4 June 2013

Griot’s Car Care Myth: Dish soap makes great car wash

Our previous car care article talked about using a cross-hatch pattern when waxing vs. a circular motion. Now, let’s talk about dish soap as car wash. Hearing about this rarely gives us any joy, so we hope after this article there will be a new dawn of car wash understanding.

We generally learn about someone using dish soap as car wash shortly after a fielding a complaint about their last wax application only lasting a couple weeks before the shine and water beads are gone. In most cases, the shortened wax life was a direct result of their soap choice. While the detergents in dish soap do a great job of cleaning the car (and the leftover casserole in your baking dish), they also remove much more than just the dirt from the surface. The detergents break down the wax, stripping it away and leaving your paint dull and unprotected.

Good car wash soap won’t contain any detergents and will be rich in lubricants (which safely lubricate the dirt, allowing it to glide from the vehicle’s paint). A “feel test” you can use to test your car wash is to put a small amount of it between your finger and thumb and rub it back and forth. You will notice that better car washes will be much more slippery. Lesser ones may contain detergents to “help” clean the car (since the lubricants aren’t there), so make sure you check that before buying.

Griot’s Garage Car Wash is detergent-free and very rich in lubricants!

6 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Bill South Carolina June 6, 2013 at 15:03
    I paint cars for a living, I use hot water andTide detergent to strip wax before paint . When I wash my painted cars I use cold water and a designated car wash. Hot water also removes wax.
  • 2
    Robert baker Asheville N.C. June 6, 2013 at 18:00
  • 3
    Doug Penn B.C Canada June 6, 2013 at 18:39
    Any suggestions on getting tree sap off my truck's paint? Thanks
  • 4
    Scott Columbus, Ohio June 6, 2013 at 19:22
    My 1961 Thunderbird and Golf TDI both love Griot's Car Wash and Spray-On Wax and I love any and every opportunity to be punny so this article gets 5 stars.
  • 5
    Chris MN June 7, 2013 at 22:07
    Fading isnt because the paint lost all its wax. Its because the wax that was applied to the paint was never removed and layer after layer is placed on top of it. I only wax about once a season and I only use the dish soap when I am going to be waxing it. Any other time it just needs a wash, normal car wash soap is used. Bottom line, there is nothing wrong with using dish soap to remove the wax on your paint when your already planning to wax it. Thats what I do as was recommended by the shop that painted my Chevelle back in 1995. Paint is still show quality to this day.
  • 6
    Rick Carter Stockton, California June 8, 2013 at 22:27
    Wow, I always thought that by using dish soap, it cleaned off the road grim and grease better than the commercial cleaners. Guess I was totally wrong. I ordered and bought a 1979 Ford F-100 pick up in '79. I chose the brightest yellow you can imagine. The first thing I did was put in my garage and hand wax the entire truck with Turtle Wax, 3 tiimes. This truck has never been inside all the time I have had it. Recently, my son brought it home from storage and started restoring it. The paint was a very dull and dingy coating of dirt and bird droppings. Imagine my surprise after about 8 hours with a buffer, the paint looks just as good today as when I first put wax on it! He is now going to put another coat of Turtle Wax and buff it out. I am still getting compliments on the truck! It looks like a new truck and my Son is extremely proud of it. He only uses a commercial grade of cleaners to wash it. I will look for the Griot's Car Wash and Spray-on wax for my 1955 Chevy 210 Sedan. Is it sold in stores or only online? Thanks!

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