How can I make my car shine without wax?

Knowing how to properly clean the surface of a car is a vital task for all car owners, and has many different benefits including the prevention of rust and the overall enhancement of a car’s value. While both car polish and car wax are often referred to interchangeably in the car cleaning process, they both play different roles in cleaning a vehicle’s surface. Being familiar with these roles gives an individual the best chance to keep their car’s exterior looking and functioning well. How can I make my car shine without wax?

Car Polish

Car polish is an abrasive liquid substance that is specifically designed to remove flaws, including scratches, paint smudges, and dirt stains from a vehicle’s surface. It contains small particles that eat away and smooth out impurities on the surface, without harming or further damaging the finish. Specifically, the abrasive particles in car polish intricately remove the delicate outer layers of paint, leaving a smoother and shinier surface. Car polish is best applied with a soft cloth or an orbital buffer in circular motions on the car’s surface until the polish dissipates. While car polish can help restore the shiny new car look so many vehicle lovers covet, ultimately it does nothing to prevent future impurities or decay in the surface, functioning as more of a surface cleaner than preventing future impurities.

Car Wax

While car wax enhances the look of a vehicle’s surface like car polish, it also adds a layer of protection against future impurities such as dust, dirt, and corrosion. Unlike the abrasive characteristic of car polish, car wax is a filler substance, essentially “filling in” imperfections, bumps, and microscopic holes in a vehicle’s finish, which if left untreated, can result in serious corrosive damage. Car wax can be applied in either a paste or liquid format, and can also be a natural or synthetic compound depending on the preferences of a car owner. While most car waxes do an excellent job of protecting against corrosive decay, their effectiveness wears out over time. Car wax can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on several factors ranging from the quality of the car wax itself to the climate the vehicle resides in.

When to use Car Polish vs. Car Wax

Car polish and car wax are best used in conjunction with each other, and never as a substitute for one another. Car polish should be applied first to smooth out the impurities and flaws in the surface paint, while car wax should be applied next, providing a layer of protection against potential impurities that can damage a surface over time. Applying car polish without a layer of car wax will result in the new polished look not lasting very long, whereas applying car wax to a vehicle that hasn’t been polished won’t come close to bringing out the shiny look of a new car.