Is Liquid Wax Easier To Buff Than Paste Wax And Why?

In this article, you will learn:



  • How to save time and effort waxing your car

  • Some of the differences (and similarities) between paste and liquid wax

  • The importance of prepping your paint job before you wax

When it comes to detailing products, car owners have never had more choices than they do today. With car wax alone, there are paste, cream, liquid and spray formulas. Some are all-natural carnauba waxes, others have synthetic wax polymers while others, like our Hybrid Solutions Pro to the Max Wax, get a supercharge from ceramic and pure graphene. So how is the average person supposed to choose what's right for them?

Part of that decision should depend on whether the product is formulated for maximum performance, but another deciding factor should be how user-friendly it is. After all, taking care of your car is supposed to be a labor of love, not just a labor. A spray-and-wipe application is about as simple as it gets, so we'll skim past that topic for now; but, if you're choosing between paste and liquid waxes, how do you know which is easier, and which will work the hardest to protect your car or truck?

Easy on, easy off

Without question, no matter the brand, liquid waxes are easy to apply and require less elbow grease to buff away the white residue. Because of their consistency, liquids create less resistance as they flow across the clear coat on your car. Thicker, stickier pastes require more work to spread across your finish and buff to a shine.

These differences in consistency can also affect the results of your detailing work. If you choose a liquid wax, be especially careful to apply a generous and consistent amount of wax to the surface of your car. If you don't, it can be easy to apply too little wax in some areas as you work across each panel of your car. On the other hand, consistent application is one area in which paste waxes excel. Because they spread on more like a coating, paste waxes give you foolproof application every time you detail your car.

The takeaway is pretty simple. For easier application, go with liquid wax, but make sure you apply it consistently.

The durability question

There was a time when we might have said there was a tradeoff between liquid and paste waxes. Liquid waxes were easier to apply, but paste waxes lasted longer. That's not necessarily the case any longer. With advances in chemistry, many liquid waxes today can last just as long and protect your car just as well as many paste waxes. This is especially true when you make sure your liquid wax has a mix of carnauba wax and longer-lasting synthetic polymers, ceramics and/or graphene to make it the ultimate liquid wax. Additionally, many detailers like to follow up or touch up their liquid waxes using a spray wax as a topper. A spray like our Hybrid Solutions Pro Graphene Flex Wax adds a second layer of long-lasting, glossy protection.

But the products themselves can only do so much. Preparing the clear coat before you apply a wax will impact its durability a great deal, regardless of whether you choose liquid or paste. Always wash and dry your car thoroughly first. If there are any embedded contaminants in the paint, remove them with a clay bar before you wax. And, if your clear coat has any oxidation, scratches or swirls, remove them with a polishing compound such as our Premium Grade Polishing Compound. Or you can take care of paint correction and waxing in one step with our dual action liquid Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish & Wax.

Prepping the paint surface will help your liquid wax last far longer than it would on a surface that isn't prepared properly.

The easy way to use liquid wax

Make sure your car is cool to the touch and out of direct sunlight. Once the paint surface is clean, dry and prepped, apply three dime-sized drops of liquid wax to a foam applicator pad and spread the wax across a 2" x 2" section of your car, working in small, overlapping circles. Or, if you're using a machine polisher, apply three dime-sized drops to a buffing or finishing pad and apply it evenly across the panel. We recommend starting with the horizontal surfaces such as the hood, roof and trunk. These areas endure the most punishment from the sun, chemicals and contaminants. Then move on to the vertical surfaces such as the doors, rockers panels and front and rear bumpers. Allow the wax to dry to a haze and wipe gently away with a clean, folded microfiber towel, using a back-and-forth motion.

Continue around the car, working in 2" x 2" sections, following the same steps, until you have waxed the entire vehicle. As you work, be careful to keep wax away from unpainted plastics and rubber trim as wax can stain these porous materials. If any wax contacts these surfaces, scrub it off as quickly as possible with a damp microfiber cloth.

Handy tips to make your work even easier

  • Make sure you have several clean microfiber cloths before you start the job. This way, you can switch to a fresh, clean towel once each becomes saturated with wax.
  • You should never need to apply undue pressure or scrub to remove residual wax. If any of the cured wax seems difficult to wipe away, simply dampen a microfiber towel with water and gently wipe clean.
  • Keep a soft detailing brush or extra-soft toothbrush handy. These can help you remove any wax that may have gotten into gaps between the car's panels.

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