The 10 Best Car Wash Kits

Updated October 08, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. There is nothing like a sparkling clean car sitting in your driveway after a good wash and polish. Though it may take a little effort, a DIY car wash ensures you get the finish you want, and these kits allow you to get that showroom shine in the easiest way possible. We've selected the best in quality, performance and value to clean your vehicle inside out. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best car wash kit on Amazon.

10. Zwipes 733

9. Mr. Clean AutoDry

8. Armor All 78452

7. TriNova Gold Standard

6. Aero Cosmetics 777GK

5. Meguiar's Complete Car Care Kit

4. Jax Wax Professional Easy Wash

3. Chemical Guys HOL121

2. Duragloss 1049

1. Griot's Garage 58512

Why You Need To Wash Your Car

Below, we’ll elaborate on why keeping your car spick and span should be a top priority.

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.

A solution that foams easily and maintains the integrity of your finish is vital.

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.

If you notice one, you can easily tend to it with a hose washer.

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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Last updated on October 08, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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