Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Car?

Last Updated:
Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Car

Washing your car more often is beneficial to your vehicle. When driving on a rough road, mud, dirt, and rain may attach to the car’s surface. If you don’t remove them, they will damage your paint. Washing also improves the condition of your vehicle by removing impurities and increasing the longevity of your paint. 

Imagine driving with debris on your windows, mirrors, and tires. That could be risky right? So washing also improves your safety. If you want to sell your car, no one would like to buy a dirty car. Keeping your car clean always improves its value. You wouldn’t like to drive while smartly dressed only to get dirty when you shut your truck. You might not manage to wash your car daily, but at least once or twice per week. Even it means paying someone to clean; the benefits above are worth it.

The question remains, can I use dish soap to wash my car? The answer is no. The work of dish soap is to remove oil from your dishes. It can also be useful to remove any tree sap and bird poo from your car. Unfortunately, dish soap increases the oxidation process making the car look dull. It does not only break down your car wax, but it is also tough on rubber. 

How Can You Determine The Right Soap For Your Car?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “is it ok to wash your car with dish soap”? What is the right soap to wash your car? Laundry soap or even hand soap, not to mention household cleaners are not substitutes. Their PH is not balanced and can damage your paint if you use them. 

Good car soap should be less aggressive, unlike dish soap. It should have good lubricity and also easy foaming to lift. It should also be able to suspend contaminants embedded on your paint’s surface. You can visit your local auto-parts store and buy a soap explicitly designed to wash cars. 

What Do You Need When Washing Your Car?

Apart from the right soap, here are other things you must have before washing your car.

  1. Either a sponge or washing mitts- The washing mitts must either be made of microfiber or a sheepskin. 
  2. A brush to wash the tire– If you don’t have a brush, you can have an additional sponge.
  3. A bug or a tar removal wheel cleaner
  4. Three buckets- two containing soapy water and the second one with plain water for rinsing. 
  5. Microfiber drying towel– you can also use a squeegees 
  6. A wax You can decide to have a wax either you can spray or the one you can rub on. It is optional, and you don’t require it every time you wash your car.
  7. Polish (Optional )

Here Are the Steps to Follow When Washing Your Car by Hands

1. Prepare

Start by parking your car under a shade. If you wash it in direct sun, the vehicle gets hot. The water evaporates faster, making it difficult to clean your car. Close all the windows to prevent water from getting in. Retract the antenna to prevent it from getting snapped off.

Pull the windshield wiper off the window and ensure they click in their propped position. Bring all the equipment you require near your car. Fill two buckets with water and put soap. Fill the third bucket with plain water.

2. Wash Your Car

Loosen/soften the dirt from your car by spraying water on your vehicle using a hose. Since you don’t want to scratch the paint by rubbing the grit over it, avoid using a hose that has very high water pressure. Aim the water on the surface and not the window since the water might enter your car in case the rubber seals have flaws. 

Start by washing the wheels since they are the dirtiest. The long skinny wheel-brush will be of great help when cleaning the wheels. You don’t have to use a brush if the wheels are clean and glossy. You can clean them either using a sponge or a mitt.

Once you finish washing the wheel, clean the surface. Start by soaking the sponge/mitt in the soapy water. Apply it on the car and scrub the surface. Avoid using a brush to wash the surface of your vehicle. Wash each section of your truck at a time. Remember, you need the soap to drip all over, clean starting from the top down to the bottom.

If the car has tough stains, make multiple passes. You should not scrub your car excessively since you might damage the paint. Things like bird droppings, splatted bugs, and tree saps can be tough to remove. Form a habit of removing them immediately before they stick. If you fail to remove them and they stick, be careful when washing the car since they can damage the paint. Use the mitt to wash them off. You can also use bug and tar removal if need be. 

Your mitt should remain clean and keep on rinsing each part you wash. Let the car remain wet as you continue cleaning. Wash the lower car body and finish by washing the tire sidewalls using a plastic brush. Rinse the car bottom by spraying water from the hose on it from different angles.

3. Dry And Wax Your Car

Use a fresh towel to dry your vehicle. Since you want to dry it thoroughly to prevent rust from building up, you can use more than one towel. Once you dry it, wax the car. Treat any rust with a rust converter. In case your vehicle’s paint has any significant damage, you need to paint the damaged part. In the windows of your car, apply a water-repellent treatment. In case the windscreen has any dirt, wipe it off using baby wipes. 


If you want to wash your car, you must have the right soap. Avoid dish soap since it will cause damage to your paint. Before cleaning your truck, prepare yourself by parking the car under a shade and have all the equipment you require. Finish by drying your car using a fresh towel(s), wax, and paint any damaged part. 

Leave a Comment