How to Remove Car Wax – The Best Methods

In this article, we’ll answer many of the questions you’re interested in, as well as the most important one: how to remove car wax.


Car waxing is an essential part of car care. It turns into a special protective coating on the car’s paintwork, protecting it from damage and also stopping the loss of color, keeping it bright. A waxed car shines, showing all the charms of its paint.

But what to do when the wax gets old? What do you do when you need to apply it?

When and Why Remove Old Car Wax

A new wax should be applied when a long-applied coat begins to lose its effectiveness. This is often after about three months, but may well be needed sooner if your car travels frequently, especially in inclement weather.


Since the wax serves to protect your car, the old wax will be a problem for the new coating and will prevent the new coat from bonding to its bodywork. If you apply a new wax on top of the old coat, it is a futile exercise, as the effectiveness is then reduced many times over.

Also, if you apply a new coat on top of the old one, you will not be able to admire the excellent shine of your car. And in the end, applying a new wax on top of the old one does not hide or get rid of visible defects in the body. What’s more, these imperfections are only accentuated.

How to Remove Wax From Car Paint

The easiest way, of course, is to stop by a car wash and remove any wax residue on the car paint with a special program. Here, the residue is also carefully wiped off by professional hands.

Of course, for this, you will have to dig into your wallet. But there are cheaper methods of removing car wax from the paintwork.

Whether you want to apply a new coat of wax or a new polish, the old layer of wax should always be removed first.

Car Washing

First, the vehicle should be washed thoroughly.


In any case, always pre-clean the vehicle before proceeding to remove the wax. Fill a spray bottle with regular dishwashing detergent.

This allows the detergent to be applied evenly over a large area. Allow the detergent to soak in for a short time and then take a soft microfiber cloth.

Now gently wipe off the car wax.

If the cloth is contaminated with car wax residue, it should be replaced with a clean one. After you are done with the entire car, spray the residue with water from a hose or, even better, with a high-pressure cleaner.

Now dry the car well. Now spray fine water on the car with a water bottle. You can check if you have removed all the wax by the way the water rolls off.

Spray-On Pre-Wax Cleaner

Start with the vehicle recently washed and dried. Remove dirt from the surface of the vehicle by washing it with liquid dish soap and water. Dry it with a clean, soft cotton towel, or let it air dry. When removing dirt from the surface, as much as possible, let the chemicals in the cleaner go directly into the wax layer instead of fighting the layers of dirt and droppings first.


Choose the right wax cleaner. Liquid cleaners can be divided into two categories: Wax Solvent Spray and Non-Abrasive Polishes. Strictly speaking, a wax remover spray is a better cleaner. Spray wax remover sprays on the car, but don’t get too carried away.

  • The spray doesn’t clean deep and doesn’t remove the dirt that’s hiding under the surface. However, since it doesn’t clean deep, it’s a good option for those who like to leave old wax behind and apply new.
  • Non-abrasive polishes clean a little better. They are used for fewer coats and clean the dirt that settles under the surface of the paint. Their main purpose is not to clean the wax, it is a secondary effect.

Spray the cleaner directly onto the surface of the vehicle. Apply the cleaner loosely, but make sure you only get on the paint and not on the plastic or rubber trim. If you get on plastic or rubber, the wax cleaner tends to discolor the surface.

Wipe the surface. Use a soft terry cloth to clean the wax on the paint, moving the cloth from side to side and top to bottom. Spread the wax over the entire length in strips.

Repeat as needed. If the first application of the cleaner does not remove all the wax, you can apply it again. Avoid repeating this too often, as too much spray on unprotected paint can damage it.

Apply an all-purpose upholstery cleaner using a rag. Since plastic and rubber coatings can lose color when wax cleaners are used, a mild universal car exterior cleaner is the best option. Pour the cleaner directly onto a clean terry cloth.

Gently wipe the surface of the trim. Lightly press down on the trim with the rag to remove as much old wax as possible.

Clay Bars

Wash and dry the vehicle before using the clay for wax removal. It is best to remove dirt from the surface of the paint before using the clay. The amount of dirt picked up by the rag will be reduced, thus allowing the rag to collect more wax.


Step 1

Work with a small area at a time. You should use the clay on an area that is no larger than 2 square feet (61 square centimeters). This way, you can focus on each area more thoroughly, resulting in a more even removal.

Step 2

Spread the clay lubricant directly on the surface. Some clays are equipped with clay grease, but sometimes you may need to purchase it separately. The clay grease creates a smooth surface, allowing the clay to slide more easily over the surface of the car without going beyond the surface. The grease should be applied evenly to the paint.

Step 3

Auto bar the clay along the wet area. Wipe from side to side or top to bottom, but apply light pressure, either way, allowing the clay to do most of the work. You may actually be able to hear the clay picking up wax and various contaminants. The clay bar will resist at first, but it is normal and acceptable if no clay is left behind.

Keep driving the area until the clay stops sticking. The wax will be completely removed as soon as the clay slides over the surface without any resistance.

Step 4

Use extra clay grease to remove any clay residue. If any clay pieces are torn and stuck on the paint, spray some grease on them – this will help wipe them off.

Clean the area with a microfiber towel. Remove any excess grease and clay particles with a clean terry cloth.

Step 5

Repeat the process only if necessary. Lightly rub the paint with your fingers. If it is smooth, the clay has done its job. If not, you may need to repeat the process again, focusing on any areas that still seem rough.

Clean the entire vehicle in the same way. Continue working in 2-foot (61 centimeters) areas until all the wax is removed.

Video: How to Remove Car Wax

Understanding how to remove car wax is essential. In this video, how to remove wax from a car with some normal, nothing special, dish soap, a step-by-step process for removing old car wax, also a water test before and after in order to illustrate how well the dish soap actually works in the wax removal process.

How to Remove Car Wax From Plastic Trim

The most important thing when cleaning plastic panels is not to use any abrasive agents, be they powders or pastes, or sponges. Plastic, no matter how strong it is, is very easy to scratch. To clean such panels from carnauba wax, it is best to use a proven detergent, such as liquid soap diluted with water.

Another option to remove car wax is vinegar and water (usually in the following proportions: one part vinegar, two parts water), or a weak alcoholic solution, or even regular isopropyl alcohol. You can also try to remove the wax from the plastic with ordinary baking soda.

Make a solution of soda and water consistency resembling “paste” apply it to the stain and leave it on for about 10 minutes, then just rinse with warm water. You can use a special tool for cleaning plastic. Here is how to get wax off hardwood floor.

Leave a Comment