Best pH Neutral Car Shampoos [UK Guide]

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Whether you’re a beginner or well-versed detailer, car shampoo is the essential cleaning product. You might have heard the rage about pH neutral car shampoos but will be left wondering which ones are the best.

Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together this guide with our recommended products for every use, from pressure washers to hard-water areas.

Quick Summary

In a rush? Here’s a quick look at our top picks. Keep reading below for our full reviews of each product and some additional recommendations.

  • Forms a water repellent barrier
  • Cherry fragrance
  • Available in several sizes from 500ml-2L
  • Excellent price per ml
  • Creates rich suds for an easy clean
  • Uses biodegradable detergents
  • Trusted brand by detailers and enthusiasts
  • Suitable for pressure washers or foam gun
  • Shiny streak-free finish.
  • Only available in 500ml

Why Use a pH Neutral Car Shampoo?

A well-formulated car shampoo will still allow for an effective wash whilst providing the benefits of a pH-balanced formula.

Any solution with a neutral pH number (7 on the pH scale) is considered to be very safe. Water and human skin are both around this level.

The main reason for using a pH neutral shampoo is to prevent any layers of wax that have previously been applied from being stripped away with the dirt.

It means you don’t need to wax your vehicle after every wash. This also applies if you’ve used a ceramic coating as opposed to wax.

Best pH Neutral Car Shampoos

Here are the best pH neutral car shampoos:

Below I have given some more information about each product recommended here.

Best Overall: Autoglym Bodywork

Creates water repellent barrier
Most affordable per litre
Cherry fragrance

Dilution: 2 caps per wash // Price (per Litre): £

Autoglym’s Bodywork shampoo is my top pick, and I’m not alone in spotting its excellent cleaning properties. The formula has extra ingredients which form a water repellent barrier and help with rinsing.

As well as being my favourite pH neutral shampoo for cars, it’s also one of the most affordable and comes out cheaper per litre than all of the others here.

Available as 500ml, 1L or the biggest 2L which will keep you going for a while.

Runner Up: Meguiars Gold Class

Contains a rich paint conditioner
Biodegradable detergents
Lots of suds
Requires quite a lot of formula per wash

Dilution: 5 to 1 mix ratio // Price (per Litre): ££

Gold Class is Meguiars premium car shampoo formula that has been designed to both clean and condition your vehicle in one go.

The shampoo creates lots of rich suds that allow the wash mitt to glide over the surface and make for an easy clean.

It uses biodegradable detergents, and its pH neutral formula won’t affect any wax on the vehicle.

The conditioner in the formula is designed to leave the paintwork looking radiant after use whilst the odour is very similar to aftershave. It’s available as 473ml or 1800ml.

Best for Pressure Washer: Chemical Guys – Mr Pink

Plenty of long lasting suds
Works well with pressure washer
Leaves a shiny, streak free finish
Only comes in a smaller bottle

Dilution: 1-3oz per 5 gallon bucket // Price (per Litre): ££

Chemical Guys has a huge range of car shampoos for different uses including Mr Pink which is a pH neutral formula for a gentle wash that doesn’t wash off wax.

It’s a slick formula that minimises any risk of scratches during washing and leaves a shiny streak free finish.

This product foams up really well and is also suitable for use with pressure washers or foam gun.

Unfortunately, it only comes in a 500ml bottle at the moment, but this should still cover you for up to 20 washes.

Best for Professionals: Auto Finesse Lather Car Shampoo

High foam
Long lasting suds
Used by professionals
Lower concentrate – requires more formula per wash
Most expensive per litre

Dilution: 2-4 caps per bucket // Price (per Litre): £££

It is high foaming which tackles the dirt and ensures minimal resistance with the wash mitt for a quick clean.

It comes in a 500ml bottle, despite manufacturers claims of being highly concentrated, it requires about 2-4 capfuls per wash which is more than others shared here. It’s also the most expensive per litre.

But is it worth the extra cost? Well that would seem to be a big yes as it’s the preferred choice by many professional detailers.

It is pH balanced with no wax or gloss enhancers so will leave a pure finish with your wax intact.

Best for Hard Water: Meguiars NXT Generation

Softeners in the formula ideal for hard water
Tropical scent
Takes a lot of water for rinsing

Dilution: 1oz per gallon of water // Price (per Litre): ££

Another Meguiars product, this time is the NXT Generation which is a car shampoo designed for hard water areas due to the added softeners.

Hard water is known for leaving more water spots than softer water areas so a shampoo that can reduce this is a must-have for many.

The formula is still pH neutral so won’t strip off your wax. This is also a key factor in hard water areas as the wax makes water spots easier to remove.

The shampoo has a tropical scent  but keep in mind that it does take a fair amount of water to rinse off. 

Can I Use Washing Up Liquid to Wash My Car?

No, washing up liquid has been designed to remove dirt and grease from the ceramic and stainless steel found in your kitchen.

For this reason, it tends to be more alkaline in order to tackle this tougher dirt so you should not use washing up liquid on cars.

By contrast, your cars surface usually has a clear coat which is a thin plastic over the paint. A good car shampoo has been designed specifically for use on this.

I wrote a dedicated article about using household products on your vehicle.

Is Meguiars Car Shampoo pH Neutral?

Yes, all of Meguiars car shampoos are pH neutral. This includes the two above, Meguiars Gold Class and NXT Generation, as well as their Ultimate Wash and Wax.

However, their broader range isn’t always pH neutral, so watch out if you are buying any all-purpose cleaners or sprays.