The Real Difference Between Car Polishes and Car Waxes

This is another article to explain the difference between car waxes and car polishes as this is a question that I get asked all the time so I really want to clarify exactly the difference.

Essentially a wax stays on your car and protects your car paintwork and a polish contains a slight amount of abrasive that acts to remove a miniscule later of paint (dead oxidized paint) that is ready for removal.

In reality though, even though the above two are described as 2 distinctly different products, I am going to confuse matters a little bit more.

x1 shine and seal sports car

Many car polish/ car wax suppliers out there can tell you what they want

You also get combination products that act as both! Many car polish/ car wax suppliers out there can tell you what they want as well – they can describe products in any way they wish to suit them and your job is to read the smaller print to see what the actual products does and what is really contains. There is so much ambiguity in this market, it is very easy to get totally confused about what a car wax or car polish actually is and then decipher which products will give you the results you want. So be aware..

Waxes and polishes and sealants are all totally different products and they all have their pluses and minuses. It is important to understand what the differences are so you get the results you want.

Most people envisage that a car wax protects your car and a polish shines your car and they are right but it goes a bit deeper than that. Yes it is right to apply a polish first and then a wax second so you are getting the ultimate protection and shine but I feel, if you are a really proud car owner, you should know what is happening to your cars paintwork when you follow this 2 step procedure.


Polish usually contains a very small amount of abrasive

Polish usually contains a very small amount of abrasive, and this is most commonly aluminum oxide. The effect this has is in removing dead paint, which has become oxidized so in fact, thinking that this polish abrasive is damaging your car, you should see it in the positive light that this abrasive is actually removing an unwanted dead skin and will return your car to its former shiny glory.

Polishes do contain waxes and oils but these are present in the chemical more for lubrication to make the products easier to apply than for protection. It is important to realise that when you have polished your car with an ordinary bog standard type of car polish, you will have to then protect the paintwork with some form of wax type product as you have exposed your car paintwork to the elements by “stripping off” that top dead layer.

The answer to how long should I polish my car is pretty simple – as soon as you see the paintwork get a little dull and tired, polish it to bring your cars paintwork back to life again. It is certainly not necessary to polish every week or two – we recommend a polish maybe once every 6 months.


Product that combines the job of both a wax and as a polish and as a sealant

Remember I said you can get a product that combines the job of both a wax and as a polish and as a sealant – the top range of these are excellent products but cannot often be found on the shelves. They polish and protect at the same time, saving you that 2 step process of polishing and waxing. But, what you have to be aware of is that these advanced polishers/sealants or whatever you wish to classify them as, have extra protection over many waxes due to the high percentage of PTFE content they contain. This is a slippery substance that is used on frying pans and gives that “non stick” effect. X1 Shine and Seal is one such product that you should check out for sure.


X1 Shine and Seal

X1 shine and seal car polish and paint protectionOne such polish is X1 Shine and Seal – a new product out in 2012 that has incredible properties of achieving the protection and shine all in one hit and it is simply superb on black cars. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

You also need to consider if you are going to polish by hand or with an orbital polisher. To get the ultimate finish I would always polish by hand and take your time – often leave the machines to the garages that are using them day in and day out and know what they are doing with them and how to use them.

You will need to thoroughly wash your car before using and ensure the surface is pristine clean. Two reasons for this – 1) X1 Shine and Seal contains some sealant so you do not want to seal in any dirt,  2) You do not want to introduce any scratch marks as you will be applying this product with a microfibre and in a swirling pattern motion. We highly recommend using  X1 Wash & Gloss prior to using X1 Shine and Seal – a neutral based pH deep cleaning shampoo that cleans deep and removed other products swiftly before applying the X1 Shine and Seal.


This is a great product (with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee) that really works with and compliments X1 Shine and Seal is X1 Wash & Gloss. This is a car wash that is an innovative breed from the UK and America and is a bright pink and a lovely product to work with and a 500 ml bottle goes a long way.

After you have washed your black car thoroughly with X1 Wash & Gloss, let it dry and then think about applying your car polish. Take you time and work with a clean microfiber cloth and work in sections over your black car.  You want to make sure that you buffer up each section of your car to a  showroom shine  before you move onto the next section of your car.

We cannot recommend X1 Shine and Seal as the best car polish out there today as it has some extra special ingredients including PTFE (12%). We have had raving testimonials about this products and you can see them all right HERE

Also check out the magazine reviews right HERE too