If there’s something that can lower your confidence, then it’s driving a dirty and dingy car covered with a lovely shade of mud, dust, and white birds’ poop. Worst yet, failing to wash your car can over time cause serious problems in case dust and dirt debris find their way in key components within the engine. If you’re the one we’re speaking to, sparing some hours to gather some cleaning tools, not forgetting the best car wash soap alternative is one surefire way you can use to clean your car to restore its former glory.
While it’s easier said, finding the right car wash soap is quite hard as most soap solutions contain chemical agents that can have mild or substantial effects on your car’s exterior. So, to save your frustration, this guide will discuss several car wash solution alternatives, including DIY car wash solutions that are formulated to be less aggressive as compared to most store-bought soaps. The most surprising thing about this list is that even after narrowing down our choices, we’re still left with an overwhelming list of options.
6 DIY Car Wash Soap Alternatives
1. Dish Liquid Soap
Dish liquid soap is by far one of the most popular soap alternatives considered by most car owners. First, it works, and second, it’s formulated to cut through tough stains caused by grease and oils. Since it’s highly effective among most kitchen enthusiasts, dish liquid soap can serve as a perfect alternative in cleaning certain types of stains on your car’s exterior such as dirt, grease, and oils.
However, although it’s an ideal candidate, this DIY method is not formulated to clean your car as it can be harsh on your paint. Therefore, you need to be very careful not to overuse this soap solution. A small portion will do just fine. You also need to rinse the car with a lot of water to remove grime, dirt, and any unsightly residue the soap might leave behind.
How to Make a DIY Liquid Soap
Making your own liquid soap at home for cleaning your car using natural ingredients is both easy and cost-efficient. Here, we will discuss a short yet detailed step-by-step procedure you can consider. Depending on your needs, you can make a soap solution that smells delicious (using essential oils) or one that’s extremely powerful (using powerhouse Borax).
- Step One: The first step is to mix about 2 cups of water (450 ml) with grated soap flakes then stir them gently in a medium source pan
- Step Two: Heat the solution until the soap melts completely. This should take around 10 – 15 minutes after which you should allow the mixture to cool down for 10 minutes.
- Step Three: Depending on how thick the mixture is, you’ll need to add at least 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of distilled white vinegar to the mixture then stir them well. You can also substitute the white vinegar with fresh lemon juice as it’s also hailed for removing tough stains.
- Step Four: Once the vinegar is fully incorporated, you can add about 15 to 40 drops of your favorite essential oil fragrance to give the soap a fresh smell. When you’re done, allow the mixture to cool completely before transferring it to a clean soap dispenser.
Now, if you’re looking for an extremely powerful soap solution, you can consider mixing 2 grams of Borax with 120 ml of liquid castile soap, 14 grams of washing soda, and 30 ml of white vinegar. Stir them in a source pan until they’re well blended.
Mix them with about 2 ½ cups of boiling water then heat them gently until they boil. This should take approximately 10 minutes. From there, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil then allow the mixture to cool before transferring it to a soap dispenser.
2. Laundry Detergent
Another route you can opt to take if you’re looking to effectively clean your car is by using laundry detergent. According to most homeowners, laundry detergent has proved to be a powerful formula when it comes to cleaning deep-rooted stains from your clothes, sheets, and towels. The same way it’s able to perform on your garments, laundry detergent is predicted to give similar results by removing any type of grime, dirt, and greasy stains on your car’s exterior.
However, since laundry detergent isn’t a real car wash soap, you need to be really careful with the amount you use as too much of it can ruin your car’s paint job. Therefore, before you proceed with the cleaning task, you need to dilute the detergent with water before applying.
You also need to understand the type of paint that’s on your vehicle to determine whether it’s too weak to withstand the harshness of the detergent. So, if you decide to take this route, you need to be really meticulous with your cleaning as you have to rinse your car with excess water to avoid leaving laundry detergent buildup on the surface of your car.
How to Make a DIY Laundry Detergent
Now, depending on what’s available, the formula for making laundry detergent is quite similar to that of making liquid soap. The materials are the same (Borax, washing soda, and castile soap/soap flakes). In the case of powdered laundry detergent, most people often choose to mix12 tablespoons of the powdered laundry detergent with one cup of dishwasher soap in a bucket full of water. To prevent streaking, you can opt to add borax to the solution then rinse the car with a lot of water.
3. Hand Soap
Another alternative car wash soap you can consider when cleaning your car is hand soap. Although this route is not the very best, you may consider its convenience at some point especially when you’re in a pinch. Since you can’t just allow grime, dirt, and all sort of stains to accumulate in your car, taking this route will still bear positive results though after a long hassle.
Although it still does a surprisingly good job, hand soap has a mild nature, which means you have to use a higher concentration of soap if you want to get a lot of foam that will cover your vehicle adequately.
The good thing about it, however, is that hand soaps are easy to get so you can buy as much as you need depending on what you wish to achieve. These soaps also come in different variations ranging from scented to unscented ones thus giving you a chance to choose any fragrance of your choice from a variety of options. Finally, since hand soaps are not formulated to be used on cars, you need to be concerned with your car’s finish.
How to Make a DIY Hand Soap
Since it’s quite hard to use a bar hand wash to wash your car, we will highlight a simple DIY process that you can consider to turn your bar soap into a liquid soap for fast and efficient cleaning of your car’s exterior. In this project, all you’ll need is a block of bar soap, a knife/cheese grater, distilled water, and essential oil.
- Step One: Start by chopping or grating a typical 4-ounce of bar soap to come up with tiny soap flakes.
- Step Two: Next, put the grated soap flakes on a source pan and put them aside. Take another pan and boil about 64 fluid ounces of water. The reason why distilled water is preferred over direct tap water is due to the extra softness it adds to the soap.
- Step Three: Once the water boils, add it to the soap flakes and start stirring until every bit of the flakes melt. Continue stirring until you have a thin consistency. At this point, allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes then continue stirring until it becomes slightly thicker.
- Step Four: Allow the soap to rest for about 12 to 24 hours. After that, continue stirring until you get a congealed soap.
- Step Five: From there, you can finalize your project by pouring the soap into a dispenser. Now, if you were using a fragrant bar, you don’t need to add any essential oils for extra fragrance. However, if the soap was unscented, then you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it some inspiring fragrance.
4. Baby Shampoo
For those with babies around, our next alternative car wash soap will be a huge favor to your wallets. Now, when you think of a baby’s soft and delicate new skin, what comes to mind is an extremely gentle baby shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, harmful detergents, and synthetic fragrances that can irritate the baby’s skin.
The same effects it has on your baby are the same it has on your car. However, though, since your car is susceptible to tough stains caused by grime, greases, oils, and dirt, the gentler formulation of baby shampoo makes it less effective in dealing with such heavy dirt build-up.
As a result, baby shampoo is best considered when wiping off birds’ poop from the surface of your car or the windows.
So, if you were to use this soap alternative to remove birds’ dropping from your car, you need to ensure that you mix approximately 3 ounces of the baby shampoo with at least 3 gallons of water. Also, ensure that you rinse it thoroughly after every application to avoid ruining your car’s paint job.
How to Make a DIY Baby Shampoo
Due to the hiked prices of most store-bought baby shampoos, not forgetting the use of harmful chemicals, there are times when making your own DIY baby shampoo might seem like a logical step. The best thing about making your own shampoo is that the ingredients used are very inexpensive and are safely formulated.
So, in this recipe, you’ll need;
- Liquid castile soap
- Vegetable glycerin
- Carrier oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, and almond oil
- Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile
For the instructions, you’ll only need to;
- Add 16 oz of liquid castile soap to a pump bottle
- Next, add about 4 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin (it’s a natural moisturizer)
- Add one tablespoon of aloe vera juice, 10 drops of your favorite essential oil, and 1 – 2 tablespoons of almond oil
- Add a few ounces of water then fit the lid. From there, you only need to shake the pump bottle vigorously for a few seconds to mix the ingredients.
5. Hair Conditioner
One of the most interesting options for washing your car is by using a hair conditioner. Just to clarify things here, a hair conditioner is not used for washing the car but rather for polishing your car to make it shiny. In fact, it works more like car polish. However, if the hair conditioner you’re using contains lanolin in its formulation, then you can use it to wash your car as lanolin is known to remove grime and make your car’s surface shiny.
As one of the most affordable routes, using a hair conditioner with lanolin allows you to pre-wax your car to give it an extra sparkle. Besides that, lanolin acts as a protective layer that repels water from your car’s surface to protect your car’s paint job.
So, How Do You Wax Your Car Using Hair Conditioner?
You’ll need the following supplies;
- Several microfiber cloths
- A dry clean towel
- Hair conditioner
- Dish soap of your choice
- A bucket
- Step One: You will start by cleaning your car the same way you usually do. When you’re done, rinse your car thoroughly using clean water then dry it entirely using a hand towel.
- Step Two: Once you’re done, rinse the bucket with clean water then add ½ cup of hair conditioner. Using a clean microfiber towel, rub the hair conditioner on the surface of your car until it’s entirely smooth.
- Step Three: Using a hose, rinse your car with excess water then use a new microfiber cloth to wipe the surface until it’s entirely shiny.
6. Wheel Cleaner
Our final soap alternative you can consider for washing your car is using a wheel cleaner. Now, the convenience of a wheel cleaner usually comes in handy when you have a little left and you don’t have any car wash soap available.
Now, the best thing about wheel cleaner is that it has a similar formulation to that of your car’s wash soap with just a few extra ingredients added to make it more effective. However, you need to be really careful with this one as the extra ingredients can turn out to be too harsh on your car’s paint job.
Therefore, to avoid such issues, you need to dilute the wheel cleaner with water to make it gentler on your car’s paint while still strong enough to remove grime and tough stains.
Cleaning your car may sound like a straightforward endeavor. However, there are several factors you need to consider before you can proceed. First, you need to watch out for the type of wash soap alternatives you’re using as some have harsh formulations that can ruin your car’s paint job. Secondly, there are many homemade car wash solutions you can make in the comfort of your home and achieve greater results as most of them do not have the chemical composition you’ll find in most commercial car wash products.
Finally, when using most of these solutions, you need to dilute them with water then rinse your car with excess water to make it clean while still preserving its cosmetic and aesthetic appeal. With that said, this guide has both discussed the best car wash soap alternatives and has gone ahead to discuss various ways you can make your own cost-effective DIY soap alternatives.