best car pre wash

Best Car Pre Wash 2023

When it comes to achieving a showroom shine for your beloved vehicle, a regular car wash may not always be enough. That’s where the power of a high-quality car pre-wash comes into play. Pre-washing is a crucial step in the car detailing process, designed to tackle stubborn dirt, grime, and contaminants that a regular wash may struggle to remove. By using the best car pre wash, you can ensure that your vehicle’s surfaces are thoroughly cleansed and prepared for a flawless finish.

What is a Car Pre Wash?

best car pre wash

On the internet and social media, you may see a lot of posts and videos describing some Pre-Wash that will dramatically change your car wash experience. And every time you see a different type of product and different application method. Some are using Foam Guns and Foam Cannons with car wash shampoo and calling it a Pre-Wash. Some are using pump sprayers, or even trigger sprayers with the ready-to-use product before applying foam, and calling it a Pre-Wash. So why there is such confusion?

So let’s start from the beginning.

Pre-Wash is basically everything you apply with no-contact wash to remove dirt, grime, debris, or contaminants from your car’s paint before contact washing your vehicle.

Types of Pre Wash and When to Use Them

best car pre wash types

There are different types of Pre-Wash, and depending on your needs, some type will be the best one for you. To get detailed information about each Pre-Wash type and find the best products of the selected type, click on the highlighted text of the wanted Pre-Wash type in the table below.

Type of Pre-WashWhen to Use
Acid Car Shampoos
applied with foam cannon or gun
Oxidation, Salt, Minerals
pH-neutral Car Shampoos
applied with foam cannon or gun
Washing a car regularly
(grime, dirt, other fresh contaminants removal)
Alkaline Car Shampoos
applied with a foam gun or cannon
Organic contaminants
(dirt, bird droppings, bugs, oil, and tree sap)
APC (All-Purpose Cleaners)Organic contaminants
(bird droppings, dirt, bugs, oil, and tree sap)
Rinseless WashWashing a car regularly
(dirt, grime, other fresh contaminants removal)
Iron RemoversRemoving Iron
Tar RemoversRemoving Tar
Bug RemoversOrganic contaminants
(dirt, bird droppings, bugs, oil)

Every type of Pre-Wash mentioned above has its own purposes and benefits, and not every Pre-Wash will fit your needs. Commonly people think that Pre-Wash is a product you use before foaming your vehicle to make cleaning deeper, and partially it’s true. Some products will allow you even to wash your car without a hose!

Not everyone understands that for example, Pre-Washing your car with APC can remove your wax coating as well, and it may not be something you were looking for.

Note! Not every product is good for washing your car regularly.

FAQs about Car Pre Wash


Should you Pre-Wash your car?

Yes, you definitely should Pre-Wash your vehicle to avoid leaving swirl marks and scratches on it. When you Pre-Wash your vehicle, you remove dirt, sand particles, and other contaminants that can scratch your vehicle during contact car wash.

Do you wet or Pre-Rinse the car before Pre-Wash?

Based on my experiments with Pre-Rinsing the car, there is no difference in the results of pre-rinsing the paint or applying Pre-Wash on a dry car. However, if the weather is hot, or windy, and your car is hot to the touch, you should wet your car before Pre-Washing it.

Applying any type of Pre-Wash on a hot paint surface can lead to the drying out of foam too quickly. It can leave water spots on your paint, which will be really hard to remove. If you already have water spots on your car, check our detailed guide on how to remove them by clicking on the highlighted text.

Top Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Car Pre-Wash

car pre wash

1. Level and type of contaminations on your car

Before choosing the best Pre-Wash for your car, you need to assess what contaminations you want to remove from your car. If your car is dusty, there is no need to Pre-Wash your car with Alkaline Snow Foam, for such cases pH-neutral Pre-Wash will be enough. On the other hand, if there are a lot of iron particles, tar, and minerals on your car’s paint surface, prewashing your car with pH-neutral shampoo will not lead to wanted results.

2. How often do you want to use this Pre-Wash

It is also crucial to understand that you cannot use some types of Pre-Wash solutions to wash your vehicle every day.

If you need a Pre-Wash to soften and remove the dirt before using two bucket wash method, and you are planning to make it every weekend, you should use pH-neutral shampoos or Rinseless Wash solutions.

If you prepare your vehicle for applying wax, and you need to deep clean your car’s paint, you should use several types of Pre-Wash one by one. You can check what types and in which order you should do it with the help of our detailed guide to Car Wash Deep Cleaning.

3. What protective coatings do you have on your car

For cars with wax or sealant coatings, I would recommend avoiding using any type of Pre-Wash except pH-neutral solutions. Otherwise, they can strip your wax coating in 1-2 washes.

Ceramic-coated cars are less problematic for using different types of Pre-Wash, as the ceramic coating has a higher level of resistance to alkaline or acidic shampoos. But it is always a good idea to double-check the manufacturer’s instructions for the ceramic coating and cleaning solution you are going to use. Some ceramic coatings can be more sensitive than others. At the same time, some shampoos can be too alkaline or too acidic that they can strip even the ceramic coating from your car.

For uncoated cars, there are no specific restrictions on using any type of pre-wash, despite using non-pH-neutral solutions too often and using them on damaged clear coats.


Car Pre Wash is a crucial part of our car care routine. And you are missing a lot if you are skipping it. When you want to keep your car clean, you need to make sure that the washing method you use is not damaging it. Pre-Wash removes contaminants and dirt that can scratch your paint during contact wash.

Best Car Pre Wash is a cleaning solution that suits your auto washing needs the best. It is always a good idea to keep several Pre-Wash types in your detailing arsenal. So you will be able to remove specific contaminants as soon as they appear. It won’t let them get deeper into the paint and damage it.

I hope that this post helped you to understand such a confusing topic, and to find the Best Car Pre-Wash for your vehicle!

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