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Car Shampoo: What Are the Ingredients?

Car Shampoo What Are the Ingredients

Car Shampoo: What Are the Ingredients?

Car shampoo is an indispensable cleaning product for any car owner who is aware of the harm that liquid detergents and other generic cleaners can inflict on their vehicles. As with most common products, many of us are not interested in its contents as long as it provides good results. Unknowingly, however, we might be using caustic chemicals that are hazardous to the vehicle. Moreover bad for our health, and the environment. In this article, we explain some ingredients of the car shampoos.

Car shampoo: The Contents

1. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

SLS is an ingredient of the shampoos, floor cleaners, toothpaste, face cleansers, etc. It is a very effective cleaning agent that produces a good lather when mixed with water. It is an ingredient of auto detailing products like Mothers California Gold Car Wash. While long contact with the skin can cause irritation, SLS has no proven chronic health hazards.

2. Coco Diethanolamide

 This chemical is a foaming agent not only used in car shampoo, but also in other bath products. The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies this chemical as a possible carcinogen. It is included in Armor All Car Wash Concentrate, hence, we recommend against using this product.

3. Sodium Chloride

It is common knowledge that road salt is responsible for the onset of rust in cars, which is why professional detailers emphasize the need for regular car washing during winter. However, salt is used in small quantities when manufacturing car shampoo due to its cleansing properties.

4. Distilled Water

 Distilled water has many of its impurities, such as minerals, removed. If you see white water spots forming on your car after a run through an automatic car wash, it is because the minerals in the water have etched into the paint.

5. Isopropyl Alcohol

IA is a great chemical when it comes to breaking down and dissolving hardened dirt, oil, and grime. Additionally, it works as a disinfectant. Instead of IA, ethyl alcohol may also be used in car shampoo. The effects of IA have proven to be so good that detailers recommend giving your car a wipe-down with this chemical to strip it completely off any wax, sealant, or polish residue. It can be used straight from the bottle, or mixed with distilled water. Make sure you work in a well ventilated area, because it emanates harsh fumes.

These are only a few of the common ingredients utilized in car shampoo manufacturing. Different fragrances, colorants or dyes are also added to give you a pleasant experience, but they have no cleansing properties. If you are tempted to use the “triple foam” feature in an automatic car wash, just remember that you are paying extra for nothing but colored and scented foam.


Here’s a way to make your own car wash soap if you are uneasy about using chemicals, . But it is always good to have a commercial product at hand with better and stronger cleaning properties. We recommend brands such as Mothers, Griot’s Garage, Turtle Wax and Meguiar’s.

If you are interested in organic car detailing, check out our interior detailing package to learn more about our patented steam cleaning process.

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