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Can You Put Car Wash Soap in a Pressure Washer?


A pressure washer is indeed one of the most useful tools that one can buy for cleaning cars. Even professional car washers use a pressure washer to clean their clients’ vehicles. But hiring a professional car cleaner can be a burden to the pocket. That is why I always recommend my friends buy a pressure washer instead and use it to clean their car on their own. This not only saves a lot of money but also a lot of time. You don’t have to look for a reliable, professional cleaner and instead take the job into your own hands.

Women washing car withe pressure washer

However, one must remember that cleaning the car with hands is slightly different than cleaning the car with a pressure washer. One of the most common questions that arise in the mind of a pressure washer owner is whether or not they can use car soap for cleaning the car with a pressure washer. Well, if you have the same query, I am here to help. Keep reading to find out all about using car soap in a pressure washer!

What is a Car Soap?

Car soap is basically a cleaner made of surfactants, and as evident from the name, it is used for cleaning cars. The chemical composition of car soap contains two molecular chains; one chain gets attracted to water, whereas the other has a higher affinity for dirt. The active ingredients of the cleaner try to suspend the dirt molecules and get rid of them from the water surface. Car soap is a very strong formula that can help you get rid of debris, soil, stubborn stains, etc.

Does Car Soap Work with Pressure Washers?

The simple answer to this would be no. It is because a pressure washer is more compatible with car detergents and not car soaps. To use car soap, you need to first apply it directly to the car surface. But as pressure washers come with a designated detergent tank, you need to put the car soap into the tank first, which won’t help because you are not applying it directly to the car surface. Also, car soaps create a lot of foam, which can harm the pressure washer nozzle. If you think you can dilute the car soap, well, you cannot because it is already diluted. As you cannot dilute it further, no matter what you do, it will still cause bubbles. However, that is not the case with a detergent because a detergent can be easily diluted with water, so the bubble caused will be much less. That is why if you are planning to pressure wash your car, make sure you’re using a detergent and not a car soap!

Man washing car with pressure washer with car soap

Working Method of Pressure Washers with Detergent

A pressure washer uses two types of techniques while cleaning a car with detergent, downstream water flow injection and upstream water flow injection. In upstream injection, the detergent runs through a pump. Hence, the chemical detergent is introduced into the cleaning water after you pump the pressure washer. Whether downstream is more effective than upstream cleaning is a debatable topic. But personally, I prefer downstream cleaning because, in this technique, I can use several types of detergents and then decide which one fits my cleaning requirements the best. For downstream injection, you need to buy a separate soap nozzle. Ensure the detergent container is attached perfectly below the nozzle so that the detergent water does not get mixed with the cleaning water. One more thing that you must keep in mind is that not every detergent is fit for use with cold water. Some are more compatible with hot water and do not provide good results when used with cold water. Thankfully, you can easily confirm whether your detergent is compatible with cold or hot water from the seller. Using the right kind of detergent with the right water temperature is very important if you want to clean your car flawlessly!

Final Words

I hope now you know that using detergent with a pressure washer is better than using car soap. So if you have been using car soap with a pressure washer and not getting good results while cleaning your car, it’s fine. There’s still time to switch to a good quality detergent and start cleaning your car with it. Make sure you do not use a poor-quality detergent because that will harm the car’s surface. Instead, go for a premium brand. Even though it will cost higher, the cleaning will be far better. If you are not accustomed to cleaning a car alone, you can also hand over the job to a professional car cleaner. Yes, it will be slightly expensive, but it’s better than damaging your car by using the wrong cleaning techniques. So when are you planning to clean your car with a pressure washer, and what detergent will you use? Do share your thoughts with me!



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