How To Remove Car Wax (Quickly & Safely)

Washing your vehicle on a regular basis and applying fresh wax or sealants help to keep your car looking its best.

Car wax works best when it’s applied to the paintwork of a car that is 100% clean. Because of this, you need to learn how to remove car wax quickly and effectively.

Learning when and how to safely remove wax will help you to achieve results quickly. Taking your detailing to the next level.

Why Remove Wax From Your Car?

While Wax is certainly one of the easier car care products to work with, there are still scenarios where you may apply them incorrectly or unevenly. If the wax is still fresh, you could buff it off with a clean towel, if not, you may need to use the methods in this article.

Secondly, you may want to remove wax in preparation for other detailing processes.

When applying a ceramic coating, it’s crucial that the car is completely clean of wax and other contaminants. As a result, I’ll perform a strip wash, clay bar, polish and then proceed to apply a coating.

Finally, polishing a vehicle that still has wax on it will block up your buffing pads very quickly. When polishing, dirt on the pad will create more micro-scratches and swirls. You’re literally going round in circles.

How To Remove Old Car Wax

As you probably already know, over time the wax on your car will deteriorate. As mother nature tests your vehicle, and you continue to wash it, the wax will begin to come off of your car.

Whenever you stop seeing benefits from the wax, you can almost guarantee it’s no longer there.

To make sure that there is no old wax left on your vehicle, all you need to do is perform a standard car wash using a combination of car soap and all-purpose cleaner.

If you don’t want to mess around with diluting many products, you could use a product like Adams Strip Wash. It’s a concentrated soap designed to safely remove any last stage protection from your vehicle.

Strip wash products are very effective on old wax. Though when using them on freshly waxed cars, it may take many washes to strip the wax.

How To Remove Fresh Car Wax

Because of its hydrophobic qualities, removing fresh car wax can be very frustrating, especially if you’re not doing it right.

It’s going to seem hypocritical but this is truly the most effective way of removing fresh car wax.

All of the harsh chemicals and products that everyone says to avoid are great at removing wax.

The strong, acidic, washing solutions that are used at roadside car washes. Great.

Dish soaps and other degreaser type products, great.

Soaps that are produced with cutting compounds, the best.

At least when it comes to removing wax.

The truth is, you should get the job done with whatever works best for you. Very few people will question the methods if the results are great.

If you want to remove fresh car wax quickly and effectively I recommend using Dawns Professional dish soap or Meguiars Car Wash Plus.

Dawns Dish Soap

Dawns Professional Dish Soap is a heavy degreaser designed to remove dirt and limescale from oven trays and dishes.

Using moderate amounts of soap and diluting it with warm water, will allow you to remove wax with ease and it will not damage your paint.

While normally I wouldn’t encourage washing your car with dish soap, it’s ok on occasion and it will save you a lot of frustration when removing wax.

Meguiars Car Wash Plus

Meguiars Wash Plus is a highly-concentrated soap that’s designed to remove absolutely everything. Whether it’s bugs, tar, bird bombs or freshly applied car wax, wash plus can do it all.

There’s also no need to get your wash buckets out. Wash plus works best when applied using a mitt, just remember to rinse it off after.

The reason why this product works so well is that it actually contains abrasives. This scares a lot of people off from using the product, but in truth, it’s no different from using car polish.

Using “micro polishing agents”, wash plus will remove car wax, minor scratches, and bird bomb etchings from the paint of a car.

This is completely safe to use unless the paint on your vehicle is already in bad shape.

If your car hasn’t got any sign of paint peeling, you probably don’t need to worry.

Just make sure to pay attention to your mitt or sponge when applying the product. If you start to see color transferring onto your mitt, you’ve gone too far.

How To Remove Dried Car Wax

When I first started detailing and applying wax, I was a bit of an idiot.

I always worked in direct sunlight and used excessive amounts of wax. It always dried before I could completely buff it off.

The best way to avoid having to remove dry or hardened car wax is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

You should always apply wax liberally, it will cut the chances of it drying on your car and it saves you money at the same time.

Don’t worry though, if you’ve already got lumps of wax stuck to your car, here’s what to do.

  • Use A Heat Gun or Hairdryer – I’ve found that applying heat to wax will soften it up enough to remove it from a car without the need for any chemicals or special tools.

    As long as you don’t apply too much heat to the panel and burn the paint, this is the quickest and easiest method.
  • Adhesive Remover – Grab a microfiber towel and your favorite bug & tar remover. Apply the product, let it soak and then try to rub the wax from the panel.

    If it’s really stubborn, you could use Goo Gone, however, I’d try and avoid it when possible. It’s not made specifically for car paint.
  • Paint Thinner / Degreaser – While I always try to use the least harsh solutions first, sometimes I need quick results. Using concentrated thinner and degreaser is very harsh, but it will get results.

    Most of the time, using these will be a last-ditch attempt to remove the most stubborn pieces of wax and other contaminants before polishing a car.

Whatever you do. DO NOT TAKE A BLADE TO IT. I’ve seen many people try this and fail spectacularly.

Taking a blade to your car is going to scratch the paintwork and will require a professional repair.

A plastic trim tool may be more suited, especially if you apply some heat to the wax beforehand but you still risk scratching the paint.

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