Homemade Car Detergent

by Jamie Conrad

From gasoline to insurance to tires, car ownership can be very expensive. There is also the added expense of making your car look and smell nice. Air fresheners, seat covers, tire cleaners, car wax, even the car wash soap itself can cost an arm and a leg. What you may not know is that you can easily (and inexpensively) create many car care products yourself. These products cost less and work just as well, giving you peace of mind knowing that both your car and budget are in good shape.

Basic Car Soap

All you need for a clean car is really a good soap and water wash. This is easily accomplished using simple products you probably already have in your home. Dish detergent does a great job of cleaning your dishes, and will do the same for your car. Laundry detergent is another gentle cleanser excellent for car use. Both liquid and powder laundry detergents are good for car washing, as both need to be diluted and mixed with water before use on a car anyway. For a simple basic car soap, try combining 1 cup liquid dish detergent and 12 tbsp. powdered laundry detergent in a bucket of water, then wash and rinse as usual (see Reference 1).

Greener Cleaner

For those who are a little more concerned with the enviroment, there are even green ways to clean your car. Castile soap is a vegetable oil-based soap made of natural, environmentally friendly ingredients. This soap is safe for use around plants and animals, and is biodegradable so as not to pollute water supplies. To green-clean your ride, try a simple mix of 1 tbsp. castile soap with a bucketful of warm water. Wash and dry your car as usual. Castile soap may leave a slight residue behind, but this is easily cleared away when you go over your car with a chamois cloth (see Reference 2).

Homemade Car Extras

Sometimes you want to go the extra mile and give your car extra attention to keep it looking its best. Car wax and tire cleaner can be made at home, too. For car wax, slowly heat 4 tbsp. carnuba wax, 2 tbsp. beeswax, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1 cup linseed oil in a saucepan, then transfer to a heat-resistant container to cool before use. For homemade tire cleaner, combine 1/4 cup borax, 1/4 cup lemon oil, 1 tsp. castile soap in a spray bottle, then fill the bottle the rest of the way up with water. Spray on and clean tires as usual (see Reference 1).

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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