Anything wrong using laundry detergent to wash?

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Jun 9, 2012
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First, I'll confess I don't wash my cars that often. Ever since I was a little kid when I washed my parents' cars, I have simply used a little bit (maybe a 1/2 cup) of liquid laundry detergent in a 3-5 gallon bucket filled with water to use as soap suds. After a solid scrubbing with a sponge, the car gets well hosed off with a garden hose making sure no soap is left on the car. Now that I see all these car wash formulas in the car care aisle, I have to wonder if I'm doing something wrong or are those products simply designed to separate me from my $$$. Any thoughts or alternatives welcome.
 
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Yes...use a dedicated car wash. They are formulated to remove dirt without scratching paint, not to remove stains and soiling from clothing. Meguiars Gold Class is a great one to use. Also the sponge is not a good idea. Use a good wool or microfiber wash mit and put a grit guard in the bucket. You should never "give a good scrubbing", that scratches the paint by rubbing grime in as you are trying to take it off with a sponge.
 
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Cringe! Please use a proper car shampoo and a wash mitt. Most household soaps are designed to cut through grease and this is not good for paint or wax.
 
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I've made this mistake before and regretted it. Car wash soap and dish wash soap are not the same thing! You CAN use dish wash soap if you are planning to clay bar then polish (or compound then polish) the clear coat then wax after all that is complete. The reason for this is because dish soap will remove the waxes and some contaminants better than most car wash soaps, but will scratch and not protect the clear coat during the process. This is why it's ok to use if you are going to polish the car then wax. +1 on the grit guard, and/or the two-bucket system. Use a soap bucket and a just water bucket. After the wash mitt has been used to wash 1 section of the car, clean it in the just water bucket then dip it in the soap bucket and clean the next section of the car.
 
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Oh my dear! Never ever use laundry detergent, it's far to chemically aggressive! Get a dedicated car wash solution, and get yourself some micro fiber for washing and drying.
 
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Originally Posted By: yvon_la
For paint surface?plain old water is just what you need.microfiber cloth for the win(and a lot of elbow grease)
If you do this on a pristine paint surface you will be a resident of scratch city. Even with microfiber the idea is to be gentle and not scrub vigorously.
 
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I did this on my wife's white corsica. Do note, this paint was "rental special" and not a BC/CC. It was to ready it for sale, and the optical brighteners in the laundry wash really made it gleam! There was no wax to speak of on the car anyway, so nothing to strip.
 
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As a matter of fact EVERYTHING is wrong with using laundry soap and a sponge to wash a car. Why not use car wash to clean your clothes? Or steel wool on a teflon pan? Because it is not designed nor intended for that purpose. Only two sponges are safe for car washing, those being grout sponges and natural sea sponges. Sea sponges require serious cleaning to get the sand and shell bits out. Not worth it in my opinion. Use a car wash designed for the purpose, two wash mitts, and two buckets. Here is the proper way to do it: http://www.autopiaforums.com/forums/deta...ket-method.html
 
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Originally Posted By: yvon_la
For paint surface?plain old water is just what you need.microfiber cloth for the win(and a lot of elbow grease)
You're better off using laundry soap! bop
 
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Originally Posted By: tom slick
What if the car isn't polished and waxed, does the detergent make any difference?
Inadequate lubrication = more micro-marring and/or swirls during wash process. I suppose if you don't care about how it looks, it may be OK. But the detergent may have an adverse effect on the rubber trim.
 
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Originally Posted By: tom slick
What if the car isn't polished and waxed, does the detergent make any difference?
From my experience, not much if you use enough soap to get decent lubricity. I'm guilty of using dawn to strip old sealants and waxes, and never had an issue with any marring. But then again, using a proper wash technique is just as important as using the correct products.
 
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it makes a difference in that your over the counter car wash these days will lay down some polish or polymers; which will protect to some degree, as well as repel dirt. It's a fools errand to think you are saving time or money to get your car "squeaky" clean, even the slightest dirt or dust will stick to it. The better your car is properly washed and hopefully waxed, will actually save you time as the car stays cleaner longer.
 
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Apr 17, 2012
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Originally Posted By: Reddy45
Cringe! Please use a proper car shampoo and a wash mitt. Most household soaps are designed to cut through grease and this is not good for paint or wax.
+ 1,000
 
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