More categories
More categories

Smart Shopper is reader supported. When you shop our picks, we may receive a commission.

The best car cleaning products to keep your vehicle bright & shiny

When it comes to keeping your ride spic and span, investing in the right car cleaning products can go a long way. See our top picks in this guide.

Published Jul 25, 2023
7 min. reading time
Car cleaning products hero image

With the right cleaning products, car care is a breeze. Investing in a few tools and supplies makes it a lot easier to wash your car, clean your vehicle’s interior and keep it looking great.

But what do you need in your car cleaning kit? Only the essentials, dear reader.

In this roundup, our editors highlight the best car cleaning products, tools and supplies to help you clean and maintain your car with less stress and fewer hassles.

That way, you can skip buying the nice-to-haves and cut straight to the must-buy products that will make your vehicle look like new.

Read more: Find your new iPhone charger cable here

Browse the best car cleaning products

Moso air purifer bags
Top product for eliminating odor
Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag (3-Pack)
$26.95 at Walmart
Photo: Walmart
Best for cleaning car interiors
CarGuys Super Cleaner
$27.04 at Walmart
Photo: AutoZone
Best glass cleaner
Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner Spray
$4.99 at AutoZone
Photo: AutoZone
Top car wax
Turtle Wax Wax and Dry Spray Wax
$8.99 at Autozone

Top product for eliminating odor

Pros & Cons
  • Long-lasting up to two years

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Covers a wide space up to 90 feet

  • Must remember to place it in sunlight for an hour once a month to ‘recharge’

  • May require some time to take effect

When you’re stocking up on car cleaning supplies, deodorizers can often go overlooked. But with the right car deodorizer, you can keep your vehicle smelling good and eliminate smells from food, pets, sweaty gym clothes and more. These air-purifying bags from Moso fit the bill perfectly. 

Unlike air fresheners that only cover up unpleasant scents, these bags contain activated charcoal. This absorbs nasty odors and locks them in place, giving you a fresher and more pleasant car interior. Each bag can last up to two years, so you’ll get long-lasting results.

Best for cleaning car interiors

Photo: Walmart

CarGuys Super Cleaner

You save -$24.97 (-1200.48%)
Pros & Cons
  • Cleans a multitude of surfaces

  • Adjustable nozzle

  • No leaks when bottle is closed

  • Doesn’t leave a residue

  • Higher price point

  • Some reviews state it can’t remove blue jeans stains

  • Can dry out leather and hands, so use gloves and apply a leather conditioner

If your car’s interior needs a little love, this car cleaner spray from Car Guys is a great choice. It’s perfect for any type of upholstery, including leather, synthetic leather and cloth seats. You can also use Car Guys Super Cleaner on plastic, rubber and any other surface in your vehicle. It won’t harm or damage any of your car’s interior surfaces, and you can use it on exterior components, too.

It also packs plenty of cleaning power. Whether you’re wiping up food spills, removing bird poop from your car’s windshield or scrubbing dirt and grime off the floor mats, Super Cleaner has what it takes to take on the toughest jobs. It’s definitely one of the best car cleaning products out there.

Best glass cleaner

Pros & Cons
  • Doesn’t leave streaks 

  • Glass is crystal clear after cleaning

  • Works on glass that hasn’t had any prior treatment

  • Some reviewers say it can leave a film

The best car cleaners for glass can power through tree sap, bug splatters, and bird droppings while providing a clean and streak-free shine. This glass cleaner spray from Invisible Glass has a unique ClearDry formulation that provides excellent cleaning power. It can remove oil, dirt, smudges, grime and everything else from your windshield and other automotive glass easily.

The aerosol spray bottle makes it convenient to spray an even coat of cleaner, and the glass cleaner evaporates quickly after cleaning. This means there won’t be any haze, streaks or other residue on your car glass. Your car will look great, and a clear view means that you’ll enjoy enhanced safety on the road, especially at night.

Pros & Cons
  • Can be applied when car is wet

  • Affordable price

  • Some reviews state the shine doesn’t last longer than a few days

One of the best clean car tips is to use car wax to seal your car’s paint once you’re done cleaning it. Auto wax helps fill in small scratches and other imperfections, making your car, truck or SUV look brand-new. It also helps protect your paint from road grime and water spots.

This car wax from Turtle Wax comes in a convenient spray bottle with a wide nozzle for an even coating. It’s also designed to be applied when your car is still wet, which means you don’t have to wait for it to dry after washing it. This simplifies the application process and makes it easier to keep your car clean.

Pros & Cons
  • Pleasant scent

  • Easy to use

  • Higher price point

Car shampoo is just another term for car soap, and Mr. Pink Super Suds from The Chemical Guys is one of the best car soaps out there. It provides tons of cleaning power while eliminating additives that can damage your car’s rubber or plastic parts. This car shampoo contains special polymers that help wipe away abrasive debris and leaves your car paint looking shiny and bright. 

It’s extremely sudsy, too. If you’re washing by hand, just use a garden hose to fill a three or five-gallon bucket, squirt a bit of Super Suds into it and mix well. You can also use this car shampoo with a pressure washer and a foam gun attachment to get the job done faster.

Pros & Cons
  • Long-lasting shine

  • Protects against cracks and fade

  • Easy to use

  • Some reviews mention a strong smell 

  • Some reviews mention it doesn’t dry quickly

Tires tend to wear down and look dull and dingy over time. They can even become discolored as the rubber ages. If you’re looking to refresh your tires, Ultimate Insane Shine Tire Coating from Meguair’s is the best car cleaner for tires that we’ve found. After application, this tire shine will bond with your tires for long-lasting results.

Application is simple, too. Just spray a bit of tire shine onto your tires, then use a microfiber cloth to spread it evenly. Make sure to wipe off any tire shine that you spray onto your wheels or paint. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes to ensure the best results.

Top product for spills

Pros & Cons
  • Can double up as a home cleaner

  • Can be used on different surfaces

  •  No chemical smell

  • Some reviews state streaks were visible

  • May not remove some stains, such as paint marks

Having a spray bottle of auto cleaner on hand to deal with spills is essential if you want to keep your car clean, particularly if you have kids or pets. Nonsense All Purpose Cleaner from Chemical Guys is the perfect cleaner to keep in your glove compartment or trunk to handle spills. It easily cleans up spills, and can remove dirt and stain from almost all surfaces.

Whether you’re cleaning up dog puke from your floor mats, ketchup from your upholstery or the aftermath of an accidental coffee spill, this all-purpose cleaner delivers great results. It can remove most stains, dirt and residue quickly. It’s fragrance-free, too.

Pros & Cons
  • Removes light and surface scratches

  • Gives car a like-new shine

  • Might not be efficient on deeper scratches

  • May need to be applied and buffed several times for it to work

Over time, scratches and swirls can build up on your car’s paint and make it look dull, especially if you use traditional drive-through car washes. If you want to eliminate swirls and scratches, this product from 3D One is the best car polish for the job. It combines a rubbing compound and finishing polish into a single product and it’s ideal for buffing away scratches.

For smaller areas, you can apply this car polish by hand with a microfiber towel or glove. But if you’re polishing a larger area of your car or your whole vehicle, it’s best to invest in a polisher or buffer attachment for a power drill.

Other car cleaning essentials

So, you’ve got your car shampoo, wax and other products. But what do you need to facilitate a great at-home wash? These are the essentials you’ll need.

Along with the right car cleaners, high-quality microfiber towels are one of the best car wash supplies that you can invest in. Microfiber towels won’t scratch your paint, and won’tleave behind any lint or fuzz. They’re also very absorbent, which makes it easy to dry your vehicle after cleaning it.

This 24-pack of microfiber cloths from HDX is great for cleaning your car. These towels are machine washable and reusable to reduce waste and are ideal for applying car shampoo, wax, buffing compound, and just about any other kind of car cleaner.

This bucket from Autocraft is perfect for your wash bucket kit. It features an ergonomic handle, a three-gallon capacity and a wide-mouth design for easy access. The spout makes it easy to pour out dirty water and refill it when it’s time to rinse your car.

It also features a ridged “washboard” which lets you remove some dirt and grime from your wash mitt or brush. The chemical-resistant plastic holds up well to car cleaning products and is thick enough to last for years to come.

The best car cleaner products are often the simplest. This microfiber wash mitt from Chemical Guys features hundreds of “noodles” that help trap dirt, road grime and other paint contaminants as you wash your vehicle. 

It also slips over your hand easily, letting you get into tight nooks and crannies on your car’s body. The microfiber design traps particles that could scratch your paint and also hold tons of suds. And once you’re done cleaning your car, you can toss this mitt in the washing machine along with your microfiber towels and clean it up to prepare for your next car wash.

Which car cleaning products get our vote?

You can use all of the above products to clean your car, and they’re all great choices. But if we had to narrow it down, we’d recommend that you at least pick up the three following best car cleaning products:

  • CarGuys Super Cleaner: CarGuys Super Cleaner is a great all-purpose car cleaning product. You can use it for both the interior and exterior of your car. And while it’s powerful enough to clean just about anything, it’s still gentle on your upholstery and paint.

  • Mr. Pink Super Suds Superior Surface Cleanser Car Wash Shampoo: This is the best product to wash cars, trucks and SUVs of all types. With tons of foaming power, exceptional cleaning strength and a gentle formulation, Mr. Pink Super Suds is perfect for washing any car.

  • Turtle Wax Wax and Dry Spray Wax: If you’re looking to keep your ride looking clean for longer, this is the best car cleaning product for you. With its simple one-step application and amazing results, this car wax from Turtle Wax is a fantastic investment for any car owner.

    Prices updated on 07/25/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Written by
Eric Liston

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Eric Liston is a freelance writer focusing on consumer product reviews, digital technology — and helping readers find the right items at the right price. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him gaming, cooking or disc golfing.

Specialized topics