Mythbusting Wash & Wax Shampoos + Review of Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax
Wash and Shine, Wash and Wax, Wash and Gloss, car shampoos these days are marketed not only to clean your vehicle but also to enhance the gloss or add some form of protection to the paint. However, do they really do that? Do Wash & Wax shampoos actually add something to the finish and negate the need to wax a car?Or are they pure marketing BS? I attempt to find out to these questions by comparing several Wash & Wax and non-Wash & Wax shampoos. I also review Meguiar’s new Ultimate Wash & Wax.
So the test panel will be used to test the shampoos. To prep the panel, I polished it with Meguiar’s #83 Dual-Action Cleaner/Polish via rotary @ 1500rpm to remove any old waxes and clean the paint at the same time. This is followed with a strong All Purpose Cleaner wash to remove polish residues and oils.
Here’s how water behaves on the clean panel.
The shampoos will be tested and evaluated on three aspects:
1) Sheeting ability
2) Beading ability
3) Foaming ability
Sheeting ability is tested because if the shampoo really ‘waxes’ the surface, then there should be higher surface tension, causing water to be repelled off the paint faster.
I evaluate on beading ability because some shampoos show pictures of water beading on the product package, indicating the shampoo being able to bead water off the surface. So I will try to see if it’s FO REAL!
Foaming ability is tested because certain wash and wax shampoos do not foam much at all and makes you feel like washing the car with water. I speculate that there will be a compromise between foaming ability and beading/sheeting ability. Enough talk, let’s jump to the pics!
Panels will be rinsed with a gentle splash of water and foaming ability is tested through the foam gun.
First up, Optimum Car Wash(Note: this is NOT the No-Rinse). About 16ml of shampoo is mixed with 500ml of water.
Washed with a small sponge, and left for 20 seconds before rinsing off.
After rinsing, Optimum Car Wash will sheet off water faster than the control area. Please note that this test is flawed because the shampoo will also spill to the control area(right side of the panel), so that might affect the results too. Do take the results with about 200grams of salt.
To test beading ability, clean water is sprayed from an atomizing chemical resistant spray head.
Not much difference between washed and control.
Foaming ability is tested through the foam gun set at the maximum shampoo to water ratio.
Foams really well!
Next up, Zaino Z7 Car Wash. Before I perform the test, I rewash the panel with Osren Multi Clean(no picture).
Note @ ‘Contains polish’
Same method is used.
Sheeting is faster than control area, but no improved beading too.
Foams well, just like Opt car wash.
3rd shampoo, Duragloss 901.
Note @ ‘Formulated to polish and shine as it cleans’
Similar product description to Zaino Z7, can we expect the same results? We shall see…
Surprisingly, it does not sheet faster than the control area. Again, do take this result with a pinch of salt.
Beading wise, not significantly better than the control area.
Foams well though…
4th shampoo, ArmorAll Ultra Shine Wash & Wax. Now this product should be interesting, just look at the packaging!
A miracle shampoo??
Sheeting is way faster than control! Way to go ArmorAll!
Will it bead water???
Sorry mate, no beads there.
Foams well, although a little bit lacking compared to the previous shampoos.
Next, Malco Ultra Violet Wash & Wax Shampoo.
The interesting this about this shampoo is it’s dilution ratio, 1:20. Yup, you read that right, 1:20, not the common 1:128(1oz. per gallon) ratio. Let’s see how it fares…
It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it does significantly sheet water away faster.
I think this shampoo does leave something behind and will bead water. Albeit the beads won’t match any wax or even oils from a polish, but they do appear rounder than the beads on the control area.
Foams well, akin to ArmorAll Wash & Wax.
Next is the highly anticipated Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax.
The key difference is dispersed wax technology. While other Wash & Waxes appear translucent, Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax is opaque, and it would not separate into two different layers; unlike certain Wash & Gloss shampoos out there.
Sad to say, there was no difference in water sheeting between the washed area and control.
No water beading either.
The suds however, are wonderful!
Next we move to shampoos that are reported not to generate much suds.
First, we have Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner.
Note @ ‘water repellent barrier’
Water sheeting is faster than control area.
Water beading is slightly better than control.
Things are looking good for this shampoo, BUT, foaming ability is almost zero!
Next, we have Carmate KK129 Shampoo with Wax. I bought this from Autobacs in Singapore after constantly fantasizing about other Carmate products since I was so impressed with their Black Resin Restore. Hoping this product will deliver and out-of-the-norm result.
I’m not sure if this product has past it’s shelf-life date, because it smells like old rotten eggs! Remember that strong sulphur smell in the chemistry lab? Verrry smelly.
There was a little faster sheeting action from the washed side, but not significantly faster when compared to other shampoos.
Water beading again, did not exist, another empty promise from the product packaging.
The next shampoo caught my attention greatly. It is not an OTC product nor is it a boutique online product, but something used by Rainaway detailing centres. You might recall that I’m testing Rainaway’s Nanocoat(paint sealant), testing has been extended due to ‘questionable’ results from my first attempt(shhhh). This shampoo hasn’t been launched yet but it is used as a maintenance shampoo for cars protected with Rainaway Nanocoat.
When a Rainaway agent first showed me the shampoo being used on a car, I was amazed at the water beading and sheeting ability. Water behavior was almost the same as a freshly waxed surface! I took out my Carmate, Autoglym and Meg’s Ultimate Wash & Wax shampoo to try it on the same panel, but couldn’t match the result of the Rainaway Maintenance Shampoo. At that time, I was thinking to myself, “Man, this has to be a shampoo from another galaxy that aliens use to wash their spaceships”.
So of course, I begged on two knees to request for some to try.(just kidding)
Here is the water behaviour before washing, as usual, clean low surface tension paint.
I didn’t test it with the foam gun, but it doesn’t foam much either, just like Autoglym BSC and Carmate KK129.
On my first wash using the shampoo diluted with water, I didn’t see the results that the Rainaway agent showed me that day.
So I followed his method of pouring the shampoo directly on the sponge and washed the panel with it.
Now we are getting somewhere, but still nowhere near to what I originally saw. So I poured some directly onto the panel and spread it with my hand.
Now we get to see some relatively strong sheeting action.
Water will immediately sheet as I sweep my nozzle from left to right quickly.
But still, it wouldn’t repel water on contact, as compared to this area that is coated with Rainaway Nanocoat Premium.
Here’s water beading from Rainaway Maintenance Shampoo. The strongest out of all the other shampoos tested.
What confused me was even when I applied the shampoo directly to the panel, I could not replicate the result that I saw. One possible reason is the panel that he showed me on already had some form of protection on it, so the shampoo could easily increase the paint surface tension; greatly increasing water sheeting and beading ability.
However, on my test panel, I would estimate that I only managed to replicate 50-60% of what I originally saw. This would indicate that Wash & Wax shampoos are not meant to replace good old fashioned wax.
Notice that there is a compromise between sheeting ability and foaming. If we compare Optimum Car Wash to Malco Ultra Violet(MUV), MUV will sheet better and produce the same amount of suds compared to Optimum car wash, but it has a dilution ratio of 1:20. ArmorAll sheets water as well as MUV, but sacrifices a little bit in terms of foaming ability. Autoglym BSC sheets water the best compared to the rest but totally lacks foaming ability.
Now you may look at the table and radar above and conclude that Meguiar’s new Ultimate Wash & Wax is rubbish. But let’s remind ourselves that shampoos shouldn’t be judged only from those three aspects. A few other things makes a shampoo good, such as lubrication, cleaning ability, improved gloss, not leaving water spots, gentleness on applied wax/sealant and post-wash slickness.
Meguiar’s also do not have a history of relating water beading to protection. I remembered reading a statement on Meguiar’s Online stating something like, ‘Gold Class wax may not be beading water anymore, but it is still there protecting the paint’. Only as of late, they start emphasizing on water beading due to their new Hydrophobic Polymer Technology.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax also does not state on the packaging that it contains its Hydrophobic Polymer Technology, so I may not be looking for the things that Meguiar’s want me to look for in its new shampoo.
Being a Meguiar’s fan, I’m going to defend it!
So I will be using it on my daily driver. The car isn’t very dirty, just your average road grime and traffic film.
Before pictures of the car.
Measuring 5 ounces(150ml) of Ultimate Wash & Wax for 5 gallons of water.
As shown in during the test panel wash, it suds very nicely!
Here’s the bonnet before washing.
Half of the bonnet being washed with a Lake Country Big Blue sponge.
At the end of the wash, the suds were still strong in the bucket.
Water beading was maintained.
Carmate Black Resin Restore still going strong three months after application.
Car is dried using an Autoglym Aqua Dry Synthetic Chamois, leaving a clean glossy shine behind.
My conclusion about Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax, very sudsy, very lubricated, good cleaning power on protected paintwork and *maintains* water repellency. The keyword is maintain, it would not create better water beading, but at the same time, wouldn’t kill beading unlike Meguiar’s NXT shampoo; which from my previous experience, can be harsh on LSPs(last step product). I also noticed my hands had a waxy feeling after washing and drying the car. The paint also felt slicker, not sure if it’s due to the waxy hand feeling or Ultimate Wash & Wax doing its thing. Either way, at a price range that matches other non-OTC shampoos, I say this is a keeper. Definitely a good shampoo if you lower your expectations. Oh, it smells like yummy mango milkshake!
So, what about other Wash & Wax shampoos? Are they a time-saver for the consumer or a cash cow for the companies selling them?
Personally, I do not feel they are a necessary product category for the aware detailer. Non-wash&wax shampoos work just as well on well protected paintwork. Wash & Wax shampoos definitely will NOT replace conventional waxing. You may get good water sheeting from shampoos such as Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, but the lack of suds may put users off as it makes you feel like you are washing with water. Don’t expect the paint to bead water on its own because the bottle has a picture of water beads on it. It may help to maintain your current water beading better than non-wash&wax shampoos, but don’t expect to get beading like the picture below.
If you want the (possible)slickness from a wash & wax shampoo, why not use a spray detailer or spray wax after drying the car? It won’t take more than 5 minutes and the benefits will beat any wash & wax shampoo.
For me, I am happy with using regular shampoos, but sometimes, change is nice. It’s also fun to have the placebo effect play with your mind, “after using this Wash & Wax, I can delay waxing for another month! Wheeee!” Pardon my insanity, it’s 2.10am, this write-up is taking longer than I thought, lol.
That’s it brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties, hope you liked this post. Thanks for looking and will appreciate a comment, good or bad.
I remember seeing this brand Osren orange something something. It was so mild someone used it to foam up his kids swimming bath and they were playing in the foam just to prove the point.
Any comments on that?
And how much is the Meg shampoo? Sure more exp than my Jusco shampoo.
Hmmm, not sure about an Osren shampoo named orange something. But they have a shampoo that is orange in colour named Bubble n' Wax. Yup it is a mild shampoo, I use it for my weekly washes. Very cheap also. RM35/4litres or RM80/20litres.
The Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax shampoo costs USD 12.99. I also got taxed for that shipment, so the total price including shipping for me was RM72.75, this is for 48 oz., a smaller size compared to their usual 64 oz. (half gallon) bottles.Purchased it from Autogeek, http://autogeek.net/meguiars-ultimate-wash-wax.html
Thanks for the great writeup Ken. Was planning to get them but seeing the results, I'll pass.
ps: your writeups are getting more and more exciting man!
Thanks Tim. I posted the review of Meg's UW&W over on MOL. Mark Kleiss commented that he noticed a change of water behaviour after using UW&W on unwaxed cars. My observation and his are different. I will have to repeat the test with UW&W again to reconfirm. I can send you a small sample to try. If you'd like, you can email me your address or PM to me on Autoworld. 🙂
Aha, fishB the Mythbuster of Auto detailing. Another interesting article. 🙂
Haha thanks Jim!
Try some dawn liquid with the foam lance, interested to see the outcome. Tks!
Excellent article, keep up with the good work !
Greetings from Argentina
Wah Dawn, okay will use that if I need to strip off protection off a car, haha!
Thanks very much! 🙂
Let me know offline when you had dawned it… lolz. Btw, grab the HD wax offer, it's too good a deal to be miss… waiting patiently for more myths to be busted. ^_^
I am just curious. What is the paint thickness of your test car?
Hi Keefe, if I recall correctly, the last time I measured was about 80-90 microns. It should be thinner now since it has been compounded once and polished a few times.
Fishy mate, thanks for the offer. I'll call/sms/email ya if I really need some. Again appreciate the kind offer.
Timmy mate (^^),
Sure thing man, whenever you need it, it'll reach you before you can say *swissvaxzymolautoglymmeguiarsturtlewaxarmorallsoft99*
Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking
the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and
don’t manage to get anything done.