Will Washing Your Car Remove The Wax?

Waxing your car is a time consuming and arduous task, especially if you do it yourself. Once you have waxed your car and it has the sparkling shine that highlights your car’s paintwork, you want to make sure the wax coating stays on for as long as possible. The question of what activities preserve the wax on your car and which ones will remove the wax is a very important question.

If you wash your car with a purpose-made car soap, it will preserve the wax layer for longer. Using other household soaps such as dishwashing liquid or laundry soap will remove the wax coating. These soaps are designed to remove oily and waxy stains and will therefore remove the wax coating on your car. Frequent washing, even with car soap, will eventually remove the wax from your car.

Waxing your car is a good method to preserve the paintwork on your car, but wax coatings don’t last indefinitely. Those of you who apply your own wax will not only want to preserve the wax layer for as long as possible to protect the paintwork of your car but also to save you the laborious task of re-waxing again in the short term!

Read more: Can You Use Spray Wax On Windows?

What Is The Best Way To Wash Your Car To Preserve The Wax?

Let’s face it, washing your car is something that just has to get done on a regular basis to keep your pride and joy looking sharp! But how do you wash your car to keep it clean and still keep the wax coating intact for as long as you possibly can?

We have put together some car care strategies that you can put in place to get the most life out of your car wax.

Choose A Quality Car Wax

Choosing a good quality car wax that suits your conditions the best will lay a good foundation on the paintwork of your car. This will make sure your car wax is not only providing the best protection for your car but also ensure you get the maximum life out of the wax coating possible.

It will also ensure you have a good base to work from for your car washing activities. Familiarize yourself with the instructions on your car wax product of choice. The product may recommend that you use a specifically formulated car shampoo to preserve the wax coating.

One of my favorite car waxes is a spray on wax by Shine Armor (Amazon Link). All you need is two towels and a clean car to start with. Check out this easy to use car wax on Amazon here.

Wash Your Car Yourself

Wash your car yourself and by hand. If you care for the finish on your car, it is not a good practice to take your car to a commercial automated car wash. The brushes they use are usually harsh enough to strip the wax from your car. The detergents that they use are also more likely to be the cheapest product on the market and, in some instances, may not even be car soap. This is a sure-fire way to strip or damage the wax coating on your car!

Use A Proper Car Soap

Use a proper car soap to wash your car. Soaps are designed for specific functions, to clean certain types of surfaces and specific types of dirt.

Hand soap is intended for washing your hands and is formulated for this purpose. Dishwashing soap is intended for washing dishes, and the formulation is designed for a specific type of dirt or stains.

Likewise, car soap is specifically designed for use on your car, and as such, it will clean the surface with the appropriate strength chemicals that will not harm the paintwork and will be gentler on your wax coating than other types of soap.

Tip: Never use dish soap for washing your car, chemicals in these soaps can strip away a cars clear coat.

Use The Right Car Washing Technique

Use the correct washing method to wash your car. Yes, there is most definitely a wrong way and a right way to wash your car. Using an incorrect method to wash your car can seriously damage the wax coating on your car and make it necessary to re-apply the wax more frequently.

Using the wrong method to wash your car can not only damage the wax on your car but can be serious enough to actually damage the paintwork with scratches being gouged into the surface.

Don’t Wash Your Car Too Often

Washing your car more often than is necessary can reduce the lifespan of your car wax. If your car is dirty, it is better to wash it since if you leave the dirt to accumulate on your car, it can do more damage than what washing your car frequently will do.

If you live in a location where your car gets really dirty very often, you may have to wash your car more frequently than other people and resign yourself to the fact that you will have to wax your car more frequently too!

If you live in an urban or suburban environment where the amount of heavy dirt is less likely, then washing your car once a week or once every two weeks is a viable frequency. This will particularly be true if your car spends most of the day in covered parking and the nighttime in a closed garage.

Frequent washing, even when using the right method, can reduce the length of time the wax coating will remain intact on your car.

Don’t Leave Your Car In The Sun For Long Periods

This is not a point that is directly related to washing your waxed car, but it is a point worth mentioning since it is a significant factor that affects the life of the wax application on your car.

While it is unavoidable to have your car standing in the heat of the day in a parking lot on occasion, you should try to avoid this situation as a regular occurrence.

Car wax is designed to protect your car from sun damage, but if the wax coating is subjected to long durations of direct sunlight, it will result in a shorter lifespan for the wax coating.

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

The frequency with which your car should be waxed is proportional to a number of factors that reduce the life of your wax coating. These will need to be determined by your own individual circumstances.

The first thing is the choice of the type of car wax that you are using. Carnauba car waxes typically give you a better shine but generally only last about two to four months.

A synthetic car wax will not give as good a shine to your car, but they are more durable, and you may only need to re-apply the wax every four months to a year.

Of course, these time frames will be dependent on the other factors that we have mentioned that could potentially reduce the quality, effectiveness, and longevity of the wax coating.

This is why the question of how often you should apply the wax is very subjective and varies with different circumstances. The instructions on the container of the wax product you are using will give you a good basic idea of how long the wax coating should last under normal circumstances. The product should also indicate the best way to maintain the car surface once it has been waxed.


Washing your car can potentially remove the wax finish from the surface of your car. If you are going to the effort and trouble of waxing your car, it would be prudent to take steps to preserve the wax coating for as long as possible.

Correct washing technique, choice of washing materials and soaps, and the frequency of washing of your car can all have significant roles in how long the wax will last on your car. Typically wax products need to be applied less frequently than you think. Follow the instructions on the product, which will give you the length of time the manufacturers expect the wax to last under normal conditions.

If your conditions are less than normal and require more frequent washing of your car or your car is subjected to harsh conditions on a regular basis, then these time frames will need to be adjusted.

Even though waxing your car can be a laborious task, the end result is well worth the effort. When you are all done, and you take a step back and examine your handiwork, you will be glad you did it!

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