All You Ever Wanted to Know About Car Wax

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Car Wax



What is Car Wax?

Car wax is a protective coating that helps act as a barrier between your car’s paintwork and the outside elements.

Your car paint is applied in layers, with a primer on the bottom, then a coloured base coat, and a protective clear coat on top.

Clearcoat is a clear layer of paint that is designed to protect the coloured paint underneath. Like anything else, your clear coat can break down and fade away with time, which is why it is important to protect it with wax.

Particularly harmful to your car’s paint are UV rays from the sun, rain water, tar and salt. If any of these get through to your paintwork, they can cause the colour to fade. In extreme cases, unprotected paintwork will lead to rusting of the bodywork beneath as the steel becomes exposed to the elements.

What are the benefits of car wax?

  1. Paint Protection – Car wax protects your paint and bodywork from harmful materials like salt, water, acid rain and other corrosives. This should keep your paint colour for long, and help prevent rusting in the long-term
  2. Shine – Nothing makes your paintwork shine like car wax! Waxing will return your car to showroom condition and make your car the envy of the car park
  3. Easy Washing – By leaving a protective coat on your car, bugs, dirt and grime will struggle to stick to the surface and clean more easily off a layer of wax than your car’s paintwork


Water beading after applying car wax


How is Car Wax Different to Polish?

While you might think the wax and polish are used interchangeably, the two products are completely different. Car wax is a clear protectant that stops outside materials from damaging your paint. A polish is a mild abrasive used to smooth out scratches and restore your paint to a smooth finish. You can read more on polishes here.

Usually, you’d use a polish to remove any imperfections from your paintwork before leaving a layer of wax on top. Some products, like our Iris range, have both a polish and wax to save your arms from too much buffing!


Types of Car Wax

Car Waxes can come in several forms and is made up of different ingredients. The main ingredients used in car wax are Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Oils (such as Linseed), Synthetic wax and synthetic polymers.

Most premium waxes contain a higher concentration of Carnauba Wax, which provides an enviable, glossy shine. The issue with Carnauba wax is that it’s very expensive and can lack the durability of synthetic waxes and polymers. Therefore, most car waxes you’ll find tend to be a blend of wax types.

Waxes can also come in several forms. The most common is a Liquid, like our Wax of The Gods. As liquid waxes are loose, they are extremely easy to apply and don’t require to be at an optimum temperature.


This contrasts with more traditional paste waxes. These look a bit like an old metal tin of hair wax. These types of waxes provide the highest shine but require a lot more elbow grease to apply! Not only that, the wax can take different forms at different temperatures, meaning that you may have to be careful using it through certain times of the year.

Spray Waxes are a newer development, designed for the easiest and quickest application. An example is our Holy Water paint sealant, which is the quickest way to give your car protection from the elements. With these waxes being a light spray, they easily cover large areas of your car, and mean that they can be wiped rather than buffed.


These waxes are best used as a top-up between a thorough waxing, as they are quick to apply but can lack the robustness of more traditional waxes.


What to look for in a car wax.

The ideal car wax would be easy to apply, provide long-lasting protection and leave your car with a glossy shine. As mentioned above, most waxes are a compromise of two of the three of these elements. The highest quality waxes however will have a high concentration of Carnauba Wax and should provide protection for around 6 months!


What is Carnauba Wax?

We’ve spoken a lot about Carnauba Wax, but we haven’t really explained what it is, or why it’s seen as the gold standard in car wax. Carnauba Wax comes from Brazil and is sometimes called palm wax or the Queen of waxes. It’s used in a large variety of applications from mascara to pill coatings - but it's mainly used as a gloss coating on cars, boats, and surfboards.

What makes Carnauba special is its hardness, allowing it to last longer than other wax types. Its hardness also means that when buffed it creates a high gloss shine that dulls with time, rather than flaking off (as is the case with other types of waxes).


How to Use Car Wax

Car Wax Applicator

The most important part of waxing your car is (as with most detailing) is preparation. In this case, make sure you give your car a thorough clean to remove all dirt and paint imperfections.

A clean car surface will mean that the wax will stick to the paintwork better, allowing it to last longer. Not only that, after you’ve applied a layer of wax, everything beneath is stuck. So there’s no point waxing over existing dirt as this will make the dirt harder to remove. You can read up on giving your car a thorough clean here.

Once it’s time to wax, it’s important to work in small sections. This will help you get an even coat all over the vehicle, and stop your wax drying too hard and becoming difficult to buff.

After cleaning your car, here’s a quick step-by-step for most waxes:

  1. Add your wax to a clean, damp microfibre cloth or applicator
  2. Apply onto the bodywork using a circular, overlapping motion.
  3. Allow the wax to dry to a haze (usually around 5 minutes)
  4. Buff to a deep, high gloss shine with a clean microfibre cloth

Hazing from car wax application

How often should you wax your car?

A high-quality wax should last around 6 months. Of course, this can depend on how the wax was applied, and the conditions your vehicle is subjected to. To help keep your wax coating for longer, use a pH neutral snow foam and shampoo when washing your car. This will avoid your wash reacting with the wax and damaging the protective layer,


Another way to increase the life of your wax coating is to apply a quick protectant like our speed detailer or Holy Water. These are easy to apply, saving you any strenuous buffing and only require a couple of sprays, one bottle lasts a long time. These sprays will stick to your wax giving a thin layer of additional protection.