car in foam car wash

Detailed Guide on How to Apply Car Wax

Recently we discussed why you need to use wax, click on highlighted text if you missed that. Now we need to find out how to apply car wax.

Applying wax by hand does not give you worse results than with a buffer. You will spend more time and power waxing your car by hand but knowing that a good Dual Action Polisher will cost you around $200, I’m not surprised the majority are choosing to apply wax by hand. Using this guide you can apply car sealant as well.

Another way to apply wax is by visiting the detailing service, but it also can be costly. Check our guide on how to find the best detailing service near you.

Now we need to set up a plan that you can follow to wax your car like a pro. Consider that every car wax has different ingredients and structures. That is why we will give you an average definition of the time you need to hold your wax on paint and the amount of product you need to apply (for exact info you need to look at wax manufacture recommendations).

Check List

  1. Nitrile gloves
  2. Best Car Wax
  3. Applicator
  4. min. 2 clean microfiber towels


car in foam car wash
car in foam car wash

One of the most important steps in the process is how you will prepare your car paint. Without preparing car paint, you will not achieve an amazing effect even with the most expensive wax you will apply. Also, wax applied on a not prepared surface will not hold for so long. Don’t forget to remove water spots from car paint to prevent them from getting deeper into a clear coat. If the condition of your car’s paint is bad, a good idea will be to polish the car before wax application.

Nevertheless, if you decide not to make any prep on your paint and will apply wax, nothing scary will happen. At the end of the day, it will be better than not using any wax coatings at all.

We already created a guide for you to prepare your car paint for waxing properly.

How to Apply car Wax: Step-by-Step

1st Step. Car waxing by hand

IMPORTANT! Since you are working with chemicals, wear nitrile gloves to protect your skin. Do not apply wax in direct sunlight.

I recommend applying wax on your car part by part. Start with the trunk if you were driving the car within the last hours. Do not apply wax on hot car parts.

If you have a liquid wax, the first you should do is to shake it well. No need to shake a hard wax. Check our recommended list of the best car waxes.

Add the necessary amount to the applicator and start spreading it on your car. There are 2 different technics for applying car wax (see pictures below). You can choose the one you like the most or even both.

2nd Step. Let your wax work on you

how to apply car wax

Now it’s time for you to relax. Depending on the wax you used and the outside weather, give your wax some time to work. It can be from 5 minutes in hot, dry weather and 30 minutes in cold, wet weather.

Note that if you need to leave wax, for example, for 10 minutes, you should count this time since you applied the wax coat on the car. For example, if you start applying wax from the trunk and you spend 10 minutes waxing the rest of your car, it means you already have no time for a break, and you need to move to step 3.

3rd Step. Buffing

how to apply car wax

Once you see a result like in the picture above or you hold wax following the time recommended by the wax manufacturer, it’s time to buff off the residue wax from your car.

Take a clean microfiber and buff it off using any comfortable technique. Do not apply high pressure on paint, not to remove freshly applied wax.

Once you make it, you can take a second microfiber and go around one more time to make a quick polish to add shine and gloss to the perfect look of your car. If your paint looks faded even after wax application, check our guide on faded car paint repair.


Is hand waxing a car worth it?

Yes, hand waxing a car creates a protective layer on your car’s paint and prevents your paint from fading, hazing, swirl marks, and watermarks. Above this, hand waxing protects car paint from harmful UV light, and improves shine and overall the car’s look!

Is it better to wax a car by hand or machine?

Waxing a car by hand or with a machine creates the same protection layer. Waxing a car with a machine decreases the time spent on the application of wax, however, waxing a car by hand minimizes the risks of damaging the paint for beginners.

How long does it take to wax a car by hand?

Usually, you spend 1-2 hours waxing a car by hand, however, it all depends on the wax type you use (spray wax, hard wax, liquid wax), and the size of your car. By itself waxing a car is not a long process, but preparation steps, like removing iron, tar, and claying your car, may take much longer time than applying the wax.

Should I wax my car after every wash?

No, there is no need to apply wax every wash, however, you need to use pH-neutral car wash shampoos that will not remove your wax coating every car wash. If you are using Snow Foam, or a self-service car wash, there are high chances that even hard wax will be removed in several washes.

Do modern cars need to be waxed?

Yes, you should wax modern cars as well, or make a ceramic coating. When you bought a new car, usually paint on it has no swirl marks, scratches, or contaminations, so you want to keep it like this as long as possible, and that is for you to protect it with wax coating!

Pro Tips How to apply Car Wax

  1. Remember which towels you use for wax (you can mark them) and wash them separately from other towels to avoid spreading left wax on all of your towels.
  2. If you use good wax that can stay on your paint for several months (following wax manufacturer statements), do not wash your car the first week after you waxed the car.

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