Is it okay to wash my car with Dawn dish soap?

I was planning on washing my car this weekend, but I just realized I don’t have any car wash soap. I do, however, have a bottle of Dawn and was wondering if I could use that. Is it okay to wash my car with Dawn dish soap?

Andrew Biro · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
The short answer is no, it is not okay to wash your car with Dawn dish soap—or any dish soap, for that matter—as you could potentially strip your vehicle’s clear coat or even damage your car’s paint job.
Despite Dawn dish soap’s reputation as a gentle, mild cleaning solution, it is still considered abrasive—something you never want to hear when it comes to car washing solutions. This is largely due to the fact that it is not formulated for use on cars or a car’s paint like actual car wash soap is.
For this reason, it is always recommended that you use an actual car wash solution manufactured by companies like Meguiar’s or Chemical Guys if you plan on washing your car at home.
Alternatively, you could also take your car to a self-service car wash and clean your car there—that way you’ll have access to the right tools and products to clean your car properly.
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MORE: How to wash a car at home
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