Wax Or Polish First: The Ultimate Guide

Should You Wax or Polish First? [And What Is Each One Exactly?]


As a car owner, maintaining the appearance of your vehicle is crucial. One of the most common questions asked by car enthusiasts is whether they should wax or polish their car first. In this article, we will explore the difference between waxing and polishing and provide tips on which one to do first.

What is Waxing?

Waxing is a process of applying a protective layer on the surface of your vehicle. It is mainly done to protect the car’s paint from harmful elements like dust, dirt, and UV rays. Car wax is made of natural ingredients like carnauba or synthetic materials like polymers. Waxing gives the car a shiny and smooth appearance.

What is Polishing?

Polishing is a process of removing imperfections like scratches, swirls, and water spots from the car’s surface. It is done to restore the car’s paint to its original condition. Polishing is usually done with an abrasive compound or a machine polisher. It gives the car a mirror-like finish.

Which One to Do First?

The answer to this question depends on the condition of your car’s paint. If your car has imperfections like scratches or swirls, you should polish it first. Polishing will remove these imperfections and prepare the surface for waxing. Waxing after polishing will protect the newly restored paint. However, if your car’s paint is in good condition, you should wax it first. Waxing will protect the paint and give it a shiny appearance. Polishing after waxing will remove the protective layer of wax, and you will have to wax it again.

How to Wax and Polish Your Car?

Waxing and polishing your car is not a difficult task. Here are the steps to follow: 1. Wash your car with a car wash soap and dry it with a microfiber towel. 2. If your car has imperfections, use a polishing compound or a machine polisher to remove them. 3. Apply a small amount of wax on a foam applicator pad and spread it evenly on the car’s surface. 4. Let the wax dry for a few minutes and buff it off with a microfiber towel. 5. If needed, repeat the process for a second coat of wax.

Tips for Waxing and Polishing Your Car

1. Always use a clean and dry microfiber towel for waxing and polishing. 2. Apply wax and polish in a shaded area to avoid the product from drying too quickly. 3. Use a dual-action polisher for polishing to avoid burning the paint. 4. Use a clay bar to remove contaminants like tree sap and bird droppings before waxing and polishing.


In conclusion, whether you wax or polish your car first depends on the condition of your car’s paint. If your car has imperfections, polish it first, and then wax it. If your car’s paint is in good condition, wax it first and then polish it. Following the steps and tips mentioned in this article will help you maintain your car’s appearance and protect its paint for years to come.