Will Washing Your Car Remove Wax?

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If you’ve spent many hours waxing your vehicle to get the perfect shine and form a protective layer, the last thing you want to do is wash it off a few weeks later.

Washing your car will not remove the wax, provided you are using a car shampoo and have used it in the correct ratio. You should avoid using regular household detergents as this will impact the wax and isn’t good for your vehicle.

In this guide, I’ll delve into the reasons why car shampoo is able to remove dirt but not wax and share some helpful tips for when you do want to remove the wax.

Will Car Shampoo Remove Car Wax?

Washing your vehicle with car shampoo will have minimal impact on any wax you have applied, providing you use the shampoo it in the correct ratios as outlined on the bottle.

This is because car shampoo has been designed with the correct chemical formula to wash off dirt, without impacting the protective layers you have applied.

They do this by using a pH neutral formula. If you paid attention in chemistry class, you’ll know that this means it is neither acidic nor alkaline, it’s chemically neutral.

Of course, if you keep washing it time and time again, eventually the wax will be impacted.

You should avoid using household detergents to wash your vehicle, these are designed for removing tough dirt like grease so will strip of wax and be abrasive to your car’s paintwork.

What’s the Best Car Shampoo?

I personally recommend Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo.

It a low foam solution and makes a glossy water repellent barrier which makes washing and rinsing much easier

The product has a pH neutral formula which ensures that dirt is removed with minimal impact to any wax or polish you have applied.

In addition, the price is very affordable and will last a long time thanks to a highly concentrated formula.

How to Remove Wax from Car

If you’re applying a new layer of wax to your vehicle, it’s a good idea to remove the old layer as this will help it bond to the car better and provide full protection.

Here are three ways you can remove wax from your car:

Wax Remover – Best for beginners

A wax remover has been designed especially for the job, so it’s formulated to be gentle on the surface and suitable for frequent use.

These are usually spray on products which should be applied before you wash the vehicle.

You should be careful not to use the wax remover on plastic trims as it can cause the colour to fade.

Clay Bar – Best for professionals

A clay bar is a light block of resin (it’s not actually clay) that removes contaminants from your cars surface.

It is typically used to remove stains and deep dirt such as tree sap or brake dust that have bonded to the paint and can’t be removed with washing. It will also remove any layers of wax that you have applied as the wax particles are also bonded to the paint.

Although this is one of the most effective methods to remove wax, a clay bar requires lots of lubrication on your cars surface and can cause damage if not used correctly.

The clay bar method isn’t recommended for beginners.

Household Soap – Works but not recommended

Standard household detergent such as washing up liquid will remove any layers of wax from your vehicle, along with the dirt.

However, the chemicals in these products are not formulated for vehicles.

They are highly abrasive as they have been designed to remove tougher dirt and stains, so it’s not recommended for use on your vehicle, even if you want to remove the wax.

Will an Automatic Car Wash Remove Wax?

No, an automatic car was won’t remove wax from your vehicle any more than hand washing would.

However, there are other reasons why an automatic drive through car wash is not recommended, not least because the bristles are usually full of dirt which are a common cause of scratches to vehicles.

How Long Does Car Wax Last?

The length of time car wax lasts depends on the type of wax you use and the weather. If you wash the car very frequently then this may also have an impact.

The two main types of wax for your car are Carnauba Wax and Synthetic Wax.

Carnauba Wax is a natural wax that gives a warmer shiner, this will usually last around 1-2 months.

Al alternative is Synthetic Wax, this lasts much longer with anywhere between 4-6 months, some brands even claim up to 12 months protection.

You should be able to tell if the wax has worn off your vehicle by spraying some water on to a dry area of the car and seeing if it beads up, this means the wax is still intact.