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Best Car polish

Updated on July 6, 2014

Whats a good car polish

What is actually a good car polish? This is not a straightforward question as a lot depends on what you are looking for. You may want to polish the car every week and want something that is easy on and off or you may want to do it twice a year and dont mind a wax thats very hard to use.

Car polish

When you are selecting a car polish you need to consider the following.

How much time and effort do you want to put into polishing your car.

How often are you going to apply the polish.

What colour is your car.

Is your car mettallic paint with laquer over it or straight colour.

How much do you want to spend.

Once you have looked into these things you can decide what the best polish is. For me the main consideration is the ease of use which more or less defines how often you will have to reapply. Autoglym for intance is a great polish and is easy on and off, leaving a good shine. It doesnt, however, last that long and you will have to do it again in a couple of months. If you go for turtle wax hard polish it will last for a year but you will have arms like popeye before you are finished. I prefer to use the long lasting wax as it gives a deeper shine on the paint work and gives great protection over the winter months when its hard to get a good enough day to polish.


A mistake made by many people is to try and polish their car in bright sunlight. Never do that as car polish when initially put on tends to dry very quickly. This means that it develops a rather sticky white powder substance and also makes it very difficult to remove easily. When you try to do this then there will nearly always be left behind a white dust and powder which is unsightly. Trust me on this one it is almost impossible to get rid of the dust completely and all of your hard work is in vain. One of the best car polishing tips is to apply the car polish or car wax in an area of shade and if that is not possible, inside a garage or some other building.

Tip Number 2

Never try to polish a wet car. Once you have washed your car it should always be rubbed down by a chamois to make sure it is completely dry. However what I have found is that many people give the car a cursory drying and then start to apply the polish as they are in a hurry to get the job done. This is a major mistake and most car polishes need to be applied and work much better if the surface of the car is completely dry. When the surface is dry then you prevent what is called smearing.

Tip Number 3

This is one of my favourite car polishing tips. I would estimate that around nine out of ten people actually apply too much car polish when they begin. I have heard and read about so many people who say, “They said I would get ten applications but I only fot eight,” or “That car polish didn’t last as long as I thought it would.” It is just human nature to believe that if you use a lot of something then it will work much better. I can assure you from many years experience that this is not the case with car polish. A little truly does go a very long way. It also makes it easier to remove, buff and shine.

Tip Number 4

Out of all the tips this is probably the most important one. Only ever apply polish to one section of the car at a time. Pick a wing, the boot, the bonnet etc and apply the polish and then buff it up and shine before moving to the next part of the car. I generally start and do the roof, then I do the bonnet, the boot, the wings, the doors and finally the sills. I truly doesn’t matter which order you do them in but just do them one at a time. Never apply car polish to the entire vehicle and then try to polish it off. You just won’t have enough time and the polish will dry too quickly.

Tip Number 5

Use micro-fiber cloths to apply and shine. You should of course use two different cloths, one for applying and one for shining. There has always been a debate as to whether you should apply the polish in a circular motion or along the natural contours of the car. I apply the car polish in small circular motions and shine along the contours. That has always worked well for me but I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules on this.

Chamois leathers

CleanTools 51149 The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois, 27" x 17", Natural
CleanTools 51149 The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois, 27" x 17", Natural

Chamois are a great way of drying off your car after you wash it

Detailer's Choice 10X02500 Genuine Leather Chamois - 5-Square/Feet - 1-Each
Detailer's Choice 10X02500 Genuine Leather Chamois - 5-Square/Feet - 1-Each

Chamois are a great way of drying off your car after you wash it

Detailer's Choice 10X02200 Genuine Leather Chamois - 2-Square/Feet - 1-Each
Detailer's Choice 10X02200 Genuine Leather Chamois - 2-Square/Feet - 1-Each

Chamois are a great way of drying off your car after you wash it

Clean-Rite Detailer's Choice 9-953 Genuine Leather Chamois Pad - 1-Each
Clean-Rite Detailer's Choice 9-953 Genuine Leather Chamois Pad - 1-Each

Chamois are a great way of drying off your car after you wash it


Washing your car

Car Washing Tips

Thanks for taking the time to read this article which will provide you with some great car washing tips. I should state upfront that many people simply take their car to a car wash but recently I have noticed a huge trend of what are called “hand car washing” outlets. For many years people simply took their cars to some type of drive-thru car wash places and allowed the brushes to do the work.

I tried these as well with some older cars and found that it only washed parts of the car, damaged wing mirrors, damaged aerials and generally did a dreadful job. I have seen many complaints about brush scraping and I simply stopped using these places for any of my cars. I guess that explains the rise of these new hand wash car outlets where a number of people are ready and waiting to wash, wax and valet your car. I have tried and them and have to say they do a really good job and it proves the old proverb that many hands make light work.

The car washing tips on this page however are for those of us who are either old-fashioned and like to wash our own car or simply for any age of person who takes pride in looking after their own car and saving themselves some money along the way. Many people say it is what Sunday morning was invented for. I am not sure I am in that bracket but I do like to wash and polish my own cars and take great pride in doing so. So on to the tips and tricks that I have learned from working in a car showroom.

Rinse Your Car.

This is the one thing that very few people do at the start. You need to rinse your car at the start and at the end of the car washing process. It is so important to thoroughly rinse your car in order to wash away the general dirt and grime. This also has the added advantage of loosening any harder grime that may be on the car. Ideally a hose is perfect for this and if that is not available you will probably need a few buckets of water. The pressure of the hose is important as you want it strong enough to remove the dirt but not that strong that it may damage your car. Always rinse from the top down and allow the dirt to flow off the car and on to the ground.

Which Car Wash Should You Use

I am still stunned by the number of people who use a kitchen or bathroom soap or detergent to wash their cars. They either don’t want to buy an actual car wash or have run out and are using these as a substitute. That is a huge mistake as these are generally far too strong for a car and will contribute to your car’s scratches and will strip off its wax, if used too much. There are so many car washes available in a wide price range so it is very important to use these. They are not that expensive and will certainly never damage your car.

What Do You Need.

Essentially a bucket and sponge or mitt and a hose. Mix the car wash with hot water according to the instructions of the manufacturer. You will need around 3 or 4 buckets of water for a small car and 5 to 6 buckets for a medium-sized car. I will bet that has surprised you and it did when I first went to work in a car showroom. I used to do my entire car with one bucket. The reality is that if you are thoroughly washing your car then you need to clean your sponge or mitt off every few rubs as it will quickly get dirty. Cars are usually dirtier at the bottom from the road spray and I have seen me use an entire bucket on the front of my car.

Car washing should be done in sections. I always do all of the glass first and then start on the roof or top of your car and then proceed to the door, fender and other car sections. Be sure that you do thorough rinsing in between parts. Again this is not something I see people do that often. They tend to soap their car and rinse it all off at once and that is another mistake. After applying soap, you should rinse so that any type of film will not develop. The suds will cause the soap to dry and make an ugly stain if left too long.

After washing all of the the sections, you then need to get the hose out and do a final rinse of the entire body of the car. Use generous amounts of water so that all the soap will be washed away thoroughly. Do not leave crevices and gaps where soap can seep and hide such as where the bonnet meets the car or in and around the boot area.

One good wash like this is usually enough but if you’re not satisfied with the first wash, then do it a second time. It is better to see acceptable results than settle for what is done. It is not bad to wash the second time because in car detailing the first washing is just your way of introducing cleaning. This first washing has taken care of the majority of the dirt that is seen and the second will do the rest of the dirt.

Don’t forget to do the insides of the doors and the sills in a similar fashion.

The final step in the car washing process is to dry the car off with a chamois so as there are no streaks left. This is getting it ready for the polishing and waxing stages. In total to wash a small car using this exact method takes me around 20 minutes and 30 minutes for a medium sized family car.

Please tell us of your favourite polish

What do you think

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    • endamclarnon profile image

      Enda McLarnon 

      6 years ago from Belfast, Ireland

      Meguiars every single a treat


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