Why and When to Wash and Wax Your Car

Many car owners believe that it isn’t necessary, but washing and waxing your car frequently can actually help you maintain the paint finish for many years, even though you are frequently rubbing and wiping it down. However, it is essential that you use the right products and use them at the right time. Almost every brand of car wax and car wash products are formulated to work effectively and safely with your paint finish, especially on vehicles made after 1990. They remove dirt and grime from the surface, reduce the look of imperfections, and leave behind a glossy shine.


While most people think it is an arduous task to complete, it doesn’t have to be. You can find many procedures to wash and wax your vehicle to perfection, and many of them are needed. However, you don’t have to do them all at once. You can do some things once a week, once a month, or once a year, depending on your particular needs.

The Four-Step Process

You should always ensure that you’re using the right products at the right times to prevent unnecessary damage.


The first step is to wash the car to remove contaminants. You should consider buying a genuine car-washing product because they are designed and formulated to lift and loosen surface grime without stripping the wax. Do not use laundry soap, household cleaner, or dish soap.

You should use a microfiber washing mitt and wash thoroughly from the top downward. After cleaning each panel, make sure to re-dip your mitt in the bucket to ensure the mitt is clean. Afterward, dry each panel with a soft, microfiber drying towel. It’s best to wash your car every week.

Removing Grime

Next, you should inspect your paint job and look for tree sap, pollen, bird droppings, and more. If you notice that the paint doesn’t feel smooth, you should use a mildly abrasive clay bar to remove the contaminants. If that doesn’t work, you can also use an appropriate cleaner that has mild abrasives in it.

It is best to clean one section at a time and remove the cleansers with a microfiber towel so that it doesn’t stay on the vehicle too long.

If you don’t notice any swirls, defects, or other issues, you can skip this step and go to polishing/waxing. However, you’re likely to need to use a clay bar once every six months or sooner.


You do not have to polish or glaze the car because it doesn’t do anything to protect the finish, but many car owners like to take this step. If the paint is losing its natural oils, polishes can help to replenish and retain them.

As with the cleaning process, you should apply the polish by hand and use small, overlapping, circular strokes with a foam applicator or microfiber-covered pad, taking one section of your car at a time. Then, remove the polish using a microfiber towel when the product turns hazy. It should not be allowed to dry completely because that can damage the finish.


Once you’ve washed and buffed out the impurities (and polished if you choose to), it’s time tp wax, which should be done once every three months. Some waxes can be used more often or less, depending on their formulation.

You should apply the wax using a small, overlapping, circular motion using the foam or microfiber applicator and work on one section at a time. Fold your towel into fourths and use one side to break up the wax and the other to remove the rest of the residue.


Why and When to Wash and Wax Your Car

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