4 Simple Reasons Not To Use Shampoo To Clean A Car

Car cleanliness is part of their maintenance, and the thing is, different people have various washing routines for their cars.

As much as where and how you wash your car are important, what you wash it with is also crucial.

You may think whatever goes as long as your car is clean, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Whatever you wash your car with affects it one way or the other. So, is shampoo good for washing your car?

Quick Answer

As a general rule, you shouldn’t use shampoo to wash your car as it can ruin the paint and remove other protective layers on your car. You should let shampoos do what they’re meant to do; wash your hair and not use them on your car. 

You may feel that the texture and purpose are similar to car wash shampoo, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Therefore, before taking out your bottle of shampoo, you’d better find out its effects on your car and if there’s a way around it.

Check out the article to find your answer!

Can You Use Shampoo To Wash Your Car?

Shampoos are meant to break down the dirt and oil in hair and wash it clean.

Shampoos indeed wash and clean the hair and other stuff. In fact, shampoos will probably wash your car squeaky clean, and others’ experiences may prove this.

But does this mean you should use shampoo to wash your car?

As a whole, you shouldn’t use shampoo to wash your car because of the following reasons:

  • Shampoo contains abrasives
  • It lacks lubrication
  • Can leave streaks and spots on cars
  • Contains oil-dissolving elements

While you can wash your car with shampoo, you shouldn’t.

Your car might look good after a good shampoo wash, but it’s not without consequences.

The following reasons should convince you otherwise that shampoo isn’t great on cars:

Shampoo Contains Abrasives

The shampoo contains abrasive ingredients that can irritate the car paint and cause it to fade.

Of course, you may not notice this the first time you wash your car with shampoo; however, it’s a gradual process. 

Continued use of shampoo to wash your car will cause the paint to fade and eventually leave your car vulnerable to the elements.

It Lacks Lubrication

Shampoos are meant for washing the hair and lack lubricating features.

This leaves your car prone to scratches when washing, and sometimes, no matter how gently you wash the car, you just can’t prevent that. 

Using shampoo to wash your car can disfigure the car due to too many scratches. Then it’ll cost you more to fix that.

Can Leave Streaks And Spots On Cars

Shampoos are unsuitable on cars; if you’re not careful when using them, they can leave streaks and spots on your car.

They can dry quickly on your car and leave white streaks even after rinsing, especially when you wash during hot weather.

Contains Oil-Dissolving Elements

Your car has different protective layers, ranging from wax, clear coat, and paint.

Due to the oil-dissolving elements contained in shampoos, they can break down these defenses and leave your car vulnerable to the elements. 

The shampoo is meant to break down the oil and dirt in hair, and the factors responsible for that have the idea that they’re washing a car. 


While washing your car with shampoo has some heavy and costly disadvantages, sometimes, you might be out of options for what to use to wash your car.

In this case, you may use it to wash your car; however, this should be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence to prevent any serious damage.

One thing you can do is to ensure that you dilute the shampoo very well to mitigate the effects of the abrasive and oil-dissolving elements in it.

You can dilute it with plenty of water and baking soda.

Furthermore, you should use the right sponge to wash your car to prevent trapping dirt and debris on your car and leaving scratches. 

In addition, you shouldn’t wash your car in the sun and avoid leaving the car to dry.

Rinse off the shampoo immediately.

However, you may need to wax your car the next time you wash it to get your car defenses back up because you may be unable to tell whether your car’s protective layer is all good.

Most importantly, you should get a car wash shampoo for your car. This is the safest way to wash and protect your car.

You should ensure you always have a bottle stacked in your garage, so you won’t have to go for unsafe alternatives.


Shampoos are not ideal for washing cars.

Sure, they can wash your car, but don’t let that deceive you; you may be ruining the paint job if you carry on. 

Get quality car wash shampoo for your car for effective washing and to ensure nothing happens to the protective layer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Car wash shampoo is the safest cleaning agent to use on your car, 
  • Shampoo can cause your car’s paint to fade,
  • Dilute shampoo with a lot of water and maybe add baking soda if you have no choice,
  • Don’t let shampoo dry on your car.









Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge