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The best shampoo

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It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: “what is the best shampoo”. Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth.

The general problem

When somebody asks what the best shampoo is, they are not letting other people know what they mean with “best”. A shampoo is developed with several characteristics in mind. It has to be slick, good soluble in water, good cleaning properties, wax/sealant-safe and several more. These properties can be very different between products and/or brands. In the question “What is the best shampoo”, it is nowhere specified if that person is looking for a shampoo that is very slick, if it just smells nice or if it is the least protection-affecting.
So it is almost impossible to give an answer.

What to keep in mind when you ask the question

Many detailers are searching for a certain product that offers good quality. This could mean that they are looking for a cheap product, one that smells good, etc. Before you ask the question which product is the best it is important to know what you are looking for. Are you looking for a wax that offers mainly gloss? Or is easy to buff off? Or one that offers as much gloss?

It is important to know what you are looking for, and to know that there will be cases in which 2 properties can not be combined. A shampoo that is really awesome at washing away stubborn grease can not be wax safe. Simply because you need a certain harshness to remove the grease, harshness that is more then the wax can handle. Even sealants are likely to be affected by this.

A list of things to consider

Here is a list of properties you might consider including in your question. These can be your own preferences, or just things you find important. This list is simply made to help you find out what you exactly want to ask, so you will get better answers that suit your search.

Shampoo

  • Dilution rate
  • Price
  • Size of the bottle
  • Smell and color
  • Suds
  • Cleans dirt
  • Slick
  • Water solubility
  • Can be used as snowfoam
  • Sheets easily
  • Wax safe
  • Sealant safe
  • PH neutral
  • Has gloss-enhancers
  • Leaves a layer of protection

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