can i use laundry detergent to wash my car

Can I Use Laundry Detergent to Wash My Car?

Washing your car is a relevant thing to do in order for you to retain the good exterior look of your car, and especially to avoid dirt and other unnecessary particles which could damage your car paint in the long run. This is not a problem for car owners who visits the car wash center regularly, but how about those who just do it on their own? One of the things to consider when washing your own car is the kind of cleaning agent that you should use. You may wonder, “Can I use laundry detergent to wash my car?”

That’s a normal question for newbies, but of course, the answer is no. How about heading to the automotive section of the supermarket and find the cleaning agent used for cars? This is the easiest way to figure out what you should use. Looking back on the cleaning agents, let us discuss on what you should not use when washing your car.

Can I use Laundry Detergent to wash my car?

This is a big no, no. Laundry detergents are made up of chemicals that would eventually wear out the car’s paint, rubber moldings and plastics. The purpose of laundry detergents are primarily for washing clothes, that’s why they contain degreasers to break up the oil-based clothing. The chemicals in a laundry detergent is powerful which may enable your car to look gloomy and dull after using this for how many times.

Say for instance, you have used a laundry detergent once. Don’t worry. This would not make your car’s paint become dull directly. Just make sure to use it only once whether by accident or choice.

Can I use Shampoo to wash my car?

Unlike laundry detergents, shampoos have lesser strong chemicals and yes, you may use them to wash your car. However, there are still limitations. Do not leave the shampoo too long. After finishing up the application of shampoo, immediately rinse it off. Leaving the shampoo too long may also cause fading of the car paint. Again, this would mean dullness in the long run. Even if regular shampoos are cheap, there is still lesser reason for you to use it because a car shampoo is specifically designed to clean the car thoroughly.

To be specific, can I use baby shampoo to wash my car?

This is still a shampoo designed for babies, and yes, this can be used to wash your car. Baby shampoos contain lighter chemicals and they smell good.  Regular shampoos and baby shampoos have the same effects on making the car’s paint fade; that’s why rinsing the car immediately is the best way to do. Baby shampoos also leave an excess which is sometimes difficult to clean. These residues may exhibit an effect in your car’s paint. The technique when using this is by diluting it well and immediately rinse it as soon as you are done.

These 3 cleaning agents that we talked about are just few examples that you should avoid when washing your car. Automotive shampoos are readily available in supermarkets and they are not that costly. These are specially-designed shampoos to fit for your car’s needs. There is no reason why you cannot buy it. Moreover, the amount of car shampoo that you can use every time you wash your car is not that plenty. There is a need to dilute it with water; therefore, there’s no need to worry on how long can a bottle of car shampoo last.

For the reason that you bought your own car, there comes along expenses that are out of your budget because you did focused more on your car’s maintenance. Yes, I totally agree with that. Car’s maintenance is primarily the priority; however, taking care of your car by washing it with a proper cleaning agent is also vital to maintaining the aesthetics. 

Questions may arise like this one, “What if a car shampoo is out of my budget and I cannot afford it?”

Well, it all depends on your perception and decision. If you are planning to sell your car after using it for how many years, you still wanted it to look like close to brand new, right? The buyer may want to see everything in the car; not to mention the mileage and its performance, but the exterior part of the car is the first thing that a potential buyer may see. As we all know, first impressions are very important. For example, if your car is already 5 years old but you haven’t been using a car shampoo for a while now, there is a tendency that the paint will fade and it may look like 5 years older.

If this is the case, you might need to consider using an authentic car shampoo as early as now. It’s beneficial for your buyer and for you because it’s a win-win situation. Your buyer gets a car with a close-to-brand new look, and you will have a bigger cash return if by the time your car is finally sold.


So, can I use laundry detergent to wash my car? No, no, and no. We’ve clearly stated and emphasized this above. Setting aside a budget for your car’s shampoo is very important if you want to maintain its shining, shimmering, splendid look. It might be three years already, but because you are using the right cleaning agent, no wonder your car still looks great.

Also, it is significant to consider using the right tools and material like for example the sponge. You should also implement proper techniques if you are the one washing your car. You should also wash in a shady area away from direct sunlight; washing in a direct sunlight leaves out watermarks that are not good to look at.

Since we’ve tackled everything already about the cleaning agents you should avoid, now you can head directly with no hesitations to where the right car shampoo is located.