Car Wax

How to Use a Car Wax Remover without Damaging Your Paint


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When you want to take off old wax, you want a car wax remover that’s not going to damage the paint job on your car. You want that fresh and ready to have new wax applied for protection. There are several different types of car wax remover you can use. Being careful and using the right products will protect your precious paint job.

Tools and Materials

  • Clay detail kit
  • Resin polish
  • Clean solvent

Step One - Wax Buildup

If the car you want to detail hasn’t been carefully looked after and regularly detailed, there is probably a build up of wax, as people apply one coat over another, year after year. In this case, there will be plenty of wax to take off. The other extreme is where little wax has been applied to the vehicle, so the coating with be thin and patchy.

Step Two - Protecting the Paint

Wax is a protectant. Removing it leaves the paintwork bare and liable to scratching. When you take off the wax, it’s important you don’t use an abrasive that can cut into the clear coat and cause swirling of any kind.

Step Three - Clay Wax Removal

Most people use a clay kit early in the detailing process. However, it can be used very well for wax residue removal even though it’s strictly not a car wax remover. Generally, you’ll use it for the removal of deep dirt, resin, and similar contaminants in the paintwork. What makes it especially useful for this job is the fact that it won’t harm the paint at all.

Step Four - Using the Clay

To use the clay as a car wax remover, spray some of the clay detailing spray over a small area of the bodywork. Knead a small piece of clay until it’s soft to the touch and rub lightly over the paint. Go up and down and side to side, not in a circular motion. Only cover the area you’ve sprayed.

Check the clay regularly. When it looks dirty, knead it more and turn to show a clean area. When you’ve finished an area, wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. It’s important to use microfiber as a wax removal cloth as it won’t scratch the paint. Move on to the next section, inspecting your work as you go. You can test the effectiveness of the car wax removal by putting a freezer bag over your hand and rubbing the paintwork. Where there’s no wax it won’t feel as smooth.

Step Five - Other Methods

You’ll find that the majority of solvents that are used by professional detail shops, in addition to resin polishes, will also take off the wax on a car. Be aware that you only need to rub lightly, and be sure to use microfiber cloths. Any kind of cotton can easily cause swirls in the paint as it scratches into the clear coat. Don’t let any liquid sit on the paintwork. Solvent can easily eat into paint if it’s left. Always work in small sections to achieve the best results with a car wax remover.

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