How I Tested Mothers California Gold Car Wash Shampoo

I tested this shampoo as part of a group test to find out what was the best car shampoo of 2023. To do so, I diluted Mothers California Gold Car Wash shampoo according to the instructions printed on the bottle. Then, I assessed how much foam was produced, and how effective that foam was at cleaning body panels. As such, I took note of how dirty the surface was both before and after using the shampoo. The price and how much shampoo is needed per wash were also taken into consideration.

Size: 16 fl. oz (437ml), 32 fl. oz (946ml), 64 fl. oz (1892ml). RRP: $12.99-$23.99 / £8.49-£21.99. Buy Mothers California Gold Car Wash here.

Mothers California Gold Car Wash car shampoo testing

First Impressions

California Gold by name, California gold by nature with this suitably colored shampoo. Mothers Car Wash has more of an old-school vibe about it, I’d say, and I have no problems with that. There’s that flip-up spout for added convenience, which I always like to see. And, finally, there’s the smell. Man, does this shampoo smell good. I can’t put my finger on it – bubblegum, maybe? – but it’s sweet, sugary, and delicious.

shampoo pouring


Nothing to see here beyond being pH-neutral, but that’s fine. Mothers says that the shampoo also resists water-spotting and delivers loads of foam, but we’ll see about that.

What’s It Like To Use?

Very, very nice indeed. It felt incredibly slick beneath my wash mitt, and it really glided over the paintwork effortlessly. Cleaning power was very good, too, and it’s a really nice shampoo to wash with. However… the dilution ratio brought me back down to earth with a bump.

shampoo foam

You need 1 fl oz. per gallon, which means around 3 fl. oz in the average bucket, and that’s a lot of shampoo. That means you’ll get through your bottle of Mothers California Gold Car Wash shampoo at a serious rate, which is no good. It’s pretty cheap, but that isn’t enough to outweigh how much you have to use in each wash.

Mothers California Gold Car Wash car shampoo washing

Mothers California Gold Car Wash Car Shampoo Verdict

Mothers shampoo is lovely to wash with. It’s slick, cleans well, and smells gorgeous. But you have to use a lot of it for each wash, and that really stings.