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  • Writer's pictureTommy Trenton Jr

Understanding Presoaks (Before Washing Vehicles)

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Here in this blog, you will learn how Presoak pH levels can make washing your vehicle easier! Low pH vs High pH presoaks, and when to use Low pH presoaks or High pH presoaks or both as well as how they can help you create faster, cleaner results when washing a vehicle.

Definition: pH is the numeric scale used to specify the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Pay attention to the scale on the right. Lower pH levels indicate higher acidity and lower alkalinity. Higher pH levels indicate higher alkalinity and lower acidity. Both serve their very specific purpose when presoaking a vehicle before washing it.

What is Low pH Presoak good for? Lower pH Presoaks Solutions have more acidic properties than higher pH Presoaking Solutions. It's best to use Low pH Presoak when your vehicle is dirty from inorganic soils.

This makes Low pH Presoak solutions good for breaking down minerals, lime deposits, rust, road grime, dirt, sand, salt, those tiny clay particles, and even aids in removing oxidation.

What is High pH Presoak good for?

Higher pH Presoak Solutions have more alkalinity properties than lower pH solutions. It's best to use High pH Presoak when your vehicle is dirty from organic soils such as bird droppings, oils, greases, bugs, and things of that nature. It also helps neutralize any leftover acidic properties on the vehicle's surface from the Low pH Presoak.


So generally speaking, spray the entire vehicle with the Low pH Presoak first, then go back in the same rotation and spray the High pH Presoak on the entire vehicle and by then, both presoaks have done their job. Go ahead and use your pressure washer or hose to rinse off the entire vehicle or just jump right into washing with your favorite bubbly car soap. This is not a rule of thumb when considering the order of which this is done given the different environments a vehicle can travel through. Some detailers only use a High pH Presoak and so on.

For example, If there are bird droppings all over your vehicle, use the High pH presoak first! Actually a lot of detailers will use the High pH presoaks first no matter what because the Low pH presoaks help aid in drying the vehicle. So really it's up to you. Try both ways under different circumstances to figure out what works best for you.

If you use a High pH presoak its best to also to then use a Low pH Presoak to help neutralize the High pH Presoak. The lower the pH of the vehicle's surface, the better the car will dry. Low pH Presoaks help prevent water spots. In general, if you use a low-pH presoak, the vehicle will dry easier and be shinier. Which saves you time and energy while making you more money!

Facts: Using presoaks will most certainly give you far better results when compared to not using presoaks. Just remember, low pH presoaks help by removing inorganic soils (non-living things like salt and sand), while the high pH presoaks help by removing organic soils (living things like bugs, greases, bird droppings, etc). Presoaks I'm tellin ya. The bottom line is whether your a business owner or a DIY type of person, presoaks will save you time, give you better results, and even save you money when having to multiple vehicles a day! Never cut corners on chemicals. That will only make your job more difficult and give you a lesser quality result which means customers may not call you back. If you cut corners on your customers now, they will cut corners on you in the future.

TIP: Always wash in the shade if possible, it will make your life easier. Dry the windows off first starting with the side the sun is on!


1. Apply the presoak with a chemical resistant pump sprayer or you can use a foam cannon or anything similar that attaches to a pressure washer or hose.

2. We do not suggest using presoak chemicals on vehicles that have a polymer or wax on them, unless you plan on re-applying it. Not to say that all presoak chemicals will remove those types of coatings but we know some do given their nature. Consult the products label and or products management team and ask them if it is safe for your vehicle's coating and go from there.

Comments are welcome! Tell us what presoaks you use and why you like them, how long you've been using them, how long you've been in business etc. Give us links, we will follow your pages and always feel free to ask us questions. We are more than happy to help you figure things out. "Tommy & Julia"


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