Washing a car is a surprisingly difficult task. That's not to say that it ranks among jobs like engine swaps or transmission rebuilds. However, all of that scrubbing, drying, and polishing will give you a serious workout. Once your shoulder starts to burn, you really start to appreciate what the right tools can do for you. A good car wash brush is one of the first your heart will grow fond of. It'll help you work through the gunk without being rough enough to tear into your paint. There's no shortage of options to sort through, though. Which is right for you depends on a few aspects. While I can't tell you what you need without knowing your particular situation, I can set you up with some suggestions and advice to help get you there.
Best Overall: Carrand Deluxe Car Wash Dip Brush
Honorable Mention: Carcarez Flow-Thru Heavy Duty Car Wash Brush Head
Best Extendable: Doca Pole Soft Bristle Car Wash Brush
Best for Tough Spots: Mothers Car Wash Brush
We put more thought into our selection than you may initially think. First, we made sure to choose products that were made with soft bristles, so they won't damage your vehicle's surfaces. We avoided brushes that aren't specifically designed for washing cars to ensure that they were safe for use on vehicle surfaces. We also chose products made out of durable, high-quality materials, so they last a long time. We selected items in a wide range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. In addition, we checked user feedback to see how these car wash brushes operate in real-world conditions.
Best Car Wash Brush Reviews & Recommendations
Our pick for the best car wash brush is the Carrand Deluxe Car Wash Dip Brush. It’s a great overall choice for a variety of vehicles. The telescoping handle extends up to 65 inches, which provides extra reach on larger SUVs and trucks, and the brush head also has soft bristles and a rubber bumper to prevent scratches. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Bargain Crusader Removable Telescopic Car Wash Brush.
What to Consider When Buying Car Wash Brushes
Not all car wash brushes are created equally, they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, making some better for small sedans and others more suited to larger SUVs or trucks. There are several factors you should take into consideration before choosing a car wash brush, and we provide some tips as well as answer some frequently asked questions to make your search a lot easier.
Types of Car Wash Brushes
Short vs. Long-Handled Brushes
Long-handled brushes are designed for hard-to-reach spots, making them a good option if you want to clean the roof on an SUV or tall truck. Instead of using a step stool, you can simply swing the brush on top of your vehicle to scrub the roof. Many of these brushes feature a telescoping or extended handle, so you can adjust the length as required. The benefit of a shorter-handled brush is you can get into smaller, tight spots, such as the nooks and crannies inside your vehicle’s wheels, and they are good for cleaning the grill of your car or truck.
A flow-thru or flow-through brush allows liquid to flow into the brush head so that the brushing action applies the liquid/water onto the surface area. These brushes can be made of a variety of different types of bristles and are configured in multiple ways, as they provide consistent water flow through the handle/pole to enable you to efficiently remove dirt and grime off your vehicle.
Car Wash Brush Key Features
Abrasiveness and Stiffness
You have to be careful when it comes to the stiffness of a car wash brush. It may seem like a stiffer scrub brush would work better on stuck-on grime; however, sharper bristles could scratch the finish if you consistently rub them against the paint. Darker-colored vehicles require softer brushes, while lighter-colored cars can tolerate brushes with a medium stiffness.
Most people who are taller than five feet can wash a modern sedan with a car wash brush that extends around one foot. Larger vehicles can be more challenging to wash because they have a bigger and taller surface area. Bigger, lifted trucks require several feet of extension so you can reach the roof and hood.
Rotation, Swiveling, and Extension
Some car wash brushes are more versatile based on their ability to rotate, swivel, and extend. It can be more labor intensive to use a fixed, long-handled brush compared to one that rotates and swivels, particularly if you're cleaning the area around the mirrors and sharp body creases. Extended handles also help you better reach the roof of your vehicle.
Over time, a car wash brush will break down. The bristles will fall out, and the head will wear out. But some brands last a lot longer than others due to their durable construction. For example, wooden brush heads are often treated to provide a longer lifespan, but synthetic materials also do well over the long term.
Car Wash Brush Pricing
Entry-level car wash brushes are fairly affordable and cost between $8 and $20. They usually don't have handles, which you have to purchase separately, but they are available in many colors with varying types of bristles. Mop-like car brushes cost between $22 and $30 and often have an extendable or adjustable handle as well as removable heads that you can clean in-between car washings. Drill attachment car wash brushes also fall within this price range. If you're looking for a high-quality car wash brush with a longer handle and superior reach or a brush that’s part of a car wash kit, expect to pay between $35 and $60.
You’ve got questions.The Autance has answers!
Q: What size car wash brush should I purchase for my vehicle?
A: Most vehicles can be washed fairly easily with just a standard 10-inch car wash brush. Really, the size doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re the only one who’s going to be washing your vehicle. If you’d like to make the chore a family event, consider purchasing multiple brushes instead of one large brush.
Q: Does it matter what soap or chemicals I use with the car wash brush?
A: The car wash brush should be compatible with anything designed to wash your vehicle. That is, any car wash product you buy shouldn’t in any way damage your car wash brush. Harsher chemicals like wheel acid and tire cleaner could potentially damage your car wash brush. You should invest in a separate brush for your tire and wheel cleaner.
Q: Where can I find handles for the car wash brush head I bought?
A: Check your local hardware store. If you bought the head online, you can probably find a handle online as well. Just check to make sure that the handle you choose fits the brush head you bought. Most car wash brush heads are drilled and tapped to a standard fitting size.
Q: Should I avoid any areas on my vehicle if I use a car wash brush?
A: You don’t necessarily need to avoid typical surfaces on your vehicle as they should all withstand use of a car wash brush. However, you want to be careful around any aftermarket accessories you installed on your vehicle, which may or may not include stickers and emblems. Push too hard on these on an edge and you’ll likely have to remove or replace them.