Bilt Hamber Auto Wash is one of the best car shampoos that I’ve tested and they delivered on their promises. They claim that the shampoo is highly concentrated and extremely effective at removing dirt from the car… well they weren’t wrong!
The recommended ratio of 5ml per 10L of water is insane, and I doubted that amount would work at first, but to my complete surprise, the foaming action was amazing for such a small quantity of shampoo and extremely cost-effective.
I would suggest that this shampoo is a no-gimmick product, it just does what it claims and does it extremely well. Cutting through road salts and dirt like a hot knife through butter, and rinsing off the paintwork like a dream leaving absolutely no residue.
Prepmycar Rating: 8.2 / 10
I struggled to think of any negatives in my Bilt Hamber Auto Wash review, but if I had to be picky, I would like it to have some kind of pleasant scent, but that, I suppose, is my personal preference.
The weather during my Bilt Hamber Auto Was Review was cold. It had been snowing the previous evening, however, during my wash, it was dry and clear and around 5 degrees Celsius.
Before commencing with the contact wash, I pre-washed the car with Bilt Hamber Auto-foam to remove any large particles of grit enabling me to carry out a safe contact wash without scratching the paintwork.
For my Bilt Hamber Auto Wash review I will be using a 20ltr bucket, so adjusting Bilt Hamber’s recommended ratio of 5ml per 10ltrs of water, I needed to use 10ml of Auto-wash for my 20ltr bucket.
I used a chenille wash mitt for the contact wash, which worked extremely well with the shampoo and seemed to hold the foam with ease whilst working over the panels.
The test subject being washed today is a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe in black and it hasn’t been washed for at least one month so is sufficiently dirty to carry out a real-world test of the shampoo. The car was covered in road salt as evident in the pictures.
I also used some Bilt Hamber Auto-wheels to remove any baked-on iron deposits from the alloy wheels, however, I decided to use Auto-wash in my wheel bucket to carry out the wheel wash as opposed to a dedicated wheel cleaner. I thought this would be a good test of its cleaning ability and as it contains corrosion inhibitors, this would be a benefit to the alloys.
So Auto-wash is free of any thickeners, waxes or corrosive salts which means that the shampoo is extremely easy to rinse from the car.
This doesn’t take away from the effectiveness of the product in any way whatsoever. Also, it contains anti-corrosive properties, meaning older cars or cars with stone chips will be protected from rust, which for me is a bonus from a car shampoo.
I filled my wash bucket halfway with fresh water, then added 10ml of Auto-wash and filled the rest of the bucket using my pressure washer which created a lovely amount of foamy suds.
Whilst I was washing the car, I couldn’t help but notice how slick and silky the shampoo felt, and for such a low dilution ratio this impressed me.
It cut through the road grime on the car with ease, and the suds seemed to stay within the bucket and didn’t disappear halfway through the wash which is a definite plus point.
Bilt Hamber Auto Wash dealt with the road salts well, removing all traces from the paintwork completely and my overall impressions of the shampoo are that it was a premium feeling shampoo to use with excellent cleaning ability.
I also decided to try and apply Auto Wash to the car via an IK pump foam sprayer to see if there were any benefits.
My snow foam bottle was 1.5ltrs so I added 5mls which should be more than enough when considering the dilution ratios recommended by Bilt Hamber.
Whilst the shampoo did work nicely and foam straight on to the bodywork, I found that each time I dipped my mitt into the rinse bucket and back onto the bodywork, the water loaded within the mitt just rinsed away any foamy suds that were sat on the paintwork. This also made the passes with the mitt feel less slick and there were very minimal suds during contact.
In my opinion, there is little benefit applying Bilt Hamber Auto Wash via a snow foam lance and in fact, it will reduce the cleaning power and the enjoyment of washing your car. I would leave the snow foam lance for its intended use on this occasion.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of suds produced from such a small amount of concentrate required. Auto Wash contains powerful surfactants that help to create a high foam level that helps to lift small particles of dirt away from the paintwork reducing the risk of scratching the paint.
I did try doubling up the ratio at first and adding 20mls to my 20ltr bucket, however, in my opinion, it didn’t increase the amount of foam produced or increase its cleaning power so I would recommend just sticking to Bilt Hamber’s recommended dilution ratios as otherwise you would be wasting the product.
I filled my wash bucket up with 20ltrs of freshwater before adding 10mls of Auto-foam and found that I had to give the bucket a good blast with the pressure washer to create the thick, foamy suds. However, when I filled my wheel bucket I added the Auto-wash before filling the bucket with water and found that this is the best way to create a lovely amount of foamy suds.
Being fair, I would suggest that Auto Wash doesn’t foam as well as some other brands because it only contains the necessary ingredients needed to clean the car and not thickeners and perfumes that could create a thicker shampoo. That said, there was still a pleasing amount of suds and I wasn’t disappointed whatsoever during the wash.
I would describe it as no-nonsense car shampoo, that doesn’t rely on gimmicks such as brightly coloured suds or smell like an aftershave, it just cleans and protects the car really well.
Ease of Use
Bilt Hamber Auto Wash is not a particularly viscous shampoo, with an almost water-like consistency. Luckily the 500ml bottle that I am using has a flip nozzle built into the cap so its very easy to pour out.
There is absolutely no smell to the shampoo whatsoever, which, if I am being honest, was a bit of a let down for me as I do enjoy using shampoos that smell nice.
There are no wax additives to BH Auto Wash either, however, when I was washing the car, I found that the mitt glided seamlessly across the paintwork so even though there is no wax, there is a decent level of lubricity to the shampoo.
That said there were little hydrophobic properties on the paintwork after rising, which I would suggest is because Auto Wash is more of a pure shampoo. It wasn’t a problem for me as I prefer to apply my own waxes and polishes after washing, however, it is worth bearing in mind that if you are looking for a shampoo that leaves a hydrophobic layer after washing, then this is not be suited to you.
Cost Per Application
For me, the main plus point is the cleaning power of the shampoo when you consider just how little is required per wash it works out to be the most economic yet powerful shampoo I have ever used.
Auto Wash is available in two sizes, 500ml for £14.95 ($18.18 USD) or 1ltr for £24.95 ($30.34 USD).
The recommended ratio is 5ml per 10L of water, so for a 500ml bottle, this means you would get 100 washes. For a 1L bottle, you would get 200 washes.
However as most detailing buckets are 20ltrs in size, mine included, I used 10ml of concentrate per 20L of water giving you 50 washes per 500ml bottle or 100 washes per 1ltr bottle.
If you are using the recommended 5ml per 10L of water this would equal 15p ($0.18 USD) per wash from a 500ml bottle or 12p ($0.14 USD) per wash from a 1L bottle.
The price of using 10mls per 20L of water equals 30p ($0.36 USD) per wash giving 50 washes from a 500ml bottle or 100 washes from a 1L bottle equating to 25p ($0.30 USD) per wash.
I think you will agree that this is an extremely cost-effective shampoo at either dilution ratio and for such a powerful shampoo, you can’t go wrong.
Auto-wash is a highly concentrated shampoo, needing only a tiny amount per wash bucket to achieve really good results. I think this is one of the main selling points of Bilt Hamber Auto Wash.
Bilt Hamber recommends 5ml of product to 10L of water, so considering that my bucket is 20L, this would mean I needed 10ml of product.
At first, because I was doubtful that this would be enough shampoo, I added 20ml to my 20L bucket and honestly, this made zero difference to the shampoo.
I achieved the same amount of foam and the same cleaning power using 10mls in my 20ltr bucket so I would recommend sticking to the ratios set out by Bilt Hamber. As a little tip, I would recommend buying a plastic measuring syringe from eBay, they are cheap but are a godsend when it comes to accurately measuring your ratios.
This is an easy section for me as Auto Wash in my opinion has quite a few specialist features that are worth mentioning.
Firstly, is the fact that it contains corrosion inhibitors, meaning that it will protect your cars paintwork from rust, and paintwork that contains stone chips will be protected against any further spread of corrosion. Perfect for older or classic cars, and for protecting high-value modern cars as well.
Auto Wash also doesn’t contain any thickeners or waxes which means that if you are planning to apply a wax after washing your car, you will achieve much better adhesion to the paint as there is no residue or film left on the bodywork. This will help to extend the longevity of your wax.
The fact that Auto Wash is such a highly concentrated shampoo, much higher than any other shampoos that I have used, means that this is an economic shampoo to use and saves money in the long run.
What is the best dilution ratio for Bilt Hamber Auto Wash?
I would stick to the recommended 5ml of Bilt Hamber Auto Wash, you will be amazed at how little you need to achieve a bucket full of soapy suds.
Can Bilt Hamber Auto Wash be used through a snow-foam lance?
The short answer is yes it can, however, you will not get the best results whilst contact washing as most of the soap runs off the car and you lose the lubricity that you get when using it in a wash bucket.
Can Bilt Hamber Auto Wash be used as a weekly wash shampoo?
This would be a solid yes in my opinion. In fact, due to the amazing value for money, I would highly recommend this as a weekly wash shampoo as you don’t need to use a lot at all, meaning your bottle would last you months at a time.
Is Bilt Hamber Auto Wash safe to use on ceramic coated cars?
Yes! Being an extremely safe shampoo with no harsh chemicals, Auto-wash is completely safe to use on ceramic coated paintwork and will help to cleanse the paintwork ready for a SI02 top-up detailer if you wish to apply this after washing.
About Bilt Hamber
Bilt Hamber’s legacy lies in the marine and aeronautic industries, initially manufacturing protective coatings for the two respective industries.
In more modern times they have brought their specialist knowledge of protective coatings into the automotive sector, specifically catering towards the detailing industry. They are now considered one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of car care products, including shampoos, waxes, pre-washes, metal coatings and protectants.
They have their own laboratories, heavily investing in research and development and have a no-nonsense approach towards their products meaning they tend to make available one product per specific purpose. For example, they carry one shampoo rather than a vast range of different types purely to boost profits. For me, this shows an honest approach, and that shows in their range of products, they do exactly what they say on the bottle.