View Full Version : How to mix your car wash solution

Mike Phillips
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:56 PM
How to quickly, easily and accurately mix your car wash solution (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25261)

You know, when it comes to washing our cars, we know most people don't measure their car wash soap because they don't have a system to measure the car wash solution for their wash water bucket.

So what most people do is fill their bucket with water and then remove the lid from their car wash solution and start pouring car wash into their bucket of water like this,

Glug, glug, glug glug glub...

Their system relies on the Guesstimation Technique.

Am I right? http://www.showcargarage.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

(Yeah I'm right)

Most serious enthusiasts use a 3-5 gallon bucket of water for their car wash solution, with most people using some type of 5-Gallon bucket with anywhere from 4 gallons of water to 5 gallons of water in the bucket.

Just a guess but probably pretty accurate as far as serious enthusiasts are concerned.

The KISS system
Everyone's always talking about the KISS philosophy, well here it is applied to washing your car. This is a Bubba-proof method of measuring your, Car Wash Solution to Water ratio using inexpensive common household items you probably already own and have lying around the house.

First, you need to read the directions for the car wash solution you use and find out what the manufacture recommends for product usage. In this example, we're using Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash and Shampoo (http://www.meguiars.com/?car-washes/Gold-Class-Car-Wash-Shampoo-Conditioner) and according to the back label, they recommend using,

1 ounce of car wash solution per gallon of water.


Old Style Math
This means if you're going to fill a 5-Gallon bucket with approximately 5 gallons of water you're going to want to add 5 ounces of car wash.

Developing a Repeatable Routine
The idea with mundane simple tasks is to make it easy on yourself to do the task quickly and easily without any obstacles or hassles. So what you need is a system approach.

The Dixie Cup Method
To make things fast and easy each time you want to wash one of your cars or one of your customer's cars, and to insure you don't use to little or too much car wash soap, use a Dixie cup or some similar plastic cup to pour your car wash soap into and measure out just the right amount of soap.

What to do
Use an ordinary kitchen measuring cup to measure out 5 ounces of water, and then pour this water into a 16 ounce Dixie cup.

Next, carefully marked the inside of the cup in a couple of places where the water level filled to with a permanent black marker and then pour the water out and finish drawing a line around the inside of the cup to match the marks you made.


This will enable you to simply pour the car wash solution out of the car wash bottle and into the Dixie cup until it fills to the mark you've made inside the cup.


Quick, simple and accurate.

Next, simply pour the car wash solution to the water... note the bucket is contains about 4.5 gallons of water.


Because car wash solutions like the Gold Class Car Wash and Shampoo are very thick in their consistency, in order to remove all of the car wash out of the cup and into your bucket of water so as not to waste any car wash and to leave your Dixie cup rinsed, clean, (not coated with car wash solution), and ready to put away, dip the Dixie cup into the bucket of water and swish it around.


Then after swishing it around, pour the water/soap solution back into the bucket...


When you're through, you can store the Dixie cup and use it again the next time you wash your car.


You can store your Dixie cup upside down over the top of a jug of car wash to help prevent dirt from accumulating in the cup. Be sure to rinse the cup out before using it again for future washings. You can never be too careful.

Now we're ready to wash any car using the 2-Bucket Method with one bucket filled with clear, clean rinse water and the other bucket filled with our car wash and water solution mixed at the correct dilution level.


Here's a little insight...

Fill your soap solution bucket with water first and then add the soap and mix it around with your hand. Why? If you measure out enough soap for 4-5 gallons of water, then you need 4-5 gallons of water to dilute the soap into, follow me?

If you pour the soap into the bottom of an empty bucket and blast it with water, you will get a bucket with about 1-2 gallons of water and the rest will be suds. Now your dilution levels are all whacked-out and you're using too strong of a soap solution.

The goal is to have a full bucket of water with the soap equally dispersed into the water. If you can accomplish this, you can easily create suds after the fact with a quick blast of water or by using your fingers to agitate the soapy water.

Hope this helps to some level...


Ivan Rajic
Jul 9th, 2008, 04:28 PM
Very good info Mike! And I know many many people using the guesstimation method haha

What I do is fill about 4-5 8oz. dispenser bottles full of GC wash, then simply add half of it to a 5 gallon bucket with about 4 or so gallons of water... every 7-8 washes I just grab all 4-5 bottles and re-fill them.

Jul 9th, 2008, 04:35 PM
2 other ideas that involve buying measuring devices....

If you use the Professional or Detailing Line soaps, the hand pumps put out one ounce per pump.

I have also purchased some very nice plastic 8oz measuring cups from a Bed, Bath, and Beyond type store. (Watch out for the Beyond section....)

Jul 9th, 2008, 04:53 PM
I thought each 'glug' was an ounce?!?! :chuckle1

My local Sherwin-Williams Automotive has mixing cups that work great for measuring too. They come in different sizes, I like the 8 oz ones. They are about $0.29 each so it's not a big deal if you lose it. I just keep one in my wash bucket at all times.


Jul 9th, 2008, 05:18 PM
i still think meguiars should have a cup cap 1oz. on their car washes.take the cap off fill it up and,you got 1oz. right then and there.

Jul 9th, 2008, 05:30 PM
:DI use an old baby bottle.

Jul 9th, 2008, 05:32 PM
I thought each 'glug' was an ounce?!?! :chuckle1


Jul 9th, 2008, 05:35 PM
i still think meguiars should have a cup cap 1oz. on their car washes.take the cap off fill it up and,you got 1oz. right then and there.

I agree. That would make it real simple. The detachable measuring cap on a Roundup bottle, is graduated in 2, 4, 6, & 8 oz. So when my roundup is gone I know where the measuring lid is going. I will wash it out, into my wash bucket it goes.


Jul 9th, 2008, 06:23 PM
I use the Dixie cup method as well at work! At home though I have a little measuring cup I have for all my solutions.

Jul 9th, 2008, 06:23 PM
I thought a glug was bubba proof .:scratchhead1

Jul 9th, 2008, 06:27 PM
I think if you have kids, you can use one of those plastic cups that the baby food comes in or a fruit cup. I think they are 4 oz. if you fill it to the brim...

Jul 9th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Guilty of blasting the bucket leaving tons of suds.

(Slaps wrist.)

Mark McGuire
Jul 10th, 2008, 01:27 AM
My wife uses liquid laundry detergent that comes with the measuring cap. When they are empty I just wash them out real good, pour in soap, and label it. Then you have a container, measuring cap, that work together and you don't lose anything. When you are through washing the container goes into the bucket for the next time you wash.:thinking1

Jul 10th, 2008, 01:35 AM
This is a very useful topic, ever since I've been cleaning cars I have always glugged in a good amount of soap then blasted the water in the bucket, suds over flowing. I use either NXT or Hyper wash, usually far too strong judging by the pictures, so is this stripping the wax off my finish or am I just wasting shampoo in the process?

Jul 10th, 2008, 01:39 AM
But don't u guys find it hard to wash car if not enough suds?? By pouring water first then car shampoo,i belief the mixture is more of a watery shampoo without suds :scratchhead1

J. A. Michaels
Jul 10th, 2008, 02:46 AM
At our wal-mart, they have plastic measuring cups. I believe they were $0.89. It is clearly marked out in ounces. I just go over the 4 ounce line and it is a good ratio.

Jul 10th, 2008, 08:23 AM
Good topic and info.

I useally put one ounce of product in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket then fill with water and I get one gallon of water with suds up to the top.

I have tried putting in 3 gallons of water then add 3 ounces of car wash and swirl around but got no suds and resulting wash was not as good.

Next time will try adding 3 gallons of water then 3 ounces of wash then blast it with sprayer to activate more suds to see if it works better

> I could see where the extra water would provide better lubrication and cleaning.

Jul 10th, 2008, 10:32 AM
I found some buckets at Home Depot that have the measurements on the side, so I can easily see how much water I have. I also picked up a cheap measuring cup at WalMart. I tried using the Dixie cup method, but this is easier, for me. :) The HD buckets also fit the GritGuard, but unlike the standard white buckets, the guard falls out when I rinse the bucket out.

Jul 10th, 2008, 12:13 PM
I like the suds/foam to cling, so I know my soap, and thus lubrication, isn't all running off.

But other than that, lots of suds don't serve a major purpose. The agitation from the mitt is going to do a lot more than the little foaming action to remove dirt.

Mr Mustang
Jul 10th, 2008, 01:10 PM
that's a great tip!

Jul 24th, 2008, 08:58 AM
Simple and accurate i love it!

Oct 19th, 2008, 01:37 PM
Just found this thread, didn't ever expect so many comments about putting soap into water!

Anyhow, I'm a glugger myself. I put about 1.5 glugs of Gold Class wash into my bucket and then fill with warm water.

For the precise types, a shot glass is 1oz exactly. Easy enough. I also use a shot glass when cooking, it comes in very handy. There are some at Bed, Bath and Beyond that have different cooking measurements marked on side. Highly recommend this item, your wives might even think you were thinking of them when you bought it!

Mike Phillips
Mar 6th, 2009, 03:01 PM
Simple and accurate i love it!

And that was the goal...



Mar 6th, 2009, 05:13 PM

My wife buys me those cheapo plastic measuring cups for less than a buck at Walmart and I keep a couple around in case I break one, she don't want me using her glass ones, don't know why........:D

Maserati Mario
Mar 6th, 2009, 05:34 PM
I've had this around the garage for a while and finaly found a use for it!
(the shot glass not the soap!)

Jun 28th, 2009, 11:40 PM
I don't know how long they've been doing this, but on the back of their Deep Crystal car wash solutions, Meguiars makes it known that four capfuls equals 1 oz. Since it's 1 oz. per gallon, I just measure 20 capfuls into a dixie cup, mark the point and have it added to 5 gallons of water. If I can't find the cup, I just measure out 20 capfuls into the 5 gallons of water.

Garage Troll
Jul 4th, 2009, 06:03 AM
Their system relies on the Guesstimation Technique.

Guilty as charged:nervous1

Golly this site has so much great info. I'm learning so much new stuff.

Mike, this is why I use your companies products, because you guys care about the car enthusiast.:goodjob1

I love those bucket you have too. I use the 2 bucket method already but mine don't have grit guards.

Jul 4th, 2009, 11:44 AM
I saw the video of Mike detailing the Mini Cooper before I knew all about Meguiar's and didn't realize he was one of the Meguiar's guys. Unfortunately for Meguiar's he is now working at Auto Geek if I remember correctly, but he luckily still has an account on here and comes around.

I measured 4 gallons of water into the buckets from Grit Guard (right below that piece where the wire handles connect to the bucket) and use 4 ounces of solution.

That video is what got me interested in properly detailing my truck.

Jul 10th, 2009, 07:23 AM
I use a similar method, but I cut the top off a clear plastic soda bottle, Easier to see the marks I made.

rusty bumper
Jul 10th, 2009, 09:30 AM
Let's not forget the marked dose cups that come with medicine bottles. I like the ones on top of Pepto-Bismal. I take a black marker and mark off the 1oz. line.

The other ideas sounded great too.

Jan 24th, 2011, 08:33 AM
Why not do like the liquid Laundry detergent people do?
Supply a container with measuring cap and tap?

Feb 23rd, 2011, 01:15 PM
I can't remember where I saw this? (medicine bottle, maybe?) All you had to do was squeeze the bottle. It had a pre-measured area at the top so when it was full you just poured it out. Very handy.

Feb 23rd, 2011, 01:17 PM
:worship A most excellent idea!
Why not do like the liquid Laundry detergent people do?
Supply a container with measuring cap and tap?

May 30th, 2011, 09:01 PM
:worship A most excellent idea!

Makes sense. I just use a measuring cup myself. Very easy.

Jun 12th, 2011, 03:47 PM
Why not just put a 1oz pump on the bottle so you just pump it directly into the bucket ;) You can pick them up at any Janitorial supply shop or industial supplies shope, likely some automotive chains etc. K.I.S.S. Still I haven't read the ratio suggestions for some time, I've been under soaping somewhat. Then I need to check how many gallons my wash bucket holds.


Jun 12th, 2011, 09:21 PM
This post and the videos on this website has changed the way I look at car care. This simple step made my car washing so much easier. I used to put soap and then water never measured. I was always having to refill the bucket now I have enough soapy water.

Just wanted to say thanks the time you but into this helped me out.

Jun 14th, 2011, 10:32 AM
I have the meguiars soft gel wash, and it says 1 oz(4 cap fulls)

Jun 14th, 2011, 11:15 AM
2 glugs in a 5gal bucket works for me, didn't think washing the car was rocket science :poke :D:D:D

Jun 14th, 2011, 11:18 AM
Welllll it isn't rocket science, but as long as you're using a car soap it doesn't matter, some people grab dish soap which has extra chemicals in it that might strip the wax off the car and do harm over time that isn't going to be good for the paint.

Jun 14th, 2011, 11:37 AM
I have the meguiars soft gel wash, and it says 1 oz(4 cap fulls)

That's the standard measure per Gallon for pretty much all of their car washing products. 1 oz per gallon of water, usually a single gallon isn't enough to wash a car unless it's the very small ones.:poke

The Dodge
Jun 28th, 2011, 09:59 AM

Where do you get these buckets. . . . . .I WANT ONE!!!:worship

"Where do you get these buckets. . . . . .I WANT ONE!!!". . . . .I found them on Autogeek!!

Oct 19th, 2011, 03:00 PM
The "wonder cup" from Milmour is a great measuring cup for this. the measurements are all printed on a clear plastic cylider with no top or bottom. There is a plunger that fits snugly in the cylinder. You move the plunger to the amount you want (it has oz, tsp, tbsp, cups, ml, etc) fill it then when you go to pour you push the plunger to get all the product out. If i want 4oz, i set it at 5 then fill to the 1 oz mark so that i am not trying to fill to the very top

Amazon has it


Oct 30th, 2011, 03:16 PM
Slightly off topic but storing anything near a hot water tank is not a good idea - kind of funny the statement below the picture says YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL!!!

Jul 21st, 2012, 02:21 PM
No more glut glut for me. I think I will use a laundry detergent cap.

Oct 2nd, 2017, 01:26 PM
I thought each 'glug' was an ounce?!?! :chuckle1

My local Sherwin-Williams Automotive has mixing cups that work great for measuring too. They come in different sizes, I like the 8 oz ones. They are about $0.29 each so it's not a big deal if you lose it. I just keep one in my wash bucket at all times.


This just made my day!!! :lolol: