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What is a pH Neutral Car Wash? Is it important?

There are many different types of cleaners out on the market today and some can be very harmful to your car. If you’re not sure what pH level they fall under, then it’s best that we provide a little guidance for those who may have concerns about which acids or bases might damage their vehicle!
A neutral cleaner has an overall balanced effect across all aspects including cleaning power as well sudsing ability ̷

What is a Neutral Car wash?

A car shampoo that is balanced or is ‘neutral’ has a pH score similar to that of water, with a pH value sitting around 7. A pH lower than 7 is considered alkaline, whereas a pH higher than 7 is more acidic.

Our Hybrid Car Shampoo is pH neutral and is the best option for car washing. A ph neutral car wash liquid such as Autosmart Hybrid is also safe to use on vehicles with Ceramic Paint Protection.

A neutral pH will not strip away the wax from your car paint, and it will also not damage the Clearcoat. The Clearcoat is a very thin layer of lacquer that is applied to the car paint in order to protect it from UV rays, scratches, and other damages. Therefore, it is essential to use a car shampoo with a neutral pH in order to maintain the integrity of your car paint.

Can I just use dish detergent to clean my car?

When it comes to car washing, you get what you pay for. Many cheap car washing liquids are nothing more than dishwashing liquids. While a cheap car wash liquid may seem attractive in price, you should be aware that they generally are much higher in pH. And although they have a label that says car washing shampoo, many are simply liquid detergents which are essentially the same as dishwashing liquid.

Liquid detergents for cleaning dishes and bakeware are excellent for softening baked-on foods and removing grease from your dirty kitchen dishes. Unfortunately, high pH levels while ideal in the kitchen, are not ideal on your cleaning car paintwork.

In fact, you will find that while you may achieve a great clean, you will be left with a dull surface as the detergent strips off the protective wax coating from your paintwork. This will also leave your clear coat vulnerable to UV rays. So when it comes to car washing, it’s important to use a quality product that is specifically designed for washing cars. This will help to protect your paintwork and keep your car looking its best.

Very Acidic or Alkaline cleaners can be effective however…

Very high or alternatively very low pH cleaners can be very corrosive to your car. Automatic Car washes will often use acidic car cleaners as they are fast and effective. However, they can cause premature aging to paintwork and may even etch your glass

Why a pH-neutral car cleaner is best

A cleverly formulated car cleaner with a balanced pH is the safest choice to wash your car.

We have several options of pH neutral car wash solutions for your car. And they are all formulated to clean the paint and also protect the surface.

  • Smart Wash – A wax-free Auto shampoo – can be applied manually or with a snow foam cannon
  • Ultra Gleam – An incredibly effective shampoo that also contains waxes for a long-lasting shine
  • Hybrid Shampoo – Made specifically for those who have ceramic paint protection or new paintwork

Don’t be fooled by labels that promote words like powerful cleaning, strong formula etc is they do not also promote being pH neutral. A neutral pH does not mean less cleaning power. You still get a powerful clean but you also protect the surface of your paint. pH neutral car cleaners gently clean away the build-up of road grime and dirt without causing damage to your glossy coating.

In short, does it really matter?.

Yes, You should definitely seek out a pH-neutral car shampoo to clean off debris from your car surface. Cheap car cleaners will often contain harsh chemicals or fillers in their formulation, which can erode the protective wax polish on your paintwork.

Look for specific detailing that specifies that the cleaner has a balanced formula.