In 2021, the average new car in the US sold for $6,220 more than in 2020. In December 2021 alone, the average new vehicle had a price tag of $47,077.
Those figures prove that vehicle ownership is becoming more expensive in the US. That’s enough reason to make the one you own now last longer, perhaps for more than 100,000 or even 200,000 miles.
Using the proper types of car soap to wash your ride, in turn, can help extend its lifespan. After all, these products, so long as applied correctly, clean away corrosion-causing contaminants. Their job is to make it easier to remove dust, dirt, salt, gravel, sand, grime, bugs, tree sap, and bird poop from your ride.
To that end, we created this guide detailing your car soap options. So, keep reading to discover what and when to use which.
Wax Stripping Soaps
Wax safeguards your car’s clear coat, the thin layer of transparent paint applied over its hue. So, by waxing your ride, you can protect it from scratches, chips, discoloration, and fading. Moreover, it makes the exterior of your vehicle glossy.
You’d want to strip off old wax, though, in case you’re preparing your ride for polishing, detailing, or a new coat. You may also have to get rid of it if you plan to use a new type of wax, which may not cling to the one you used before.
However, car wax adheres to your car’s paint job, making it a pain to remove.
Fortunately, there are car soaps designed especially as wax strippers. These liquid solvents cut through waxes, grease, and other things that may stick to car paint. So, use these to prep your ride’s surface before any polishing, detailing, or paintwork.
Snow foams are contact-less solutions designed for pre-washing vehicles. Instead of using plain water, you can use these soaps with a car foam gun or cannon to give your ride an initial rinse.
Snow foams are better than water for pre-washing as they stick to the exterior of a vehicle longer. In doing so, they lift and entrap dirt and debris and float those contaminants away. Moreover, they do that without rubbing the particles into your car’s finish.
By contrast, plain water runs off immediately after touching a vehicle’s surface. That may then result in some contaminants remaining stuck on the finish. That’s a problem, as you might miss tiny particles and end up rubbing them onto your ride’s exterior.
That’s one of the last things you want to happen, as they can cause scratches and swirls on the finish.
Super Sudsy Soaps
Super sudsy car soaps are high foaming shampoos designed for heavy-duty cleaning. They create incredible amounts of suds that then lift stubborn dirt and grime on a car’s exterior.
Sudsy car soaps, like snow foams, provide a contact-less way to wash your ride. After all, many of them require using car foam guns or cannons. Such tools enable them to produce long-lasting, abundant foams that wash off contaminates.
Because the suds stay on your car’s surface for extended periods, they work even on hardened dirt. That also means they can remove crusted bird poop and insects smearing your ride’s paint job. Plus, some of the best car shampoos in this category also lubricate vehicle exteriors.
Two-in-one car soaps combine shampoo and wax formulations. The shampoo removes accumulated dirt and debris on your car’s surface. At the same time, the solution coats your vehicle’s exterior with a thin layer of wax.
So, after giving your car a final rinse, you’ll have a clean and glossy finish. That makes them some of your best car soap options if you don’t have the time to wax your ride.
However, it’s vital to note that applying wash-and-wax formulations requires using wash mitts. Thus, be sure to give your car a thorough initial rinse before using these solutions.
Wheel Cleaning Soaps
As the term suggests, wheel cleaning soaps are cleaning solutions specifically for wheels. Their manufacturers designed them with brake dust, bugs, grime, oil, and road tar in mind. They also work on stubborn iron stains and rust spots.
Car Upholstery Spot Removers
Researchers say that people in the US eat approximately 20% of their meals in a vehicle.
If that’s a habit you’ve picked up, your car seats likely have stains from food and beverage spills. They may now have marks caused by ketchup, tomato sauce, curry, grease, fruit juices, or coffee.
Unfortunately, those items contain natural pigments that leave difficult-to-remove stains.
For instance, tomatoes (ketchup’s chief ingredient) contain carotenoids that give them their redness. However, they’re also compounds used as a plant-based colorant for textile dyeing. That’s also why it can be challenging to wash their stains off linens and upholstery.
Don’t worry, though, as some car soaps have formulations designed to tackle such stains. You’ll find these cleaners in foam or liquid forms, which you then have to spray onto the unsightly spots. Some require agitating the cleaner with a brush, which may come supplied with the product.
All-Purpose Upholstery Cleaners
All-purpose car upholstery cleaners are cleaning solutions formulated for upholstered seats. They can remove dust, debris, grease, grime, and even mild stains on cloth, nylon, or vinyl. Best of all, many of them also work on other upholstered items, such as the couches or sofas you have at home.
However, note that some general car upholstery cleaners aren’t safe for leather. So if that’s what you have in your ride, use a cleaner (and a conditioner) specifically made for leather.
Start Using the Best Types of Car Soap
As you can see, there are many types of car soap, from wax strippers to super sudsy solutions. You’ve also learned about material-specific products, such as those for wheels and leather.
So, the next time you clean your ride, apply your new knowledge by picking and using the appropriate car soap. That way, you can clean all that muck off of your vehicle without damaging its paint job (or upholstery).
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