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The Best Car Wash Kit: Spiff Up Your Ride

Be a car care expert in minutes with one of these top car wash kits

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BYNoelle Talmon/ LAST UPDATED ON November 5, 2021

Whether you wash your vehicle occasionally or on a weekly basis, you need the right products to ensure that your car or truck is getting the thorough cleaning it deserves. While you can purchase items singularly, you can save money by opting for a complete car wash kit. These kits are available in a range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. Some include just the basics, while others take it up a notch and feature foam guns, clay bars, buckets, and interior cleaning supplies.


Once you determine how much you want to spend and the type of products you need, you will realize that there's no shortage of car wash kits available in stores and online. But not all care care bundles are created equally. Check out some of the best options in the buying guide below.

Best Overall

Chemical Guys 14-Piece Arsenal Builder Car Wash Kit

Summary

This kit includes 14 products for your vehicle's exterior, including a bucket, foam gun, brush, and several products to clean the finish, wheels, and more.

Pros
  • Produces excellent results
  • Foam gun works with a garden hose
  • Products smell good
Cons
  • You may not use all the items
  • Pricey
Best Value

Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit

Summary

This 10-piece kit includes items that clean both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, including wash and wax, inside and out protectant, and microfiber towels.

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Products are easy to use and produce quick results
  • Great for first-time car owners
Cons
  • Some results don’t last very long
  • Doesn’t include a bucket
Honorable Mention

Adam's Arsenal Builder 21 Item Car Wash Kit

Summary

This kit features 21 products for cleaning your vehicle's exterior and interior, including a foam gun, bucket, microfiber towel, and other supplies.

Pros
  • Suitable for both professional detailers and beginners
  • Easy to use
  • Includes a lot of products
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Spray nozzles may prematurely fail
  • Bucket lacks a dirt filter
The Best Car Wash Kit: Spiff Up Your Ride

Best Car Wash Kit Reviews & Recommendations

We love the Chemical Guys car wash kit because it comes with a foam gun that works with a garden hose, so you don't need a pressure washer or additional tools or machinery to get a deep clean. In addition, the kit comes with a bucket, a cyclone dirt trap, Butter wet wax, Honeydew snow foam, Diablo wheel gel, Silk Shine dressing, glass cleaner, a microfiber wash mitt, a short-handle brush, microfiber towels, and a dressing applicator. Collectively, the products are designed to clean your vehicle's exterior by restoring faded trim, removing stuck-on dirt and grime, and producing a deep gloss on the finish. The products smell good, and the results are top notch.


One of the best things about this kit (not to mention, kits in general), is that it's cheaper to purchase than it would be to buy all of the items separately. We also like that the foam gun is easy to use and creates excellent foaming action. One downside is that the foam gun is not designed to work with a pressure washer. Also, the kit may include items that you don't need, and it's a little on the pricey side.

Specs:

  • Size: 14 products
  • Model: HOL126
  • Weight: 12.37 pounds

Pros:

  • Produces great results
  • Foam gun works with a standard hose
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • You may not need every item included
  • Foam gun won’t work with a pressure washer
  • A little pricey

While this kit from Turtle Wax has fewer items than our best overall pick, it's significantly less expensive, which makes it a great value option. This 10-piece kit comes with tire shine, Odor-X spray, scratch and swirl remover, ZipWax wash and wax, wax and dry spray wax, dashboard and glass interior detailer, inside and out protectant, two large microfiber towels, and a foam applicator pad. It's a great option because it also includes items that clean the interior and eliminate bad smells. 


Turtle Wax's Quick & Easy line of products lets users clean, wax, shine, and protect their vehicles quickly and efficiently. For example, the tire shine dries quickly and provides UV protection while giving your tires a wet look. It's a great kit for new vehicles as well as older ones that you want to maintain. It's also a good bundle for first-time car owners. However, the spray wax is not as effective as a paste or liquid wax. Also, the kit is not a miracle worker and won't remove certain imperfections, such as deep scratches. 

Specs:

  • Size: 10 products
  • Weight: 8.85 pounds
  • Model: 50754

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Suitable for interior and exterior surfaces
  • Quick and easy to use

Cons:

  • Spray wax lacks power of other types of waxes
  • Tire shine doesn’t last very long
  • Doesn’t remove all surface imperfections

Adam's Arsenal Builder is a robust kit with 21 products that will help you clean your vehicle inside and out. It includes car shampoo, spray wax, tire shine, wheel cleaner, interior detailer, glass cleaner, microfiber towels, a drying towel, a wheel scrubbing mitt, a wash sponge, a foam gun, a 3.5-gallon bucket, a grit guard, and an air freshener. While it's a bit expensive, it's a significant savings when compared to buying all of the items separately. We like that this kit is so versatile: it's equally as effective for the beginner car cleaner as it is for the professional detailer. 


Overall, the products are good quality and easy to use. The foam gun works with a standard garden hose, and it can accommodate most types of car shampoo, even those from competing brands. Unfortunately, the bucket doesn't come with a lid or a dirt filter. Also, while the products work well, sometimes the spray nozzles on the bottles will break prematurely. 

Specs:

  • Size: 21 products
  • Weight: 15.77 pounds
  • Model: VAR_ARS

Pros:

  • Cleans vehicle inside and out
  • Great for beginners and pros
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bucket lacks a lid and dirt filter
  • Spray nozzles lack quality control

This high-quality car care kit is produced by Meguiar's, which has been in the car care business for over a century. It includes 12 items that are designed to clean your vehicle's interior and exterior, including: car wash shampoo and conditioner, liquid wax, quick detailer, quick interior detailer, ScratchX 2.0, plastic cleaner and polish, a microfiber wash mitt, microfiber towels, and a foam applicator pad. It also comes with a clay bar, which many car wash kits don't. This product removes surface contaminants to provide a smoother finish. 


The wax produces a deep shine, feels slick after application, and beads water easily. The tire shine provides a long-lasting shine, and the interior detailer is not greasy like some competitor brands. One downside is that it can take a lot of time — and wiping — to do a complete detailing job on your vehicle using these products. Also, the foam applicator is not the best quality, and the drying towel is synthetic, not a natural chamois. However, few kits even include this type of product in their bundles.

Specs:

  • Size: 12 products
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Model: G55032SP

Pros:

  • Promotes a deep shine on the vehicle’s finish
  • Includes products many kits don’t
  • Long-lasting 

Cons:

  • Time consuming to use all products in one session
  • Foam applicator could be better quality
  • Lacks a wheel cleaning product

This car care kit from Armor All has the fewest items in its bundle, but the package is still a great buy and includes plenty of products to get your vehicle clean. The kit includes ultra shine wash and wax, glass cleaner, protectant, multi-purpose cleaner, wheel and tire cleaner, tire shine, a wash pad, and an air freshener spray. The wheel cleaner is suitable for most wheels, is easy to use, and does a good job of removing brake dust. The glass cleaner doesn't leave streaks behind, the protectant provides a satin finish, and the tire shine lasts several days.


Overall, this kit contains most of the items you need to do a traditional car wash. One downside is that the air freshener spray doesn't last very long. Also, the cleaning sponge is not heavy duty, and the bundle doesn't include a bucket or receptacle to contain all the items in one place. 

Specs:

  • Size: 8 items
  • Weight: 9.2 pounds
  • Model: N/A

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Products are easy to use
  • Produces positive results

Cons:

  • No bucket
  • Air freshener doesn’t last very long
  • Cleaning sponge is not heavy duty

How We Selected The Products 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

We made sure to pick reputable brands that are well-known in the industry. Most of these companies have been in business for decades and have spent many years perfecting their formulas so consumers have access to the best cleaning supplies. We also looked at the types of items included in each bundle, so you're not paying for products you don't need and are getting products you will actually use. We also understand that car owners have different budgetary requirements. As a result, we chose a wide-range of products for those who have the ability to splurge to those who just want a basic kit with traditional car cleaning supplies. We avoided products from unknown manufacturers and kits with smaller bottles and items that don't last very long. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

The most important consideration for choosing a car wash kit is the contents. We picked kits that included a well-rounded group of products with high-quality formulas. All kits in this buying guide include some type of car wash or shampoo, and many have either a wax or wash/wax combination. Some of the best kits feature products that can clean both the interior and exterior of a vehicle, but some are specifically designed for exterior cleaning only. We also looked at kits with bonus supplies, such as buckets, foam guns, and microfiber towels. The price and value of each bundle was another factor in our decision-making process. 

What to Consider When Buying a Car Wash Kit

Car Wash Kit Key Features

Liquid Contents

The first thing you need to do when cleaning your vehicle is to spray it down with water and use a car shampoo/car wash. Some of these car care kits feature a car wash and wax combination, while others have the shampoo and the wax as separate products. Other items to look for in these bundles include tire shine, wheel cleaner, glass cleaner, protectant, scratch remover, and interior cleaner. Some include items for cleaning the interior, others have products for washing plastic trim and other specific areas. 

You may have some of these products in your garage already, or you may be new to cleaning your vehicle at home. That's why it's important to check the kit's contents so you don't purchase any duplicates and to ensure that you're getting the items that you absolutely require.

Accessories

While the majority of car wash kits come with car shampoo, wax, and other liquid products to clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle, not all of them feature items that you need in order to apply these products. Some bundles have foam guns that work in conjunction with a standard garden hose to create a lot of suds to remove dirt and dust from your car or truck. 

Other kits include a bucket, which is a necessary item when cleaning your vehicle. Still more of these kits come with microfiber towels, wash mitts, and even drying towels that are good to have on hand when you’re washing and drying your car. 

Price

Car wash kits are available at a wide range of prices. Some are very affordable and are great for a basic car wash. Others are more comprehensive and include more items, making them much more versatile. Those on the higher end typically include products such as buckets and foam guns. The most expensive kits will have car-cleaning items such as clay bars, which remove some of the imperfections on your vehicle's finish. 

Most of the time, it's less expensive to purchase a kit than to buy each of the items separately. However, you may not need all of the products that the bundle contains. That's why it's a good idea to price it out and make sure what you're getting in the kit is worth the price.

FAQs

Q: How often should I wash my car?

At a minimum, we recommend washing your vehicle every two weeks. Some car owners, however, clean their vehicles weekly, while others do so even more regularly.  

Q: What items should I look for in a car wash kit? 

A basic kit usually includes items such as car wash soap/shampoo, liquid wax, tire foam, and wheel cleaner. It may also have glass cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, and odor eliminator. More advanced kits also include tools such as a foam gun, bucket, sponge, towel, and brush. Some also feature clay bars to remove contaminants from the vehicle's surface.

Q: Can I use hand soap or dishwashing soap to clean my car? 

We don't recommend it. Household cleaning products are not designed to clean a car's paint and may remove the protective coating that's on the finish.

Final Thoughts

Our top pick is the Chemical Guys 14-Piece Arsenal Builder Car Wash Kit. In addition to all the essentials, it comes with a foam gun, bucket, and other items that many kits lack. Plus, it's a good value for what you get. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit.

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