After using many different shampoos, we found that the best car shampoo is the Meguiar’s Gold Class. It’s a unique formula that includes safe, biodegradable detergents and is also packed full of paint conditioners for a more radiant finish. However, if you require a budget friendly shampoo from a reputable brand, the Autoglym alternative is perfect.
Whilst testing a variety of shampoos, we also based our recommendations upon the shampoo’s cleaning power, formulation (inclusion of wax or conditioners) as well as their value for money.
Table of Contents
Car Shampoo Comparison
|Car Shampoo||Bottle Size(s)|
|Meguiar’s Gold Class||473 ml or 1.89L|
|Autoglym Bodywork||500 ml, 1 or 2.5L|
|Gtechniq G Wash||250, 500 ml, 1 or 5L|
|Mer High Shine||1L|
|Turtle Wax Zip Wax||500 ml, 1, 2.5 or 5L|
It’s crucial that you avoid any household cleaners whilst cleaning your car as they can strip any car waxes or sealants previously applied. The majority of car shampoos are pH neutral, which make them complete safe to use. If you are new to cleaning your car, we have written an in-depth guide on how to wash your car.
Below is a list of the best car wash shampoos that are safe to use on all exterior surfaces and effectively remove all types of dirt or road grime.
The Best Car Shampoo
1. Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo
By far the most popular car shampoo in the UK is the Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash. It’s designed to wash and condition the paintwork in a single step with rich and luxurious suds that safely lift dirt away.
It’s a completely safe to use and biodegradable formula that’s suitable for all paint types and it also doesn’t compromise any previously applied car wax products.
Other features of the Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo include:
- 1.89 litre or 473 ml bottle capacities
- Safely removes tough dirt, road grime and contaminants
- Ultra-rich paint conditioners that leave the paint looking radiant
- Safe to use on all paint types
- Biodegradable and pH neutral formula
- Produces a nice smelling scent
Although it’s more expensive per litre than many of the alternatives, it’s a professional grade car shampoo that truly is “Gold Class”. The concentrated formula goes a long way and it can even be used as high foaming snow foam.
Check it Out
2. Autoglym Car Bodywork Shampoo
Another concentrated formula is the Autoglym Car Shampoo Conditioner, which safely cleans and produces a glossy water repellent barrier. It’s a pH neutral formula that’s removes all types of dirt without stripping any polish or wax.
In terms of using the car shampoo, it only need 2 to 3 caps of the formula per bucket, which makes the 500 ml bottle far more long lasting than you would expect.
Other features of the Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo include:
- pH neutral and doesn’t harm paint or trim
- Protects and extends the effect of previously applied polishes
- Available in 500 ml, 1 or 2.5 litre bottles
- Special additives that provides a water repellent barrier
- Produces a pear fragrance
Autoglym produce a range of car shampoos but this is their low foaming formula that’s able to create a water repellent barrier. If you would prefer a more budget friendly option by the brand, their standard shampoo is a great alternative.
Check it Out
3. Gtechniq W1 G Wash Car Shampoo
Gtechniq are a highly reputable brand among professionals and detailing enthusiasts and are well-known for their quality products. The G Wash is a great example of that reputation and is designed to be a powerful car shampoo.
It’s a high foaming formula that’s designed to effectively break the bond between the dirt film and your car’s paintwork.
Other features of the Gtechniq G Wash include:
- 2 to 4 caps per bucket
- Gloss boosting additives
- High quality foam content
- Bubblegum scent
- pH neutral and doesn’t strip wax, sealants or coatings
- Must be used within 12 months of opening
- Available in 250 ml, 500 ml, 1 or 5 litre bottles
The Gtechniq G Wash is a high quality car shampoo that’s packed with additives for a safe yet deep clean. It isn’t the cheapest but you get what you pay for and it won’t disappoint.
Check it Out
4. Mer MASSH1 High Shine Shampoo
The Mer High Shine Shampoo is a popular option that’s designed to lift stubborn dirt and produce a streak-free finish. It’s an advanced formula that uses the brand’s patented Auto Shine Technology for an excellent finish.
Other features of the Mer High Shine Shampoo include:
- 1 litre bottle
- Leaves a glossy streak-free finish
- Deep clean that lifts dirt and traffic film
- Highly water repellent shine
- Made in Germany
Mer are well-known for their highly rated car polish and their High Shine Shampoo follows its great reputation. It provides a deep clean and leaves a glossy water repellent shine that’s long lasting.
Check it Out
5. Turtle Wax 52821 Zip Wax Car Wash
Turtle Wax are another popular detailing brand in the UK that produce a wide range of products. The Zip Wax formula is one of their many shampoos that’s enriched with carnauba, which produces an enhanced shine to the paint.
It’s the brand’s new and improved car shampoo formula that’s super concentrated and designed to dry spot free.
Other features of the Turtle Wax Zip Wax include:
- Available in a 500 ml, 1, 2.5 or 5 litre bottle
- Enriched with carnauba
- Single step clean and shine
- Dries spot free
- Leaves a water repellent finish
Overall, the Turtle Wax Zip Wax offers outstanding value for the money when you consider its cost per litre and the fact that it’s enriched with carnauba.
Check it Out
6. CarPlan POL104 Ultra Shampoo
Another affordable option that’s actually worth buying is the CarPlan Ultra Shampoo, which is available in a 5 litre bottle. It’s designed to provide a streak-free showroom shine and remove all dirt and road grime.
Other features of the CarPlan Ultra Shampoo include:
- Streak free finish
- Cleans, shines and protects
- Lifts all dirt and road grime
- Requires 1 cap full per bucket of warm water
- Large 5 litre bottle
If you simply want a cheap car shampoo that’s safe to use and leaves a streak-free finish, the CarPlan Ultra is perfect. It’s a basic formula that cannot be beaten on the price and comes in a large 5 litre bottle.
Check it Out
How We Tested & Rated The Shampoos
Almost all detailing brands offer a car shampoo and the market is highly saturated with hundreds of formulas. In order to create the above list of the best car shampoos, we have tested a variety of shampoos over the years and are able to provide our first-hand experience. Below are some photos on our Instagram page of us testing some of the shampoos.
Whilst using many of the different types of car shampoo, you may notice that some foam up more and also cling to the paintwork better than others. Below is an example of the Turtle Wax suds clinging onto the paintwork.
As well as actually using the car shampoos, we also carry out plenty of research for our recommendations. Some of the factors that we considered include the shampoo’s cleaning power, additions in the formula such as wax or conditioners, bulk buy options and also their value for money.
Investing into a quality car shampoo allows you to clean your car more effectively and also prevents a streaky finish. All of our recommendations are produced by top detailing brands in the UK and have been thoroughly tested for the best possible results. If you haven’t got access to a hose pipe, you could try out some of the latest waterless car wash products that simply spray on and wipe clear.