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Can the Normal Car Shampoo Work in a Pressure Washer?

Now that you just got yourself a new pressure washer, you would be trying it out to clean various surfaces. Some of those surfaces would be your car. That being said, you would want to know what type of shampoo to use in the pressure washer for cleaning your car. 

It can be confusing sometimes if you are not sure which shampoo to use. It is the reason today we want to look at if it would be safe to use a normal car shampoo in a pressure washer. 

Pressure Washers and Car Shampoo

The first thing you have to understand is that pressure washers come with special detergent tanks. This means that these tanks can only be filled with specific detergent types. Using other types of detergents can often have some effects on the cleaning and performance of the pressure machine. 

Normal car shampoo is designed to simply be applied on the surface, rubbed in and then washed off. However, that is not how detergents work. Detergents will have to be diluted before being deposited into the tanks. This is all because of how the pressure washer applies the detergent to the surface. The machine picks the detergent in small amounts and then sprays it over the surface. Since most, if not all shampoo cannot be diluted, then it becomes hard to use the same in a pressure washer. 

As much as some people might dilute the shampoo, it is something that is not recommended. The shampoo would end up creating a lot of bubbles and make it hard for the pressure washer to work effectively just as you would have wanted. 

Even if sometimes you might see some special shampoo for a pressure washer, it is better to stick to detergents as they also work great and are easy to apply. 

The Pressure Washer and its Detergent Tank

It is worth noting that not all the pressure washers in the market will have a detergent tank. Some might not have it so making the whole discussion obsolete. Well, even if the model comes with a detergent tank, you have to still look at the recommended detergent to use. The manufacturer will always have this kind of information available to help you use the right detergent always. 

You have to understand that there are many cleaning agents in the market right now. All these cleaning agents are not created equal. Some might have harsh chemicals that will affect the performance of your pressure washer. It is the reason you have to stick to recommended types only. 

You still have to look at the size of the detergent tank. If the tank is small, then you would find it hard to keep on refilling with detergent all the time. This is especially when you have to clean large surfaces. Well, if it is a small surface, then a small detergent tank will just do fine. 

How a Pressure Washer Works with Detergent and Soap

Depending on the type of pressure washer, one can introduce the detergent to the water flow and the other does not. The one that introduces it into the water flow means that the detergent will have to go through the pump. This makes it crucial to use the right soap or detergent as some might affect the pump if they have strong chemicals. 

It is the reason most people would prefer the upstream injection type. With this one, you do not have to worry about the detergent going through the pump. It should keep it safe and working better for longer. 

Hot Water and Pressure Washer Detergent

Another thing you have to understand is that these pressure washers cannot always handle hot water. For a model to handle hot water, it has to be designed that way. As a result, some of the detergents will be good for cold water use while other for hot water use. It just goes on to show that you have to get the right detergent depending on the water you will be using. 


Well, you now have an idea on how detergents can affect the performance of a pressure washer. It is then important to always get the right detergent to avoid costly repairs later on. 

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