Can You Use Car Wash Soap in a Pressure Washer? Best Practices

Are you wondering whether you can use car wash soap in a pressure washer to clean your car?

Well, it is possible, but you need to ensure that your pressure washer has a soap tank and that the soap you use is specially formulated for pressure washers.

It’s the weekend, and there are many tasks around the property, including washing the car.

Your pressure washer has been reliable for many tasks.

However, you are unsure if it’s suitable to use with car wash soap.

Pressure washing can be a good option if you’re looking for a quick way to wash your car.

However, it’s important to be careful and choose the right products.

This article will show you how to use car soap with your pressure washer.

Keep reading to find out more.

A car being cleaned at home with car wash soap in a pressure washer.

Related Reading: Is Wet and Forget Safe For Use In A Pressure Washer?

When to Use Car Wash Soap in a Pressure Washer

Before using a pressure washer to clean your vehicle, make sure your machine is capable.

If your pressure washer has a detergent tank, it’s safe to use to clean your car.

However, if it doesn’t have a tank, you won’t be able to use it.

Car Wash Detergent vs Shampoo

Car shampoos are incompatible with pressure washers because they are designed to be applied directly to the surface.

The shampoo’s foams and bubbles can block the pressure hose or spray head.

When selecting a shampoo, make sure it is suitable for use with pressure washers by doing your research.

Detergent is more compatible with pressure washers, but it needs to be diluted.

The washer’s detergent tank dilutes the cleaning solution before it is sprayed out of the pressure washer’s hose and spray head.

Related Article: Can You Use a 100 Ft Hose on a Pressure Washer?

Using Detergent in a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers have two methods of introducing detergent: upstream and downstream.

An upstream washer injects detergent into the pump, while a downstream washer adds detergent after the pump.

If you add the detergent upstream and let it enter the pump, be cautious of one thing.

Using detergents in your washing machine can cause damage to the pump.

However, certain types of detergents are safe to use.

To avoid any harm to your washer, it’s important to pay close attention to the detergent you use and ensure it’s safe for your machine.

Going downstream gives you access to a greater variety of detergents and soaps.

You should attach a soap canister to your spray nozzle to use this option.

The soap gets mixed with the water just before it leaves the nozzle.

Related Reading: Can You Use Dish Soap in a Pressure Washer?

Should You Use Cold or Hot Water?

Your detergent choices are further narrowed if your pressure washer only uses cold water.

Some detergents are made for cold water, and others for hot water.

Using the right type of soap for your washer is important to avoid any damage over time.

Using the wrong soap can cause havoc on your machine.

If you’re having trouble distinguishing between the two types of detergent, here’s a tip: detergents created for use in hot water will not foam as well when used in cold water.

To determine whether you have hot water detergent, look at the lather produced by your pressure washer.

If it appears lackluster, you likely have hot water detergent.

Related Reading: Can You Use Hot Water in a Pressure Washer? Learn the Truth

Choose the Right Nozzle

When washing your car with soap and a pressure washer, it’s important to make sure you use the appropriate nozzle.

Using the wrong nozzle can cause the water pressure to be too high, potentially damaging your vehicle’s exterior.

You’ll want to avoid this, so be sure to choose the right nozzle for the job.

This is one of my articles discussing pressure washer nozzles.

The 65° black tip nozzle produces a gentle water flow and is ideal for creating a rich lather on your car.

You could choose the 40° tip, the second-lowest pressure nozzle.

However, it may not coat your car with soap as effectively as the blacktip.

Related Article: How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle

Water Flow Rate

When cleaning your car, ensure sufficient water flow for your machine.

This is one of my articles regarding how much water a pressure washer uses.

To ensure efficient cleaning, your washer should deliver water at 1.4 to 1.6 gallons per minute.

If the rate is lower, the task may take longer than expected.

How to Use Car Wash Soap in a Pressure Washer

After checking your washer’s specifications, you bought the appropriate detergent and are now eager to start washing your car.

  1. Attach the 25° nozzle to the washer for high-pressure cleaning. Spray tires, wheels, and wheel wells to remove dirt.
  2. Replace the nozzle with the 40° tip, then rinse the entire vehicle, starting from the roof and working towards the base.
  3. Please change the nozzle on your pressure washer to the 65° one. Add the detergent to your pump if you use an upstream option. For the downstream option, attach the detergent to the spray head. Apply foam to your car, starting from the roof and working your way down to the bottom.
  4. Attach the 40⁰ nozzle a final time. Use this to rinse thoroughly rinse off the soap suds.
  5. Wipe your car down using a microfibre cloth.

Continue Reading: Your Pressure Washer Won’t Start: Important Troubleshooting

Final Thoughts

When using a pressure washer, you can use car soap but you must choose between upstream and downstream models.

The former option requires the use of certain detergents to ensure that your pump internals aren’t damaged.

Going the downstream way means attaching the soap to your sprayer but supports a wider range of detergents.

When washing your car, use the 65⁰ nozzle specifically designed for this task.

Cleaning your car using car wash soap in a pressure washer will save time and provide a great experience.

You can not only save time, but also save money by not going to the car washes.

Read the pressure washer manual carefully.

Be safe!

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!