How to: Wax a Car by Hand
I recently had to show my sister how to wax her car for the first time, so it got me thinking that this could be useful for anyone else who has never taken the leap. You know, those people who pay for the poor-quality waxing that they do for you at the automatic car wash, or those who (like me many years ago) didn’t realize that waxing your car was a functional necessity (it is). While this isn’t an actual picture of my first car, because at the end it was an abomination that didn’t deserve to be commemorated, this is close enough for you to get the idea.
Step 1: Wash Your Car
You probably already knew this, but we’re starting from the very beginning here; nothing left to chance. Start off by washing your car. Since we’re doing a hand waxing, you might as well wash the car by hand too. Pick a nice day in the spring and enjoy the weather as you wash your car to prep it for the wax. So once you get your car and the garden hose set up outside, get to washing. O wait, you’ve never hand washed your car before, have you? You have no sponge or cloth to scrub it, no soap to clean it, no bucket to hold the soapy water. Well that’s fine just run to the store and pick that stuff up, it’s all pretty cheap.
Step 2: Buying Your Supplies
You can go to the local auto store, or just a Walmart, these are universal items. If you go to the auto part store, make sure you really hone in on those items you need; the people who work there usually try to upsell you or get you to buy their current sale package (I don’t hold that against them, they’re usually helpful if you need assistance) so make it clear you know what you want and move on. Just find the sponge and soap (and the bucket!), but don’t go crazy, they can be cheaper options here.
Step 3: Wash Your Car (Part 2)
For real this time. We’re back on track and this is easy. Just scrub the car completely. Get the whole exterior clear of grit and grime so that the wax applies evenly. No heroics here, no matter how good you think you are, you aren’t Cameron Diaz.
You probably aren’t competing with that (I know I’m not). If you try, it’s likely you end up more in this company.
Which is fine if that’s your kind of thing, no judgement here. Just want to make sure you’re prepared.
Step 4: Wax Your Car
Now we’re down to the heart of the matter. Once your car is dry, it’s time to wax the car. If you’re doing this alone, you’re going to want to do it one small section at a time, since you first apply the wax, then buff it off. I find that microfiber cloths work great. You’ll need at least two of them, one to apply and the other to buff the car clean. Having two of each is great, since having a clean cloth is optimal. And here is where you realize that you forgot to get wax or cloths……… Damnit.
Step 5: Buying Your Supplies (Part 2)
Yea so maybe we should have planned a bit better. Or taken up the people at the store on their offer of assistance. Back to the store for cloths and wax. Here you might be willing to spend a little extra, since you want a quality product to protect that precious clearcoat on your car. Try to make a joke about the situation with the auto store employees if that’s your sort of thing. Try not to be a jerk this time.
Step 6: Wax Your Car (Part 2)
Seriously now. For this part, maybe look up a video for specifics (I’m too lazy to find one but there are a bunch available), but the idea is simple: just evenly apply a small amount at a time across a limited area, wait for it to dry, and then buff it clean. Take it slow, and work your way around the car. It’s actually really simple. Go all the way around, one section at a time. Make sure you pay special attention to the hood since it gets so much more sun. You can even double up an area if you aren’t sure about it. The point is that if you take care, and take your time, it’s a worthwhile investment in your car.
Step 7: Kick Back and Relax
Now that you’re finished, take a minute to admire your handiwork. Your car should sparkle. Pack up your stuff and grab an ice-cold beer. Something refreshing should do the trick, but if you don’t have a go to, we can help with that. The point is, you earned something nice. It’s time to Treat. Yo. Self!
Step 8: (I’m So Sorry but) Wax Your Car (Part3)
Fuck we forgot to do the roof.