For some, car washing is a chore, for others, it’s an essential ritual of the best car cleaning products available. The ability to visually transform a tired and neglected car into one that has a mirror-like finish and could quite happily outshine a diamond.
It's not just some extra gloss in the paintwork that'll make picking the best car cleaning products in your best interest either. Using a good prewash will help reduce the chances of scratches and swirls forming in the paintwork, while a good shampoo will keep your cars clearcoat in working order, an important layer that helps prevent rust.
The best car cleaning products shortlist:
The best snow foam: Bilt Hamber Auto Foam - Buy now on Amazon UK
The best pre-wash: Autobrite Direct Citrus Wash Multi Purpose Cleaner - Buy now on EuroCarParts
The best car shampoo: Gtechniq Auto W1 GWash Cleaner - Buy now on Amazon UK
The best wheel cleaner: Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner - Buy now on Amazon UK
The best fallout remover: 26JPN Fallout - Buy now on Amazon UK
The best all-purpose cleaner: Bilt Hamber Surfex HD - Buy now on Amazon UK
We're big believers in the power of keeping your car clean yourself. The drive-through car wash uses harsh chemicals that can dull paint over time and will pummel your car with nylon brushes leaving plenty of scratches. A nice soft set of detailing brushes and gentle cleaning chemicals will be far more useful. That's why we've been working so hard to save your paint (and pocket) with our favourite car cleaning products.
The best car cleaning products
The best snow foam
- Good value
- Very effective pre-wash
- Needs a pressure washer to be effective
The best snow foam - runner up
This pH-neutral snow foam from Autoglym is far gentler than the Bilt Hamber option, handy to know
- Excellent prewash
- Will not strip waxes
- Nice thick foam
- Not as concentrated as other options
The best pre-wash
Boasting those all-important citrus oils, Autobrite Direct Citrus Wash Multi-Purpose Cleaner is
- Excellent and versatile cleaner
- Good value for money
- Smells sickly before dilution
The best car shampoo
- Excellent cleaner
- Biodegradable formula
- No protection offered
The best wheel cleaner
Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Cleaner is as no-nonsense and effective as its name. In most cases, you'll
- pH neutral, suitable for all wheel types
- More effective than competitors
- You might need iron fallout for deep cleaning
The best fallout remover
- Aggressive cleaner
- pH balanced and non-toxic
- Smells like something dies in the bottle
The best APC
The most versatile cleaning product without a doubt is a good all purpose cleaner. These dilutable
- Impressive cleaning
- Good value for money
- Not a replacement for all cleaning products
Car cleaning products: what you need to know
How do I wash my car?
With an armful of car cleaning products now in your arsenal, it's almost time to get cleaning. Question is, what do you tackle first? Prewash sounds like it should go on first, but what about tackling the wheels? Getting the process correct is internal to getting that gleaming car in all its glory. Thankfully, we have a full guide to cleaning your car.
What to look for when choosing car cleaning products:
Cleaning strength - Not all car cleaning is equal. A seriously filthy car will need a stronger cleaning attack than one that's cleaned every week. Cleaning products come in different strengths depending on how dirty the car is. After all, you wouldn't reach for the bleach for every bathroom cleaning chore.
Dilution - Most car cleaning products will be concentrated in some form. This is good news for your pocket and storing the car cleaning products. A small bottle of cleaner will last you ages and save you cash if it's concentrated, even if it costs more than a big bottle of shampoo you'll need to use neat.
Ecological impact - It's increasingly clear that nasty non-biodegradable chemicals aren't needed for cleaning, especially as there's no performance disadvantage. Eco-friendly car shampoos in particular are increasingly popular.
Scent - By no means an essential part of overall performance, a pleasant scent will make cleaning a lot nicer. Scents range from normal (fruits) to zany options including beer-scented shampoos.