleaner, but some might actually be doing more harm than good.

Top 5 Best Car Shampoosin the UK

Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos Reviewed

1. Top Choice – Kärcher 3-in-1 Pressure Washer Detergent

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (2)


  • 3 in1 cleaning power
  • Works with non karchers
  • 1L of detergent
  • Great with foam nozzles


  • Good for general cleaning not stubborn dirt

Price & Reviews

If you have a Karcher power washer with the detergent system built in then this is exactly what you need to wash your car. Just drop it into the dedicated slot on your Karcher and it is ready to go.

If you don’t have that system or have a different model power washer than Karcher, then you can buy a 5 L canister and use it with a foam nozzle or with a vacuum tube.

This works great as a pre-wash foam that sticks well to the surface before you rinse.

Giving it a few minutes before you rinse will help dissolve road film and other dirt and grime. Then a rinse to clear the soap and it will dry quickly. Without streaks, as well.

It’s formulated to give the paint an extra bit of shine, without being a wax.

The bottle will fit into any Plug and Clean Karcher model from K2 to K7.

A downside to using this is that it isn’t cheap and the nozzle can use a lot of it quickly.

2. Runner Up – Autoglym Pressure Wash Car Shampoo / Snow Foam

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (3)


  • Large 5 liter size
  • Deep cleans
  • Very concentrated


  • Needs diluted

Price & Reviews

Specifically formulated for power washers and pH neutral, this car shampoo by Autoglym will give your car a deep clean without stripping the surface of any sealants or wax protection.

It’s very concentrated so a pre-soak will work quickly to lift the grease from your car surface. It’s especially good against really stuck on grease.

If you had a tough winter and feel that the dirt may be stubborn then this is a car shampoo you should consider first.

Because of that deep cleaning power, it also works well on engines that have accumulated some stuck on oil.

This car detergent works on all types of pressure washers. As long as it has a detergent nozzle or can be used with a vacuum tube, it will work fine.

3. Best Snow Foam – Pro-Kleen Advanced Pre-Wash

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (4)


  • pH Neutral
  • Super Concentrated
  • Non-caustic


  • Neesd diluted

Price & Reviews

For a good, thick foam that will lift and remove layers of filth from your car, use what the pros use. Pro-Kleen makes a great pH neutral snow foam for use with any pressure washer.

It’s an ideal car shampoo for pressure washers as the foam also helps to soften the dirt on your car so it is easier to wash.

If you have wheel rims that have a build-up of brake dust, then a soak with this snow foam will make short work of it.

Works great on engines, bikes and even barbecues.

4. Best Biodegradable – Bilt Hamber Auto Foam

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (5)


  • thorough clean power
  • Deep clean
  • Long lasting


  • Needs diluted
  • Harmful to eyes if contact is made

Price & Reviews

Extremely tough on traffic film, yet non-caustic and safe on car paint, Bilt Hamber is a guilt-free way to clean your car.

You may not get a thick, gooey foam that coats your car, but it’s an example of how you don’t always need a lot of foam when the formula works. Some of the thicker foams actually do worse when it comes to lifting dirt since the foam is so thick it doesn’t get properly softened.

Bilt Hamber are very keen to point out that there is a 4% PIR or Panel Impact Ratio. This means careful mixing of the concentrated solution with water before adding it to your foam nozzle.

Doing this with some care will result in excellent results with the added satisfaction of knowing that your bright, shiny and clean car didn’t come with any harmful side effects on the environment. Or the paint.

5. Best for traffic grime – Valet PRO pH Neutral Snow Foam

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (6)


  • Climate pledge friendly
  • pH Neutral
  • Extremely safe for your car


  • High 1:3 dilution

Price & Reviews

Valet Pro, as the name implies, is used by professional valets all over for top notch results. It’s one of the best selling car shampoos for power washers. Use it with a dedicated snow foam lance for best results.

It can deliver a great clean even at 25:1 dilution ratio. For deeper cleans a 5:1 ratio works great.

It’s pH neutral and does no harm to your paint surface. Even if you decide to not dilute and use neat with a spray foam nozzle, it still won’t strip away any sealants or wax.

For those of you that get a thrill from seeing your car covered in a thick foam, then you won’t be disappointed with the snow foam from Valet Pro. Though, the results will speak for themselves that it isn’t just for show. The foam will still be wet enough, even when thick, to be able to dissolve traffic film and stubborn dirt.

What to Look for In a Car Detergent

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As I mentioned, some car shampoos, usually the cheapest ones, are not good for your car.

Some strip the sealants that are there to protect your car’s paint from the sun and elements.

Other’s may not damage your car’s paint but can damage the environment.

Here’s a list of what to consider before you purchase your next car detergent:

pH Neutral

Look for a soap with a neutral pH balance of 7. The same pH as you would find in tap water.

Over acidic or alkaline can strip the sealant on the pain of your car leaving it exposed to damage.

If the soap is not advertised as pH balanced, then it likely contains some heavy duty solvents. This will eat away at your car.

If you don’t use a pH balanced soap, be prepared to have to reapply the wax or sealant to protect your car.


5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (8)

This may not be important to your car, but I believe that it is a must-have factor in choosing a car soap.

It’s no sacrifice to the quality of the clean when you buy a biodegradable or even organic car wash detergent, so there seems to be no downside.

If you live in an environmentally sensitive area especially, it should be high on the list of must-have feature.

Foam or No Foam?

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (9)

There is some debate about whether you should look for a high foam soap or not. Most foam soaps will stick to your car and linger there long enough to lift the dirt and grime from the surface.

A good snow foam type of detergent should work well to dissolve the dirt making it easier to wash off.

However, just because a soap is foamy, doesn’t mean it is actually cleaning. Sometimes the foam is just there to make it look like it’s working!

If your foamy soap doesn’t stick to the car and look like a meringue pie, then it really isn’t doing much.

If you want that thick, sticky foam, hedge your bets and use a power washer foam cannon along with your foamy soap.

5 Best Pressure Washer Car Shampoos & Detergents (2022 Review) (2024)


What detergent should I use in my pressure washer? ›

Let's make one thing clear right away though – only use pressure washer certified detergent with your equipment. These detergents are specifically made to work with pressure washers and get you the most effective, efficient cleaning solution possible.

What car shampoo do professionals use? ›

The Best Car Shampoo 2022
  • Autoglym Ultra High Definition Shampoo, 1 Litre.
  • Meguiar's G17748EU Ultimate Car Wash & Wax 1.4L, Shampoo that leaves a deep, glossy, just-waxed shine.
  • Turtle Wax 53340 Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax Car Shampoo 1. ...
  • Autoglym PWS002.5 Polar Wash 2.5 Litre.

Can you use car washing soap in a pressure washer? ›

You should only use a car wash soap or detergent that is suitable for pressure washer use and your car. Pressure washer cleaning solutions are concentrated. They have to be diluted before application.

How do I make my own pressure washer detergent? ›

DIY Power Washer Detergent for Concrete
  1. 1 gallon of water.
  2. ½ cup Borax.
  3. ½ cup washing soda.
  4. 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap.

Can I use vinegar in my pressure washer? ›

Some people like to use a mixture of water and vinegar in their washers. White vinegar is the strongest and can be used with the pressure washer. The toughest stains should be cleaned with white vinegar.

Can you use Turtle Wax car wash pressure washer? ›

Cleaning a car with a Turtle Wax Pressure Washer is a great way to keep a car clean. Turtle Wax have a range of pressure washers that use the right pressure and cleaning compounds to get the dirt off.

What should I use to clean my car exterior? ›

Mix ¼ cup of soap (not dish washing soap, as this might damage your car's paint) with one gallon of hot water. It is best to use a soap with a vegetable oil base. Use a clean sponge to wash the exterior, and a bristled brush for the tires and wheels.

What products do car Valeters use? ›

What You'll Need to Valet the Outside of Your Car
  • A pressure washer or hose (a snow foam lance)
  • A dedicated car cleaning mitt and two buckets.
  • A range of high-quality microfibre cloths.
  • A wheel brush.
  • A chamois leather.
  • Car polish.
  • Car wax.
  • Wheel cleaner.
Apr 21, 2021

Can you use Rainx car wash in pressure washer? ›

How to Wash Your Car At Home | Rain-X High Foaming Car Wash

How much psi should a pressure washer have for washing a car? ›

In fact, the best PSI for car wash that can effectively and safely clean a car is around 1200 to 1900 PSI. The max PSI for car wash you can use should be only 1900 PSI. So to be safe, use a pressure washer with a PSI around the range of 1200 to 1900 PSI. Around that PSI range will suffice for thoroughly washing a car.

What is special about car shampoo? ›

Car shampoo is engineered to leave your car with a shiny, water-repellent finish, so it's easy to rinse – but also more resistant to rain and dirt. A nice scent is a bonus, as is a reassuringly thick layer of foam in the bucket.

Is car shampoo with wax good? ›

If you use a shampoo and wax, it will add a layer of short-term protection from dirt and road grime (possibly up to a month's worth) to the paintwork - which also gives it an added depth of shine. The protective film from shampoo and wax products also mean you'll notice the water run off the car quicker.

Is it bad to pressure wash your car? ›

No. Plenty of people use a pressure washer to clean their car, but it can do more harm than good. Using a pressure washer can damage or nick the paint, which could lead to rust. A car wash will usually get the job done—so will a garden hose and soapy sponge.

What pressure washer do chemical guys use? ›

Chemical-resistant seals and O-rings stand up to Chemical Guys soaps and ensure leak-free operation. The Professional Max Foam 8 Cannon works with any gas or electric pressure washer 500-3,500 PSI. Never exceed 4,200 PSI with either cannon. Minimum 1.4 GPM; 2.0 GPM recommended; Never Exceed 5.3 GPM.

Will a pressure washer damage car paint? ›

The majority of experts with decades of experience washing cars have concluded that pressure washers do not damage paint on modern cars – provided they're used correctly and at the right pressure, which is between 1200 – 1900 PSI.

Is bleach good for power washing? ›

Never Use Bleach with Pressure Washers

But, when you see mold or mildew growing on your siding or walkway, don't even consider running bleach through your power washer. Bleach will corrode your pump's seals and essentially render the pressure washer useless.

Can I use Dawn dish soap in my pressure washer? ›

You can use Dawn dish soap in your pressure washer, but you need to dilute it properly with hot water. Take 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and dilute it in 1-1.5 quarts of hot water. However, the results of cleaning with Dawn dish soap might not be as effective as some special pressure washer detergents.

Should you dilute pressure washer detergent? ›

Consider this problem: One part pressure washer detergent should be mixed with 20 parts water for proper dilution (1:20). The pressure washer uses a fixed mixing ratio of 1:7 detergent to water.

What should you not power wash? ›

Surfaces you should not try to power or pressure wash are: Laminar sandstone – You'll simply wash it away, or wash grooves in it. It's too soft of a material to power or pressure wash. Anything painted – While painted items can be washed, it usually takes a pro to do it without destroying the paint.

What is the difference between a power washer and a pressure washer? ›

The main difference with power washing vs. pressure washing is the heat. The jet wash in a power washing machine uses heated water, whereas the water in a pressure washer is not heated.

Is Turtle Wax a good car wash? ›

It's not perfect, but the closest you'll get to a really good quick wash. I don't even wipe off the excess water most of the time. You'll still see some spots on the glass, but the car will look awesome. You don't get a hand polished wax finish, but you do get a light layer of protection.

Can you use Armor All car wash in a pressure washer? ›

Can I use Armor All® Car Wash in a pressure or power washer? Armor All® Foam Cannon connects to a pressure washer, making it easy to keep your car looking clean.

How much PSI do I need to clean my driveway? ›

To clean concrete effectively, use a power washer with a pressure rating of at least 3000 psi and a flow rate of at least 4 gallons per minute (gpm).

How can I make my car look wet and shiny? ›

The Quick Answer. The first thing you need to do when trying to make your car's paint look glossy and wet, is to wash it thoroughly, strip the old wax, and decontaminate it using a clay bar and iron remover. Then you can refine the finish using a compound followed by polishing.

Should I buff or wax my car? ›

If you have a lot of scratches or rust then polish will be the product of choice. Waxing helps to protect the car and produce a high shine. You should wax your car approximately every 3 months, but polishing only needs to be done when you notice problem spots.

What is the best auto polish or wax? ›

Best Car Waxes For 2022
  • Meguiar's G7016 Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Liquid Wax : Best Overall Wax.
  • Mother's California Gold Pure Brazilian Carnauba Liquid Wax : Best Carnauba Liquid Wax.
  • Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Pro Graphene Spray Wax : Best Spray Wax.
  • Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax : Best Soft Wax.
May 2, 2022

What is the fastest way to clean car exterior? ›

A Cleaner Car In Just 5 Minutes | Autoblog Details - YouTube

Can I use baby shampoo to wash my car? ›

Can I use baby shampoo to wash my car? Yes, baby shampoo is a great solution to try, more so when you want to protect the wax coating. Baby shampoo is quite mild, and it will be gentle on the body.

Can I wash my car with shampoo? ›

Using shampoo to remove built-up dirt and grime from your vehicle is an effective and safe way to wash your car on a budget. If diluted correctly, shampoo is an excellent replacement for store-bought chemicals. However, do not let the soap dry onto your vehicle's paint as it may cause damage.

What do car Valeters use on dashboard? ›

Typically, the best cleaner for a car dashboard is a simple oil soap and water solution. You can use Castile soap, which is an amazing oil soap with many uses. This type of soap is tough enough to provide a thorough cleaning but gentle enough for materials like leather.

What do car detailers use to clean interior? ›

A Detailer's Secrets On Interior Detailing For Your Car. - YouTube

Should I get my car Valeted? ›

Simply, having your car professionally valeted saves you money. Your car is likely to be the second biggest investment you make other than your home. Regular valeting can protect your car from excessive depreciation.

Can I use Simple Green in a pressure washer? ›

A recipient of the Safer Choice label, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner can be used in pressure washers and on all washable surfaces, and easily removes tough dirt and grime without the use of caustic chemicals.

Can I use wet and forget in my pressure washer? ›

ONLY USE the ready to spray Wet & Forget Xtreme Reach™ Hose End. If you use a pressure washer, only use pressure washers that can pull from a separate container with the pre-mixed solution of 5:1 otherwise, we do not recommend pressure washers as you will not get the proper dilution or results.

Is 3000 PSI too much for a car? ›

Using 3000 PSI and a nozzle of 0 degrees or 15 degrees is too much for the body of your car, and there is a high chance that you will damage the paint.

What is more important in a pressure washer PSI or GPM? ›

GPM is usually more important to contractors than PSI. Since most contractors use cleaning chemicals to do all of the cleaning, their job becomes one primarily of rinsing the dirt away.

How much PSI is too much for a car? ›

Higher pressure generally is not dangerous, as long as you stay well below the “maximum inflation pressure.” That number is listed on each sidewall, and is much higher than your “recommended tire pressure” of 33 psi, Gary. So, in your case, I'd recommend that you put 35 or 36 psi in the tires and just leave it there.

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