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Wax FAQs

What is the difference between a wax and a polish?

Although the two names are used interchangeably by most people, a wax should only provide paint protection while a polish should only provide paint correction. 

While most products that are labeled wax or polish contain both polishing agents and wax, Optimum Car Wax offers true protection without polishing since in many cases you do not need to polish and remove paint. We also offer Optimum Polish to address any paint correction needs. And we offer Poli-Seal if there is a desire to do correction and protection in one step.

How can I tell if the product I am using has polishing agents?

If the product label says that it leaves a powdery residue, you can be sure that it contains abrasives. Some of the conventional wax/polishes contain as much as 20% by weight polishing agents. Optimum Car Wax is the only product that is abrasive-free, is as durable as paste wax, and offers UV protection.

Why is there some haziness after I wax my car with Optimum Car Wax?

Depending on the temperature and the humidity, you may see some haziness. Lightly buff the surface with Optimum Microfiber Towel and you will see the increase in gloss right away.

Why do most wax /polish products contain abrasives?

Conventional waxes and polishes were designed for older enamel finishes to remove oxidized pigments and colorants. Paint technology has come a long way in the past decade; however, the wax /polish manufacturers still offer the same old technologies.

How can I protect the clear coat finish on my car?

Only use automotive car wash soaps to wash your car. Use Optimum Polishing Cloths for drying and/or waxing your car. Apply Optimum Car Wax with UV once every four months to the painted surfaces to get maximum protection.

What causes swirl marks on my car paint?

Swirl marks are created by two major processes: (1) Applying conventional wax /polishes and (2) using terry towels or any other towels that have a rough texture.

What is the difference between liquid and paste wax /polish?

The only difference between liquid and paste waxes /polishes is thickening agents. Both conventional liquid and paste waxes/polishes contain abrasives which can harm the clear coat finish.

What about using wax /polish products that say clear coat safe?

These products generally contain finer polishing agents which cause finer scratches and swirl marks.

What is the benefit of UV inhibitors in Optimum Car Wax?

UV inhibitors help keep the color from fading and are present in the clear coat finish. These become deactivated or consumed over time. The UV inhibitors in Optimum Car Wax augment these and help protect the paint from fading.

How do I remove swirl marks or deep scratches?

Most wax/polishes contain fillers that hide not remove swirl marks. These paint imperfections will become visible after a few washes and the swirls "came back".

To remove swirl marks/scratches, use Optimum Polish via rotary or random orbital polishers with light cut or finishing foam pad. Optimum Polish has no fillers and will remove, not hide, swirl marks.

To add protection to the finish, just spray OCW on the residue and wipe it off with a microfiber towel for the fastest way to a perfect finish and Optimum shine.

Why should I wax my car if it has a clear coat finish?

Clear coat finishes contain additives to reduce scratching and marring and protect the clear coat from environmental elements such as acid rain, bird droppings, tree sap, etc. These additives also cause water beading on new cars. After a few months, these surface protectants are eroded by the environmental elements. Optimum Car Wax will restore this protective layer. Furthermore, it helps reduce fading from exposure to the sun.

What is the benefit of UV inhibitors in Optimum Car Wax?

UV inhibitors help keep the color from fading and are present in the clear coat finish. These become deactivated or consumed over time. The UV inhibitors in Optimum Car Wax augment these and help protect the paint from fading.

Can I use an orbital buffer with Optimum Car Wax to wax my car?

Absolutely. In fact, most detail shops use Optimum Car Wax with high speed polishers or orbital buffers. You must use a low density foam pad with your orbital buffer or polisher. This combination results in a very high gloss finish in a few minutes.

Should I use polish/wax to remove bugs, tree sap, or road tar?

No, absolutely not. Polish /wax products scuff the paint and there is no reason to damage the paint in the process of cleaning it. The best way to remove these is with the Optimum Glass Towel. Just dampen this amazing cleaner and buff out these nasty road films off your car without using any chemicals!

Should I use polish/wax to remove oxidized paint?

Most people in the detailing industry refer to the surface contamination of paint as oxidation. This baked on dirt and grime needs to be cleaned before waxing and in fact, regular application of Optimum Car Wax will keep these contaminates from adhering to paint.

In the paint manufacturing terminology, however, oxidation is the reaction of polymers in paint with oxygen. This process takes place on all surfaces continuously. Surface oxidation was a major issue with the older enamel paints that were not clearcoated, not because of paint oxidation, but because of the oxidation of colorants/pigments which affected their appearance by making them look dull.

By using abrasive containing waxes/polishes, the top oxidized layers of the colorants/pigments of enamel paints were removed, which exposed the fresh unoxidized colorants/pigments with the original gloss. This removal of paint was evident by the change in the color of the rag used in this process.

To keep the pigments/colorants from oxidation and color change, car manufacturers added a thin clear paint system with UV protectants on top of the older enamel paints. Removal of clearcoat paint with abrasive containing polish/wax products, reduces the thickness of clearcoat and its UV protection which leads to eventual failure of the paint system. There is no change in color of the rag anymore since the removed paint is clear. (see the "Published Articles" for more in-depth information).

What conditions should I avoid when using Optimum Car Wax?

In order to avoid baking the wax and making it difficult to move, it is best to apply Optimum Car Wax in the shade when the paint surface is cool to the touch. You can even apply Optimum Car Wax in a garage or other enclosed areas since it contains no chemical solvents whatsoever.

What should I do if I spray Optimum Car Wax on my black trim?

No problem. Since Optimum Car Wax has no abrasives, it will not cause damage to moldings or trims. In fact applying Optimum Car Wax on these surfaces will protect them as well.

Optimum Protectant FAQs

Does Optimum Protectant Plus change the appearance of these surfaces to a glossy finish?

No. There are some products that are oily and can turn these surfaces shiny temporarily. Optimum Protectant Plus brings back the original color of these surfaces and keeps the colors from fading over time.

Why do I need to use a protectant on the vinyl or leather surfaces?

These surfaces are treated to give them protection against scratching and from the elements and to make cleaning easier. Over time, these protectants are lost due to abrasion and exposure to the sun. Optimum Protectant Plus replenishes these oils as well as adding UV protectants to these surfaces.

What is the difference between Optimum Protectant Plus and other vinyl or leather protectants?

Most other products use topical oils that leave a greasy film behind which acts as dust magnet and is transferred to anything that comes in contact with. Optimum Protectant Plus only contains oils that penetrate and adhere to these surfaces which offers long-lasting protection.