Car shampoo: everything you need to know and the best car shampoos 2022 - Best car shampoo 2022

Shampoo specially for your car? It might sound like overkill, but there's a good reason why professional detailers swear by it.

Best car shampoo 2022

Now that you’re well versed in all things car shampoo, we’ll show you the best car shampoos you can buy to clean your car. We’ve tested a range of brands, from well-known Halfords and Autoglym car shampoos, along with lesser-known contenders that should be on your radar. The majority of shampoos out there will do the job – lifting dirt and grime from your car with a thorough wash, however that hasn’t stopped us from testing what’s out there to see which best achieves that bright elusive sheen at the right price.

Bilt Hamber auto-wash

Price: Around £17 Size: 500ml Rating: 5 stars Contact: www.bilthamber.com 

Bilt Hamber auto-wash is our pick of the best car shampoos to buy in 2022. Just a small 5ml dose was needed in a 10-litre bucket of water which meant it went far. It was also fairly versatile and could be used without diluting as a pre-wash. Unlike many other car shampoos the Bilt Hamber offering didn’t foam up massively or have a distinctive pleasant perfume, but it managed to perform the best without those gimmicks – after application water beaded away from the surface quickly. All this comes at a very keen price, too, which made it our winner.

Buy now from Bilt Hamber

Turtle Wax Ceramic Wash & Wax

Price: £18 (at time of testing) Size: 1,420ml Rating: 4.5 stars Contact: www.turtlewaxeurope.com 

Ceramic Wash & Wax shampoo from Turtle Wax can be used in a variety of ways; to leave a shine and protect your car’s paintwork, or as a pre-clean. While it performed really well and beaded away water effectively, it was more than twice as expensive as our winner at the time of testing, given the quantity needed for each wash, and therefore just missed out on the top spot. If you can find it cheaper, however, it’s a great performer and definitely worth considering.

Buy now from Amazon

Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax

Price: Around £17 Size: 1,420ml Rating: 4.5 stars

Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax was another great performer in testing and also narrowly missed out on the top spot. Water was repelled from the surface and only a few drops were left after a drenching. Meguiar’s wash uses polymers and Carnauba Wax in its formula, creating a good amount of foam during washing and leaving a nice shine and finish.

Buy now on Amazon

Halfords Car Wash & Wax

Price: £4 Size: 1 litre Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.halfords.com 

While your expectations from a Halford’s branded product with a modest price tag may be low, its performance in testing suggests you shouldn’t rule it out straight away. It performed reasonably well, even if it didn’t quite match the standards set by the top three we tested. It needed a big capful for each bucket of water, but good beading shows it’s not a bad choice on a tighter budget, although the number one shampoo Bilt Hamber auto-wash offers better value for money.

Buy now from Halfords

Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner

Price: Around £6 Size: 500ml Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.autoglym.com 

Autoglym’s Shampoo Conditioner is a good one to go for if you’ve previously spent hours applying a coating or wax as it uses a pH-neutral formula. It has a pleasant perfume, although rivals produce more suds. It performed just as well as the Halfords wash and we’ve rated them similarly as a result.

Buy now from Amazon

Diamondbrite Shampoo

Price: Around £9 Size: 1,000ml Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.diamondbrite.co.uk

Made from vegetable oils, the Diamondbrite shampoo prides itself on being biodegradable. It gave off a sweet citrus scent. Much like the Autoglym product, the Diamondbrite shampoo adds a finish to your car as it washes, and left the panel almost dry after rinsing off the suds. It was a little behind our winner, but performed well, and the big pack means the cost per wash is fairly low.

Buy now from CarParts4Less

Power Maxed Shampoo & Ultra Wax

Price: Around £9 Size: 1,000ml Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.halfords.com

Concocted with a healthy helping of Carnauba wax, the brightly-coloured shampoo makes light of the post-rinse drying race against evaporating water droplets, leaving panels largely dry thanks to effective beading that prevents water spots appearing. It didn’t quite make it to the top spot, but it was close. The big one-litre bottle makes it fairly cheap per wash, costing around 22p a bucket. 

Buy now from Amazon

Angelwax Shampoo

Price: Around £12 Size: 500ml Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.angelwax.co.uk

Scottish detailing specialists Angelwax have given their thick car shampoo a great perfume which lasted throughout the washing process. Not much of the formula was needed for each bucket of water and it created a good amount of foam. It was the next quickest to dry behind the Autoglym product.

Buy now from Amazon

Halfords Car Wash

Price: Around £6 Size: 2,500ml Rating: 4 stars

Halfords has prioritised quantity over quality somewhat with the big container – you need to use around 50ml a bucket, so it only works out a few pence cheaper than our winner. While you do have to use more shampoo per wash than most of the other options on the list, it offers impressive beading, helping to shift water rapidly.

Buy now from Halfords

Simoniz Protection Car Wash

Price: £8 Size: 2,000ml Rating: 4 stars Contact: www.holtsauto.com

Simoniz triumphs for value with one wash equating to 7p, so you’ll forgive it for not matching the top shampoos for repelling water. It works a little more slowly than its more expensive rivals, but price-per-wash was so cheap as you need just 20ml of shampoo for a 10-litre bucket, and it comes in a large two-litre container.

Turtle Wax Wash & Wax

Price: Around £8Size: 1,000ml Rating: 3 stars Contact: www.turtlewaxeurope.com

Claims of a ‘high gloss and water repellent finish’ are not far off the mark. The turtle wax clearly shifted rinse water off the surface as described, albeit not as well as rivals. It missed out on a fourth star due to the requisite two capfuls per wash.

Buy now from Halfords

ValetPRO Advanced Poseidon Car Wash

Price: Around £6 Size: 500ml Rating: 3 stars Contact: www.valetpro.global

ValetPRO claims its product doesn’t remove any protective wax or paint sealants from your paintwork, and instead helps to prolong their life, which is reassuring. In testing, the ValetPRO Advanced Poseidon Car Wash definitely added a water-repellent finish, however it did not reduce drying time after washing as much as other products. It also wasn’t the cheapest product per wash.

Buy now from ShopnShine

CodeClean Premium Wash & Seal with Carnauba Wax

Price: Around £8 Size: 500ml Rating: 3 stars Contact: www.codeclean.co.uk

CodeClean’s product claims to add a layer of protective Carnauba wax to the finish as it cleans, and in our test it seemed to work well, with the water beading away as rapidly as our winner. However, a whopping 100ml of the product is needed per bucket, so each wash was more expensive than rivals.

Buy now from CödeClean

Mer high Shine Car Wash

Price: Around £9 Size: 500ml Rating: 3 stars Contact: www.merproducts.com

Worked with a mitt it lathered up well producing an effective foam, although it was a slow process. So, while it matched Angelwax in the rinse test, it’s dearer per bucket, which holds it back overall.

Buy now from Amazon

CarPlan Demon Foam

Price: Around £10 Size: 2,000ml Rating: 3 stars Contact: www.carplan-international.com

Acknowledging not everyone has access to a pressure washer, CarPlan supplies its shampoo with a hose attachment which helps apply a thick, soapy layer of shampoo to your car. However, it fails to impress in the all-important beading criteria with little evidence of water repellency.

Buy now from Amazon

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