Difference between Wax and Polish

Difference between Wax and Polish

Often wax and polish are used interchangeably in the car detailing and car wash industry. And failing to recognise the difference between a car wax and polish can be a costly mistake for the everyday person looking to shine up their vehicle. 


What is a wax and polish?

Car Wax

Waxes can come in various forms, spray, liquid and paste. Although they all essentially strive to achieve the same thing. The main difference between these waxes is how long they last. The primary purpose of using wax for your vehicle is to provide paint protection. It is spread as a protective coating on top of your car’s painted surface. Doing so protects your vehicle from environmental contaminants. These pollutants include dirt, rain etc and is best use after a polish. Because of its water-repelling property and high melting point, it is able to withstand heavy rain and blazing hot days – quite the protection your car needs. It ensures that your car’s paint is exposed to wear and tear at a slower rate. Waxing is essential to maintaining your paint’s longevity. Wax in itself is also used in not just the automotive industry, but also a popular option in premium boat detailing Sydney services.

Car Polish

A car polish on the other hand is not the same thing as a wax and should not be used interchangeably. Unlike a wax, a polish contains abrasive content, meaning it’s main purpose is to remove some of the top layer of your car’s clear coat.

The clear coat is the transparent layer that you feel on your car’s surface, it is the last layer applied to the car’s surface. It is there to help protect the colour of the painted surface, much like how skin is to your body. Continuing with that analogy, a polish is like exfoliating your skin, but for the car’s clear coat. It can be used to remove minor blemishes and ultimately increase the shine of your car’s paintwork. 

Difference between a car wax and polish

In summary:

A car wax has no abrasives and is used to complete the finish of a car after a polish or wash has been performed without affecting the clear coat. It involves not paint correction.

A polish, is a rather more aggressive technique, which contains abrasives to remove layers of the clear coat. It does involve some paint correction

Why you need to know the difference

Given the friendly nature of wax, without its abrasiveness, it’s okay to apply it regularly to restore  protection. However the same can’t be said for car polish. You should only polish your car perhaps once or twice a year due to its ‘exfoliating’ property, but this will depend on the aggressiveness of that polishing stage. 

Obviously with all this being said, the polishing itself can vary in aggressiveness. This can depend on the pad you use, the time you spend, the polishing product itself and pressure applied. Please do your research before considering a car polish, or otherwise, speak to a automotive expert.

If you are in need of a polish or an application of car wax for optimal shine and protection, place a booking with Schmicko today. A car wax is included in all of our packages as a bare minimum, we recognise your pride and joy as our top priority. A polish is available in the Pre Sale Detail, perfect for anyone looking to sell their vehicle or simply want to achieve that high-gloss flawless finish. Nonetheless, either option of paint protection can be included as an add on to any car detailing package.



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Confusing the 2 terms (wax & polish) can be a costly mistake