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What is Car Shampoo?

Car shampoo is a cleaning product for a range of vehicles. It provides great cleaning results, removing the last layer of dirt from your car. Maintaining a clean, shiny and fresh appearance...

Car shampoo is a cleaning product for a range of vehicles. It provides great cleaning results, removing the last layer of dirt from your car.

Maintaining a clean, shiny and fresh appearance of your car is simply down to regular cleaning, protection, and a little effort. At Autobrite Direct, we’re all about education and helping our customers do just that. We have a range of car shampoos, and each has its own unique features and selling points. However, knowing the right techniques, having the right tools, and having a little insight can really help you achieve the best results.


Does Car Shampoo work?


Car shampoo is such a popular car cleaning product. Most people will have a bottle of car shampoo lying around, and that’s great because it is a staple. Car shampoo is an easy-to-use product that gives great results and when used correctly, can save you money and time. Whether you wash your car every week, are in the car detailing industry, or simply wash your car as and when it’s needed, car shampoo is a fantastic product.


What is Car Shampoo used for?


For some cars which have a light layer of dirt, a car shampoo will provide the perfect cleaning solution. But for heavy-soiled cars, a stronger solution will be needed, or maybe even multiple steps to remove the dirt and grime.

Car shampooing is designed to remove the remnants of dirt on your car. Whereas the previous steps which use an all-purpose cleaner, and a snow foam pre-wash are designed to remove heavy dirt without making contact with the car. This reduces the chance of scratching your paintwork.


At what stage do I use Car Shampoo?


In our six steps of detailing, shampooing is the 3rd part of our 2nd step, the ‘wash’ step. Commonly this stage is known as the ‘safe contact wash’ or 2-bucket method. Where you would add your car shampoo to a bucket, add water and then clean your car with a wash mitt (recommended) or sponge.


The stages before shampooing


1. Ensure your tools and cleaning accessories are clean and in good condition.


Cleaning accessories


There is nothing worse than using dirty or damaged tools to clean something. It simply doesn’t make sense, as you wouldn’t clean your clothes with a dirt washing machine. Many people tend to use the same tools to clean their car time and time again, which is fine because our AD tools are designed for multiple uses. However, this is only okay, if you clean your products in between uses.

Leaving tools out in your garage between washes can affect your paintwork the next time you come to wash your car. Towels and cloths can gather contaminants, and when used the next time, this dirt and dust will be spread onto your car

We always encourage people to thoroughly clean their microfibre towels and any other cloths they use to clean, dry, or polish their car and store them safely. This helps to avoid scratches and poor cleaning ability. Our ‘clean towel’ microfibre wash detergent is the perfect product to clean and restore all your microfibre towels.


2. Car pre-wash


snow foam


To maximise the features and cleaning abilities of your car shampoo, a pre-wash is a vital step. Whilst a car shampoo is great for cleaning a thin layer of dirt, if your car has more than this ‘thin layer’ you won’t achieve the results you want. It elevates the use of your car shampoo and improves the appearance of a freshly washed car.

A pre-wash removes heavy dirt, without needing to even touch your car. Our popular snow foam pre-wash lifts dirt and grime off the surface of your car. Snow foam is applied through a pressure washer, where a thick layer of foam coats the vehicle. After you’ve left the product to settle, simply wash it off. Your car is then ready for the shampoo stage, where the remaining dirt can be removed in a safe way.

By precleaning the vehicle, the car is less likely to suffer scratches from loose particles on the paintwork and a layer of dirt has already been removed. Meaning the car shampoo can get to work removing any ingrained layers of dirt/road traffic film, providing a cleaner, better-looking finish.


3. Invest in 2 buckets


2 bucket method


We strongly advise having 2 buckets when applying car shampoo to your car. Simply fill a bucket with your chosen car shampoo and water, and the other with clean water. This allows you to fill your mitt with ‘shampoo solution’, wash your car, and rinse off the dirt that the mitt picks up in clean water. This ensures that you are not rubbing dirt and grime back into your car’s paintwork.


The pH of your Car Shampoo


The pH of a car shampoo refers to the acidity or alkaline levels in a product. Whereas a pH-neutral product sits right in the middle and is neither more acidic nor alkaline. An acidic or alkaline shampoo has a stronger formula, and they contain chemicals that cut through heavy dirt and grime well. However, at AD we would always recommend a pH-neutral shampoo for washing your car. This avoids any chance of removal or damage to any existing paintwork protection. Instead, using a pre-wash snow foam before the shampooing stage can effectively remove heavy dirt and grime.


Foaming car shampoos


We have a wide range of car shampoos at AD, and each has its own unique formula. Some are very foamy and create great suds. Whereas some are more understated and don’t create a huge amount of foam. The lower-foaming shampoos usually tend to have added properties such as ceramic-infused protection or drying aids, and those will lower foaming abilities but leave a water-repelling or sheeting effect. This allows the water to run off the paintwork. Whichever you choose is a personal choice.




Car Shampoo with added wax


Quite a few car shampoos on the market come with added wax. Whilst these may seem a great time-saving product, meaning you don’t need to bother with wax, later on, this added wax actually doesn’t offer any long-term benefits.

We don’t advise using car shampoo with added wax, as this can interfere with the washing element of the shampoo. They’re also not long-lasting and don’t offer the same level of protection as a wax applied later on. In fact, this added wax can trap dirt and grime beneath it. Instead, we recommend a normal car shampoo and then applying a wax later on.


How often should you shampoo your car?


The answer to this question is totally dependent on how often you drive your car, on what kinds of roads you drive your car, the time of year, etc. We recommend washing your car regularly enough so that heavy dirt and grime don’t sit on your car for long. Some circumstances may call for a car wash every week, and for others, a light wash may be needed to keep your car looking its best.


Autobrite Direct’s Car Shampoos


Purple Velvet Luxurious High Gloss Shampoo


Purple velvet shampoo


Purple velvet is an all-around fantastic car shampoo. This luxury high gloss and foam shampoo create a huge amount of suds. This thick lubricating formula cuts through dirt effectively and leaves a high-gloss finish.

With a 1500:1 dilution ratio, our purple velvet goes a long way. A 500ml bottle gives you 12 months of cleaning power. Purple Velvet is our most popular car shampoo by far!


Citrus Pearl Ultimate Cleaning Shampoo


Citrus pearl shampoo


Our Citrus Pearl shampoo is a pure cleaner that contains no gloss enhancers or protection. This product is suitable for all types of paintwork, including matt finishes, and vinyl wraps. Also, if you’re planning on adding a wax sealant to your vehicle, you may not want a shampoo that provides additives such as waxes. In that case, Citrus Pearl is for you.

With ultimate shampooing abilities, this formula cleans dirt, grime, and road film from your car.

This product has a dilution ratio of 400:1. Making it a great choice for regular car washers.


Banana Gloss Concentrated Shampoo


Banana gloss shampoo


This pH-neutral shampoo helps to maintain existing protective wax layers. A firm favourite of many customers, this product has a great banana fragrance. Its bright yellow colour lends itself to giving that ‘just waxed’ appearance. A gentle yet effective cleaner, it removes dirt and grime.

This car shampoo has a dilution ratio of 500:1. Car shampooing can be sweet smelling all year round.


Ceramic Infused Shampoo


The Ceramic Infused Shampoo is a more recent addition to the Autobrite Direct range. This formula has been created using both cleaning agents, and ceramic polymers that bond with the surface of your car. These ceramic polymers give a slickness and hydrophobic effect after just one use.

A low foam formula that has great cleaning properties and gives a great level of lubricity. It also improves the colour brightness and depth of gloss of your car’s paintwork. The added layer of protection this shampoo gives unprotected paintwork protection early in the detailing process. When used in conjunction with other ceramic products, this shampoo will boost the properties of other waxes and sealants.


What vehicles can you use Car Shampoo on?


Car Shampoos are suitable for most vehicles. But we have different shampoos which are suited to different types of paintwork. They are great at removing the remnants of dirt that are left on a car’s paintwork after the pre-wash stage. Some have additives that are gloss-enhancing and enhance the brightness of your car’s paintwork. Whereas others are pH neutral and have no additives.


Bike Shampoo


We do however have a dedicated streak-free shampoo that has been specially designed for bikes and motorbikes. This salt-free, pH-neutral formula is an effective cleaner. It is a high-gloss product that has effective cleaning properties. Suitable for all areas of your bike, motorcycle, or quad.


Bike shampoo


Shop Quality Car Cleaning Products with Autobrite Direct


At Autobrite Direct, we formulate quality car detailing products that give you great results every time. Each has its own unique properties and features, designed with a specific use in mind.

If you want to learn more about our range of car detailing products, and how to use these, explore our wide range of blogs.

Alternatively, drop into our store, email us, call us or get in touch via our social channels.


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