7 Best Household Products To Clean Car Exterior

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So, what are the household products to clean car exterior? It is not obvious that most drivers make use of any cleaning agent they see around them to wash their cars; regardless, it is important that you use specific car wash soaps or household cleaning products for washing your car.

When you don’t use recommended car wash soaps or shampoos, you’re risking big paint damage. Yes, this is because most conventional household cleaning products are over-reactive and capable of ripping off the wax protection applied to your car’s paint.

To save your pocket from the expense of fixing car paint damages, you should use these cleaning agents as substitutes to standard car wash soaps.

7 Household Products To Clean Car Exterior

Although these household products may not affect your car’s paint, we’d yet recommend that you use them sparingly. That is to say, you should make either of these products (cleaning agents) your regular car wash solution.

1. Vinegar

When there’s no standard car wash soap or shampoo in the house, vinegar can be of great help. Vinegar can be used for car wash, it is entirely safe to use. However, if you’re going to use this to wash your car, it is advisable that you do not add too much vinegar to the water.

The best vinegar solution to wash car exterior is three (3) gallons of water to one (1) gallon of vinegar; i.e., a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar is the best way solution for this method. Vinegar acts as a cleaning agent and a deodorizer; it can possibly remove mold from your car exterior.

2. Baking Soda

You can use the remaining baking soda in your home to wash your car’s body and it’d yet appear clean and shiny. Baking soda does not also affect your car’s paint and would not east off the wax layer or clear coat. Just as vinegar, you should mix an appropriate quantity of baking soda with the water for washing the car.

Baking soda would definitely remove build-ups, molds, and strong dirt from your car’s exterior. Mix one (1) gallon of baking soda to two (2) gallons of water for this wash. This household product even performs better than some car wash soaps. However, use it in moderation.

3. Shampoos

There are car wash shampoos you can use to wash your car; however, when you can’t reach for them, your regular hair shampoo at home can equally serve for washing your car’s exterior.

Generally, shampoos are used to remove strong dirt and grimes from surfaces. There are different types of shampoo, anyway.

It is important to say that while you can use hair or baby shampoo to wash a car, you shouldn’t allow the shampoo to sit for long before rinsing off. Since it’s not a standard car wash shampoos, chances are that the chemical composition of the shampoo might be harsh on your car’s paint.

So, in a bid to protect your vehicle’s paint from chemical stains or damage, you should rinse earlier when you use regular shampoos for a car wash.

4. Laundry Detergents

There are some regular laundry detergents that can be used for washing cars’ exterior. Different detergents are formulated differently to serve specific house cleaning purposes. Regardless, you can use either one in your house at the moment, to wash your car.

But, just as we advised for the use of shampoos, you must have to rinse your car quickly and do not allow the detergent particles to stay on your paint for too long.

That said, you’d need to keep a bucket of clean water close by; so that you can rinse as you wash. This isn’t one of the best alternatives to car wash soaps.

5. Rubbing Alcohol

Actually, rubbing alcohol is for cleaning wipers, windscreen, and other glass. We’d not recommend using a rubbing alcohol substance to wipe down your car’s exterior, but it’s a great cleaning tool for the glasses and some spots inside the car (some of the car’s interior components).

If you’re going to use this household cleaning agent, pour out a little to the rag you use in washing your car (or a new rag), and wipe the windscreen and glasses. Rubbing alcohol would definitely clean out road grimes and other dirt hiding inside the wipers’ gutters.

This substance can be harsh on paints, so you have to apply it with carefulness to avoid spills and drips.

6. Liquid (Handwash) Soap

Well, yes, you can use that liquid hand wash soap to clean your car exterior. It foams pretty good and does not pose any harm to your car’s paint.

Hand wash soaps can clean out dirt from your car’s finish; however, they may not be able to clean out strong grimes and dirt or other robust containments.

7. Toothpaste for Headlights

You can use toothpaste to clean your headlights after you have cleaned other parts of the car. Toothpaste has proven to be a cleaning agent for making your headlights shine or removing stains from your car’s upholstery.

Simply apply the toothpaste to a clean rag and rub it against the surface you want to clean.

How To Wash Your Car Using Household Products

Household Products To Clean The Outside Of a Car

Since you’d be washing/cleaning your car using household products, it’d be great to explain the steps you should take in order to avoid scratching your car’s paint or notice a paint defect after the wash.

Step 1: Wet the car

Firstly, you need to wet the car. Pour clean water on the car’s body; you can use a pressure washer for this, but ensure that you’re using the right nozzle for prewash. This prior practice is very important, regardless of whether you’re washing the car with a standard car wash soap or household products.

Step 2: Pour out cleaning products

Pour out the cleaning agent you have selected into the water you’d be using to wash the car and stir until you’ve got enough suds as you wish. We have listed some of the safe household cleaning products you can use for a car wash.

Step 3: Start washing

Dip a clean microfiber towel into the soapy water and start washing the car. Ensure to keep clean water at bay – this should be used for rinsing. After you have washed a spot/section/part of the car, rinse the area before going on to the next place.

It is advisable to rinse earlier when you’re not using a standard car wash solution (soap or shampoo). Continue in this manner until you have completely cleaned all the car exterior body.

Step 4: Dry the car

You can either allow the car to air dry or use microfiber clothing to dry the body. We’d strongly advise that you do not use just any cloth for drying your car after the wash – the recommended material for drying a car after a wash is a microfiber cloth/rag or chamois.

Using regular towels or any other cloth may cause swirl marks to appear on your paint – you wouldn’t want that to happen, right?


Listed in this article are the household products to clean car exterior. Some of these products (Vinegar, Sods, and toothpaste) are also recommended for cleaning car interior.

Finally, pay attention to every sight while washing or drying your car. We hope that you enjoyed reading this piece – enjoy the rest of the day.

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