LAST UPDATED: May 11, 2020
The Best Car Wash Kits (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Keep your ride looking new with these cleaning solutions
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON May 11, 2020
For many folks, your car is the second-largest investment you’ll ever make. It’s important to maintain your car and keep it running its best. It’s also important to keep it looking its best. Preserving your car’s good looks is rewarding in more ways than one. A well-kept vehicle has a higher resale value, and besides, it’s fun to take good care of your car.
Automatic car washes can do more harm than good, so a good old-fashioned hand wash is still best. Considering your car needs all the TLC an inanimate object can possibly get, we decided to look at some of the best car wash kits circulating the web. From upholstery to shining paint to scratch removal, these kits will have your car looking as good as new. To help you along, we’ve assembled a series of top-rated kits that will keep your car looking new, inside and out, for years to come — take a look for yourself.
This kit comes with soap, scratch remover, spray wax, glass and surface cleaner, spray protectant, an air freshener, tire shine, foam applicator, and microfiber towels.
This versatile kit has loads of items to clean your vehicle inside and out. It also has an air freshener to make it smell good and detailing towels to get the job done.
The tire shine spray isn't the most effective, and the items may leak during shipping.
This clever car wash tool comes with everything you need to scrub your vehicle. It’s available at a low price and includes a mop with three unique heads.
This kit focuses on cleaning the exterior of your vehicle. The mop extends easily and lets you reach difficult spots. Each mop head is gentle on the car’s surfaces.
The kit doesn’t include cleaners with the supplies. It doesn’t have a mop bucket, so you’ll have to supply your own.
This kit has nine parts that come together in a handy container. It doubles as a cleaning bucket. Featuring microfiber cloths and scrubbing tools, this complete set offers everything you need.
This kit has all you need to clean the interior and exterior. The sponge applies wax smoothly, and the microfiber towel prevents scratches. Doubling as a bucket, the container keeps everything together.
Though the kit has all the cleaning tools you need, it doesn’t include cleaner. The handles are somewhat small, which could make gripping them a challenge.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Car Wash Kits
- Showroom appeal. A clean car is visually more appealing. Clean cars also have more value.
- Protect the finish. Keeping your vehicle clean is important for more than just aesthetic reasons. Over time, it will be exposed to things such as tree sap, dead bugs, and bird droppings. These can corrode the finish and dry up, so they become challenging to remove without destroying the paint.
- Performance and safety. A dirty car can also adversely affect its performance. If it's covered in grime, it can cause wind resistance, which can affect your fuel economy. It's also important to keep the windows clean because if you can't see out of them clearly, it can cause safety issues.
- Protection from damage. Dirt, road salt, and tar can also build up on your vehicle's undercarriage and bodywork and may eventually damage it. If you keep your car clean, you can help avoid these problems and prevent your vehicle from losing more value than it should.
Types of Car Wash Kits
There are basically two types of car wash kits: basic and advanced. A basic kit will have a variety of cleaning products for both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. It may also include a microfiber towel or two. An advanced kit will have cleaning products as well as a variety of tools that you otherwise may need to purchase separately.
Basic Cleaning Kits
Car wash kits contain various combinations of products. They typically all have some type of car wash soap or shampoo to clean the finish. Many feature a liquid wax to bring out the shine and color in the paint and protect the finish. Other common items are tire foam and wheel cleaner.
Basic car wash kits also often feature glass cleaners and/or multi-purpose cleaners as well as products geared specifically toward sprucing up the interior of your vehicle. They may even feature air fresheners or odor eliminators so it smells fresh.
Advanced Cleaning Kits
The more you pay for a kit, the more products it contains. Premium car wash kits usually have more tools and hardware than their less-expensive counterparts. They may include items such as a foam gun, which in some cases can attach directly to a garden hose and won't require other tools or machines for operation.
Bigger kits also have buckets, sponges, towels, brushes, and other applicators. Many include clay bar kits, which you can use to remove contaminants from the finish. Pollutants such as brake dust can settle on the paint and can be difficult to remove unless you use a clay bar.
Founded in Connecticut, Armor All was formerly owned by Clorox. Now, it’s one of the leading providers of cleaning products for automobiles. A top selection is the Armor All Three-Pack of Cleaning Wipes.
Opening its doors in 1941, this American company has roots in Chicago, where its head office remains. During its time on the market, Turtle Wax has developed a reputation for quality car maintenance supplies, such as the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit.
Beginning operations in California more than 40 years ago, Chemical Guys has become a top name in car detailing and cleaning supplies. One of its most popular offerings is the Chemical Guys 14-Piece Car Wash Kit.
Car wash kits come with a variety of different products, some of which are essential and some of which you may not need. (If you don't have leather seats, for example, you don't need a leather cleaner.) Don't settle for a kit that has extraneous items. Be selective, and choose one that falls within your budget and provides all the essentials for your particular vehicle.
This is the most important element in a car wash kit. You can't wax or polish your vehicle until you clean it first. Some shampoos are better than others. Try to find a brand that foams easily when you add water. It's also critical that it keeps the car's finish in good condition.
Another thing to look for when choosing a car shampoo is that it doesn't leave any streaks. This will make your detailing job a lot easier. Also, it should produce a nice shine. Another plus is if it has a nice scent. If you don't like the smell, it will make your job a little unpleasant.
Next, check which type of cleaners are included in the kit. Some provide polishes that are designed to specifically clean plastic. Others have glass cleaner for the windows or a multi-purpose cleaner that works on a variety of surface areas. Some kits have dirt and dust-fighting protectants and tire cleaners.
Most kits have liquid wax, which prevents debris from clinging to your car's surface and gives it a nice shine. They may also contain detailing spray, which is another way to get that sought-after glossy look. You need to figure out which cleaners you require, so you can find one that has them all (or at least most of them).
Microfiber Towels and Mitts
You can have all the shampoo, cleansers, and waxes you need, but they won't do you any good if you don't have a way to apply them to your vehicle's interior and exterior surfaces. Look for kits that have absorbent microfiber towels or mitts. The aim is to pick up the dust or dirt the first time you wipe the cloth across the surface area. Also, make sure the cloth is soft so that it doesn't damage your paint.
When it comes to drying your vehicle, the best towels are made of microfiber or chamois. If you don't use the right cloth, you’ll leave streaks or spots behind—or worse, you can scratch the paint. If you use a bath towel, for example, it can leave lint behind that might scratch the finish.
Car wash kits can range in price from less than $30 to as much as $200. Most good-quality comprehensive kits start around $50. They usually include a few tools alongside the products. If you spend a little more, the kit will have better-quality tools and more durable mitts. The most expensive kits will feature items such as clay bars and foam guns.
Consider how much it would cost to buy the items separately versus buying them bundled together in a kit. It's usually more cost effective to buy a kit, but one possible drawback is that it may feature items you don't need.
Best Car Wash Kits Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the good stuff—just check out this Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit. You get car wash soap, a scratch remover, and spray wax to take care of the outside, while a two-in-one glass and surface cleaner, a spray protectant, and an air freshener keep things looking and smelling good inside. The kit also includes a tire shine for the perfect finishing touch and is rounded off by a pair of microfiber detailing towels and a foam applicator. Once again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great day outside making your car look new again.
Keep in mind that although the wax works well for the body, it leaves something to be desired for the tires. To circumvent this, simply go over the tires more than once to ensure a quality result.
The House Day Two-In-One Car Wash Set offers a simple and straightforward way to clean your vehicle. It comes at a low cost, making it affordable for pretty much any budget. The kit consists of a mop that extends to different lengths. With three different mop heads, you can choose the right fit. The rotating head maneuvers well over the curves of both the windshield and the vehicle body. Since the mop handle gives you good leverage, this kit significantly limits the amount of elbow grease you need to apply. Want something that will last? This kit includes microfiber fabric that’s easy to clean and maintain. The mop itself is durable and resistant to damage from bending. A solid value pick, this kit makes cleaning vehicles affordable and easy.
Though it is effective, this car wash kit doesn’t come with the cleaning fluid. This gives you the opportunity to use soap and water, avoiding strong chemicals in the process.
If money is no object, the Chemical Guys 16-Piece Arsenal Builder Wash Kit is one heck of a way to treat your car to the best cleaning of its life. The kit comes shipped in a wash bucket that includes a grit guard to keep you from spreading dirt around while you wash. Naturally, you get car wash soap, a wash mitt, and even a few detailing towels to get you started. You also get a special absorbent drying towel and a foam cannon like the pros use. After a thorough wash, you can use the liquid wax to leave a beautiful shine, and the quick detailer is great for between-wash touch-ups. You’ll also find a wheel cleaner and a high-quality tire dressing inside the bucket. A cleaning brush and a foam applicator are also included.
Even though this is an excellent (and comprehensive) car wash kit, the bucket is vulnerable to damage from impact. As long as you store it in a safe spot and don’t step on it, the entire kit is sure to last.
If you’re looking to add to your detailing arsenal, this Eagle One Four-Piece Car Care Kit for Wheels and Tires could be just what you need. Clean paint is important, but having a good shine on your tires is the perfect complement to a deep, glossy wax job. While shiny tires may be a great finishing touch, they’re far from an afterthought when it comes to detailing. Tires become very dirty over time, resulting in inconsistent, splotchy application of a tire dressing. This kit includes a foaming tire cleaner to get your tires clean before applying the included dressing. Also included are reusable foam applicator pads to make things easy and fun.
Keep in mind that while this kit is great for tires, it doesn’t include a full cleaning kit for your car. If you’re just using it to bring your tires back up to par, though, it works excellently.
If you’re looking to spend moderately without forgoing quality, we recommend the Mofeez Nine-Piece Car Cleaning Kit. It includes a wide array of brushes and cloths, each meant to tackle a different surface. Bugs on the windshield? Scrape them off with the included window tool. Need to get a stain out of the upholstery? There’s an included brush for that as well.
The cloth is durable enough to let you scrub hard. Still, the material is gentle enough to prevent scratches. Thanks to the microfiber, you don’t have to worry about water spots, either. All the parts come in the handy container, which closes like a toolbox. It doubles as a bucket for your cleaner and makes it easy to finish cleaning (without leaving a mess behind).
Bear in mind that even though this kit comes with pretty much everything you need, it doesn’t actually include a cleaner. However, since the fabric and container are so tough, you can use any cleaning solution.
If you’re looking for a way to clean your car with safe and effective tools, the AUTODECO 25-Piece Cleaning Set is worth checking out. It comes with everything you need to scrub and shine your vehicle. The glass cleaner prevents scratches to the surface, while the tire brush offers ideal protection against caked-on grime. Everything comes inside a handy box, preventing the risk of losing parts of the kit.
The box can hold your cleaning solution, meaning you don’t have to seek out a bucket to get started. It can handle as much as 4 liters of fluid and is resistant to damage from chemicals. The kit includes tablets that you can dissolve as a cleaner. Best when used in luke-warm water, the cleaning fluid efficiently gets through all kinds of messes without leaving scratches or streaks.
Keep in mind that while this kit includes some chemical tablets, they may be insufficient for cleaning larger cars. To remedy this, dilute them less and use the concentrated cleaner on the dirtiest spots before watering it down further.
If you prefer to stick to the basics, the Snow Eagle-L Cleaning Tools Kit is a solid option. It comes with 10 pieces, each meant to address a different part of the vehicle. The microfiber cloth works on all types of paint. It won’t leave behind scratches, and it helps you avoid issues with watermarks. The kit includes detailing tools for the inside of the vehicle. These scrubbers work with any cleaning fluid. Especially useful if you want to avoid using chemicals, these pieces can be also used with soap and water. The window squeegee is lightweight and easy to control, improving your vision for driving. The sponges are fairly long lasting, given how quick they are to clean and dry. All the parts come together in a handy container that you can use to hold the cleaning solution.
It’s worth noting that although this kit is complete with cleaning tools, there’s no chemical cleaner. That said, it gives you the chance to choose what you clean your car with.
Want to help your car stay clean without running the risk of damage? The Konpard Ultimate Car Wash Kit is a handy option that’s safe for all types of paint. All nine pieces come together in the container, made out of high-grade polymers. It holds water (and cleaner) so you can use it as a bucket as you clean. With a handle at the top, it’s easy to carry to and from the sink. This kit includes a mitt for wiping down the car, along with microfiber cloths for drying. It prevents watermarks and streaks, leaving the vehicle looking brand new. Looking to get those pesky bugs off your windshield? The window scraper can get the job done. Taken together, this kit is a great way to keep your car in prime condition.
Bear in mind that although this car wash kit is handy, it can be tricky to dry out the box after you're done cleaning. Either wipe it down with a dry cloth or leave it in the sun to prevent issues with mildew on your tools.
Do you want to clean your car without wasting water? If so, the Aero Wet or Waterless Car Wash Kit is a well-suited option. It comes with a set of microfiber cloths, with each of the four pieces meant to prevent scratches and streaks. The chemicals come in a large fluid container, giving you 144 ounces of cleaner. Requiring no water to get your car nice and shiny, this wash-and-wax mix is quite efficient. You can get about three dozen applications out of this set when using it as a complete cleaner. The chemical itself has no alcohol or ammonia. To add to its eco-friendly values, all components are biodegradable. Both the cleaner and wax are highly effective on all types of paint.
It helps to note that although this cleaner is really effective, it doesn’t have a rinse process. This means the wax (and cleaner) remain on the car, which could cause water marks after a rain.
When you're too busy for a complete car wash, Armor All Cleaning Wipes are awesome to have around. This set comes with three different cleaners, each meant to address a different need. The glass cleaner wipes down your windows, cutting through grime efficiently. It leaves behind a streak-free surface. The cleaning wipes let you scrub away any grime on the car. There are enough wipes (30 in each container) to wipe down the whole car or just spot clean. Finally, the protectant is meant to go over the clean vehicle. It offers a layer of wax-like protection that keeps the car from getting dirtier. When all three wipes are used together, this cleaning kit is both effective and efficient. It conserves water while both cleaning and preventing further messes.
Though this cleaner is very useful when you’re short for time, it isn’t the most comprehensive selection. Ideal when used in conjunction with regular cleanings, this kit is handy for on-the-go needs.
- Before you purchase a car wash kit, determine what you already have in your garage. If you’re stocked up on microfiber towels and wash mitts, you don't need a kit that has these items.
- You may be happy with a kit that has just the basics for an exterior makeover, or you may prefer a kit that has everything you need to clean it inside and out. Kits that feature more items are typically more expensive. If you have money to spare, you may want a package that features everything from cleaner for the seats and molding to a clay bar that removes surface contaminants from the paint finish.
- If your kit doesn’t come with a bucket, make sure you have one with a 5-gallon capacity. It’s easier to use if it has a handle and wheels. Some even have grit-guard inserts to collect the grime that falls off the mitt.
Q: How do I use a car wash kit?
Each of the products in a car wash kit has a specific purpose. Follow the directions, and your car will be much cleaner and shinier as a result.
Q: How do I choose the best car wash kit?
Choose a kit based on the products it provides. There are some great beginner kits if you just want to do a basic car makeover, and there are kits with more advanced cleaning products for a more thorough wash, wax, and shine.
Q: Should I get a car wash kit?
Absolutely. Since the items are bundled, you’re likely to save some money. They provide most, if not all of the essentials you need to make your car shine.
Our Top Pick
We recommend the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit. It's a comprehensive kit that also keeps your budget in check. It includes car wash soap, scratch remover, and wax to clean the exterior. It also has glass and surface cleaner and a spray protectant that's great for everything from the dashboard and door panels to the tires and trim.
While the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit is an excellent all-around car wash kit, consider the House Day Two-in-One Car Wash Set if you want to save a little money. Its multiple mop heads make cleaning vehicles affordable and easy.