Do Wash and Wax Car Soaps Work?

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what is wash and wax car soap

If you thought of buying wash and wax car soaps, this post is for you. I’ll break down all the pros and cons of wash and wax car shampoos, whether they’re any good, and are they even worth it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Car wash and wax soaps are good at cleaning the dirt from your car, but they’re not as effective in protecting the car’s paint.
  • There’s too little wax inside, and even if there’s enough wax, it can’t bond to the surface properly.
  • Wash and wax car shampoos are good if you want to temporarily (a few days at max) enhance the paint on your vehicle.
  • Traditional car waxes and sealants are a much better investment and will outperform even the best wash & wax shampoo.

What Is Car Wash and Wax Soap?

Car wash and wax soap is a concentrate of car wash soap with added waxes inside. Primarily, there will be some carnauba wax and synthetic polymers added to the soap.

The purpose of car wash and wax soap is to clean, shine, and protect your vehicle’s paint while you’re washing it. So, it’s a 1-step product.

Do Wash and Wax Shampoos Work?

car shampoo suds, cleaning car,

Why would you buy two different products if you can get the same results with one product only? Well, that’s the main reason why I decided to write this post.

In my opinion, car soaps with wax inside work great for cleaning the car since waxes have some cleaning properties too. They’ll also give extra lubrication while washing your vehicle, so it may reduce the chances of scratching the paint.

However, they don’t work as marketed by companies to protect your paint from UV, heat, and other external factors.

Car wash and wax shampoos will only clean your vehicle and maybe enhance the shine a little bit. But, the protection won’t last more than a few hours or one day.

Is Wash & Wax as Good as Car Wax

If we look at the protecting properties, you can’t even compare typical car waxes with wash and wax soaps. 

Car waxes can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 5 months, while wash and wax shampoos may last one to two days at max.

Also, wash and wax soaps won’t add the same amount of shine and gloss to your car’s paint. The reason is that car waxes bond to the surface, and when you buff them, they give that extra deep warm glow to the color.

On the other hand, wash and wax soaps won’t bond to the surface. They may enhance the paint a bit. 

Should You Use Wash and Wax Products on Your Car

In my opinion, using a car wash and wax soap is good if you already have some paint protectant (wax, sealant, or ceramic coating) on your car. So, using them in between regular waxing is good. 

However, if you don’t have any paint protection on your car and expect wash and wax soaps to protect your car’s paint, you shouldn’t use them. They won’t protect the paint nearly as any car wax.

If you have a black vehicle, using wash and wax car soaps may give that extra shine to the color, but not for too long. 

There are no shortcuts. If you want high shine and gloss for your car’s paint, you should apply some real paint protectants to it. For the deepest glow and shine, I recommend you use natural carnauba waxes. 

Pros and Cons of Using Wash and Wax Car Soaps

Here are the main pros and cons of using wash and wax soaps on your vehicle.


  • Saving time. Wash and wax car soaps will save you a lot of time compared to the traditional two-step process of washing and then waxing your car.
  • Convenience. This is probably the most convenient way to quickly clean and protect your vehicle.
  • Budget-friendly. Instead of buying two separate products, you only need to purchase one. This makes wash & wax soaps a better economical choice for some car owners.
  • Temporary shine and gloss. These soaps will enhance your car immediately after washing, so you don’t have to do any additional steps.


  • Inferior wax protection. While wash and wax soaps do contain wax, the level of protection isn’t anywhere close to that provided by a dedicated wax. The wax component in these soaps isn’t as durable and doesn’t bond to the car’s surface as effectively.
  • Short-lived results. Both the shine and gloss provided by wash and wax products are very short. The wax will wear off quickly, sometimes even within a day or two.
  • Not suitable for serious detailing. If you’re serious about detailing your car, wash and wax products won’t be interesting to you. These products don’t meet “professional” car detailing standards.

What’s the Best Car Wash and Wax Soap

Meguiars Ultimate Wash & Wax (48 oz) Bundle with Microfiber Cloth (2 Items)
Amazon Prime

There’s only one product that really stands out from the crowd, and that’s Meguiar's Ultimate Wash&Wax Car Soap

It has excellent suds, cleans perfectly, and is pH-neutral so that it won’t strip waxes from your vehicle. 

Also, this one gives your paint the deepest shine and glossiness from all the wash and wax soaps that I have tried. 

Wash and Wax vs. Traditional Car Shampoo

There are no significant differences between wash and wax soaps and traditional car soaps. The only difference is that there are waxes and synthetic polymers added into the wash and wax concentrate.

So, the difference is in their purpose:

  • Car wash and wax soaps should clean, restore, shine, and protect your paint.
  • Standard car soaps will only clean your car and eventually condition the paint.

Additionally, wash and wax car shampoos may provide a bit more lubrication, which is better for preventing swirl marks from appearing on your car’s paint. But it’s such a tiny difference that it’s not worth buying wash and wax just because of that. I’d still stick to some high-quality traditional car wash soap.

Final Verdict: Are Wash and Wax Products Worth It?

To round it all up, car wash and wax soaps aren’t bad. They’re excellent products for washing your car, especially in between regular waxing.

But if you expect them to protect your paint, you’re wrong. There’s nothing that can replace wax, sealant, or ceramic coating.

My ultimate advice is to get separate soap and wax. And if you’re looking for the best car waxes, check out my recommendation.

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