Don’t Wash Your Car With Laundy Detergent (Use This Instead)

Washing a car is needed to maintain the car’s outlook, and this should be done with care.

Some people don’t care much about what they use to wash their car, as long as it is clean.

However, if you care about your car, you’d want to be careful with the cleaning agent you use on your car.

You might notice that the people you know use laundry detergents to wash their car, and you’re tempted to do the same, but pause and find out whether it is a good choice.

Quick Answer

As a general rule, you shouldn’t wash your car with laundry detergent because it may contain degreasing agents and harsh chemicals that can damage the protective coating and paint on the car. 

Since laundry detergents are designed for laundry mainly, using them on your car can cause potential damage to the finish.

To you, using laundry detergents to wash your car might not be harmful, because the consequences are not immediate, but you may not know the damage it does to your car.

Read through this article to learn how damaging laundry detergents can be to your car.

Can I Wash My Car With Laundry Detergent?

You might think that laundry detergent is for washing, and as long as it keeps your car clean, there’s no issue.

Sure, it will clean your car, squeaky clean even. However, it doesn’t end there. What happens when you wash your car with laundry detergent?

Quick Answer

As a whole, don’t wash your car with laundry detergent because it has degreasers and harsh chemicals that can remove the wax layers on your paint and leave your car vulnerable to the elements. 

If the wax is off your paint, it can cause the paint to peel or fade.

Of course, this might not happen on the first wash, but continual usage of laundry detergents on your car will do the harm.

Furthermore, the chemical agents and degreasers in laundry detergents will also eat into the layers of protective sealants used in shielding the car paint.

They also don’t have excellent lubricating abilities, making it easy to scratch your car’s paint while washing it

Sometimes, laundry detergent can stick to your car’s body and be difficult to remove.

They leave streaks on your car when you rinse it, and their prolonged existence on your car will do the paint some damage.

Other times, they can dry on the coatings, paints, or wax, leaving water spots on your car, and ruin the aesthetics.

You can use laundry detergent for one occasion alone and prevent any damage.

However, you must dilute the degreasers in the laundry detergent to prevent or mitigate any possible damage that could be done to your car. How? 

Dilute the detergent with plenty of water. This will reduce the damage the degreasers or chemicals can do to your car.

Another thing you should do is add a coat of wax to your car’s surface the next time you wash it.

Washing your car with laundry detergent is a no-no, and you shouldn’t do it if it’s avoidable to protect your car.

Which Soap Is Ideal For Washing A Car?

Not all kinds of soaps are ideal for washing your car, and certainly not laundry detergent. Since that’s the case, what should you use?

Quick Answer

In total, you should use car wash soap to wash your car because it is formulated for that purpose and is completely safe. In addition, they are gentle-washing and won’t do any harm to your car’s finish

Generally, you should use dedicated car wash products only to wash your car.

You can use the general use shampoo, strip shampoo, wash and wax shampoo, or other products that are car-friendly and soft-washing. 

They foam well and ensure that your car’s protective layers are not stripped.

Furthermore, good car wash soaps have adequate lubricity, pH balance, and amount of sud or foam and are biodegradable. 


Laundry detergents are meant for your laundry and don’t interact well with cars; therefore, you shouldn’t use them on your car.

They will remove the protective layers on your car and leave the paint vulnerable to sun, rain, and other elements. 

You should only use car wash soap on your car. They have the right amount of pH balance, lubricity, and sud that will clean your car.

You should always ensure that you have one available in your garage, so you don’t have to resort to other unsafe alternatives.

Key Takeaways:

  • Laundry detergent is bad for your car’s protective layers,
  • Washing with laundry detergent can dull your car’s outlook,
  • Laundry detergents are harsh on cars,
  • Always use designated car wash soaps for your car,
  • Washing with laundry detergent can leave water spots or streaks on your car.


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge