The 10 Best Car Wash Kits

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This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in January of 2017. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a sparkling clean car sitting in your driveway after a good wash and polish. Though it may take a little effort, a DIY approach ensures you get the finish you want, and these kits allow you to attain that showroom shine in the easiest way possible. We've selected the best in quality, performance, and value to keep your ride looking fresh. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best car wash kit on Amazon.

10. Snow Eagle-L Interiors

9. Chemical Guys Eco Friendly

8. TriNova Gold Standard

7. Griot's Garage 11131

6. Armor All 18574 Ultra

5. Aero Cosmetics All

4. Meguiar's Complete Care

3. Chemical Guys HOL121

2. Turtle Wax 50754 Ultimate

1. TriNova Complete Detailing Bundle

Special Honors

Griot's Garage Detailer's Bag Car enthusiasts tend to acquire an extensive medley of machines, towels, cleaners, and more in the quest to keep their vehicles in top-notch condition. This detailer's bag from Griot's Garage is ideal for those who need to keep everything organized or take it on the go to a car show. Made from tight-weave 600-denier nylon that's water-resistant, it's designed to secure a random orbital to its floor and securely stow all your paint care essentials, from liquids and pads to spray bottles and mitts.

Dyson V7 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Getting to all the nooks and crannies in your vehicle can be challenging, which is where this handheld vacuum from Dyson comes in. It offers powerful, fade-free suction for up to 30 minutes and captures fine dust and microscopic particles as small as 0.5 microns. It comes with a variety of cleaning tools, like a stubborn dirt brush and extension hose, as well as a car charger for on the go use.

Editor's Notes

September 16, 2020:

For this update we made a few tweaks to our selections to reflect the best on the market, which still includes the likes of the TriNova Complete Detailing Bundle, Chemical Guys HOL121, and Meguiar's Complete Care. We also maintained the balance it had between traditional wash solutions and waterless options, so in addition to choices like the Aero Cosmetics All and TriNova Gold Standard, you'll also find we brought on the Chemical Guys Eco Friendly. Unlike the others, this one comes with an atomizer sprayer to help streamline the procedure. And like every selection you'll find here, it's formulated to lift and lubricate dirt and grime so that when you wipe it off it doesn't scratch your finish.

We said goodbye to the Griot's Garage 58512 in favor of the Griot's Garage 11131, which we feel is a better value for the money. The former comes with a giant bucket and a mitt and towel, but only one cleaner, while the latter is a collection of car care products most owners reach for most. And because it's not difficult to get your hands on a good towel, we felt justified in the swap.

When the Jax Wax Professional Easy Care became unavailable, we decided to bring on the Snow Eagle-L Interiors, a set that contains many of the tools most people don't think about buying. When paired with solid soaps, waxes, polishes, and other cleaners, the items in this kit can help you get your car looking great inside and out, from the air conditioners and windshield to the tires.

March 02, 2019:

We have rounded up a great variety of car wash kits to suit every individual. If you are serious about your car maintenance and enjoy cleaning every little nook and cranny of your vehicle, then you'll want to look at Chemical Guys HOL121, Turtle Wax 50754 Ultimate, TriNova Complete Detailing Bundle, Meguiar's Complete Care, or Armor All 18574 Ultra. All of these are very comprehensive sets that come with dedicated products for most aspects of a car, from the interior all the way down to the rims. Those who prefer to get the job done as quickly as possible may want to opt for Jax Wax Professional Easy Care, Aero Cosmetics All, Griot's Garage 58512, or TriNova Gold Standard, since these come with just a couple of multi-purpose products. If you live in an area with water restrictions or like to periodically give your ride touch ups when there isn't any H2O around, then you'll appreciate the waterless formulas of Aero Cosmetics All, Shine Society Complete, and TriNova Gold Standard.

Why You Need To Wash Your Car

Better to take the time to wash it properly and protect your investment in the process.

Most experts recommend that drivers wash their vehicles every few weeks. Why so often? Turns out there are a handful of reasons, from aesthetics and general cleanliness to improved fuel economy and preserving your paint job. Below, we’ll elaborate on why keeping your car spick and span should be a top priority.

Depending on where you drive and store your vehicle, chances are it frequently comes into contact with things like bird droppings, tree sap, or spattered bugs. Tree sap is particularly detrimental in warmer climates, as it can corrode your finish and lead to discoloration, while insect remains and avian stool can dry up and become difficult to remove without chipping away your paint. Even if it rains, you should still give your car a good scrub down, as the moisture can trap contaminants on the exterior and induce rusting.

When your prized vehicle is covered in thick layers of grime, it creates drag. Scattered bits of dirt on your exterior cling to air particles as they pass, resulting in increased wind resistance while driving. In turn, this slows you down and can cut fuel economy by at least 10 percent.

It’s also important to ensure that your windows are clear at all times. Debris that interferes with your visibility is a safety issue that you need to take seriously — you wouldn’t want to put yourself, your passengers, or other drivers at risk by neglecting your windshields and windows.

In general, it’s better to keep your car spotless than it is to let it get grimy. Road salt, tar, air pollutants, and much more can wreak havoc on your tires, brake pedals, bodywork, and undercarriage. When left unchecked, small instances of damage can lead to performance problems down the road, costing you money and depreciating your vehicle’s value. Better to take the time to wash it properly and protect your investment in the process.

What To Look For In A Car Wash Kit

A comprehensive car wash kit can take all the guesswork out of your at-home cleaning sessions. Whether you have a compact sedan, heavy-duty truck, or a meticulously restored classic car, there’s a care kit out there for you. As you mull over the items on our list, consider which ones will serve you and your vehicle best.

First and foremost, every kit should have a quality concentrated shampoo. A solution that foams easily and maintains the integrity of your finish is vital. Bonus points if it doesn’t leave streaks, has a pleasant scent, and results in a brilliant shine.

Whether you have a compact sedan, heavy-duty truck, or a meticulously restored classic car, there’s a care kit out there for you.

After shampoo, more extensive kits will have cleansers that can tackle individual jobs. There are certain polishes for plastic and glass, tire cleaners, and formulas that will make leather look brand new. Liquid wax and detailing spray can help you get every last inch of your car looking showroom ready, as well.

In order to effectively apply your main wash and specialty detergents, you’ll want a microfiber cloth or mitt that’s absorbent enough to grab the majority of dust particles on the first pass. It’s also imperative that whatever you use isn’t coarse, as it will cause damage to your paint. For drying, look for something in the vein of a terry, microfiber, or chamois towel. To tackle embedded contaminants, nab a kit that includes a few clay bars and lubricant.

Of course, you’ll need a bucket to hold your wash water. A tub with close to a five-gallon capacity should suffice. To make your life easier, look for one with wheels and a handle so you don’t have to lug it around, and a lid so you can store the remainder of your kit inside it between uses. It also helps to have a grit guard insert — these rest at the bottom of the bucket and trap the grime that comes off your mitt, so you won’t end up putting filth back onto your car.

Keeping Things Green

If you own a vehicle, there’s no getting around the fact that you must wash it frequently. Many car owners eschew automated establishments for reasons that range from practical to personal, but few people realize that at-home washing can be a rather environmentally unfriendly task. When you clean your car out in the driveway, you can end up using anywhere from 80 to 140 gallons of water and introduce harsh chemicals to the environment in the process. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to give Mother Nature a helping hand.

You can also avoid water altogether by using a waterless formula.

Where you wash your car can make a huge difference. When you use your driveway, you direct chemically-tainted runoff into storm drains. From there, it will make its way into streams, wetlands, and the ocean, where it can poison wildlife and damage delicate ecosystems. If you can, park your vehicle over dirt or grass so that the soil beneath can absorb and neutralize all those toxins. Be sure to sop up any leftover puddles, as well, since thirsty animals might mistake one for a clean drink.

To diminish waste, try practicing the two-bucket method. This entails having one pail of clean water for rinsing and a second filled with wash solution. Opt for a no-rinse shampoo so you can avoid using running water completely.

If you must break the hose out, consider outfitting it with an adjustable spray nozzle, so you can control the pressure and quickly turn it on and off. Make a point to routinely inspect the tubing, spigot, and connections for any leaks. If you notice one, you can easily tend to it with a hose washer.

When the time comes to dump your buckets, don’t do it outside. Instead, take them into your house and dispose of their contents in the sink or bathtub. This way, they enter a septic or sewage system and will undergo treatment before being released back into the environment.

You can also avoid water altogether by using a waterless formula. These are solutions that you can spray on your vehicle and simply wipe away, no rinsing required. They're an excellent option for smaller cars and spot cleaning on the go, plus they conveniently enable you to cleanse your automobile anywhere you like.

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Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated on September 18, 2020 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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