How To Remove Wax From Your Car? The Guide

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guy removing wax from his black car

Here is my guide on how to remove wax from your car. It’s slightly different than others on the web, but it works flawlessly, and I never have any leftover wax sitting on my car after following this process that I’m about to show.

Three steps to strip wax from your car:

  1. Thoroughly wash the vehicle with wax remover shampoo.
  2. Polish a car by hand with some very light polish, such as Turtle Wax ICE Speed Compound.
  3. Wipe with rubbing alcohol distilled with water in a 50:50 ratio.

Step 1: Wash The Car By Using a Wax Strip Shampoo

First things first, you need to wash your car thoroughly. You need to make sure that there’s no dirt on the vehicle. 

The only difference is that instead of pH-neutral shampoo, this time, you’ll have to use a shampoo that removes waxes and sealants, and I recommend you use Chemical Guys Slate Car Shampoo (check below).

Chemical Guys CWS80316 Clean Slate Deep Surface Cleaning Car Wash Soap (Removes Old Car Waxes,...
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When you finish washing the vehicle, don’t forget to dry the car’s paint completely.

Step 2: Hand Polish The Car With Turtle Wax Ice Speed Compound

When the car is clean from any dirt and grime and the wax has been loosened, you should now quickly hand polish the vehicle by using some light polish. That way, you’ll remove 99% of the wax from the car’s paint.

For this purpose, I prefer to use Turtle Wax ICE Speed Compound. In my opinion, that’s the best car polish for stripping freshly applied car waxes. It’s not a strong compound, so it doesn’t require a finishing polish afterward, and it doesn’t leave any marring on the paint.

Here’s my guide for polishing cars by hand, so make sure to check it out. However, you don’t have to follow it strictly. You only need to read the 3rd and 4th steps. 

Here is how to polish a car to remove waxes:

  • Pour a few drops of the compound into the applicator pad.
  • By using light pressure, work the product into the paint.
  • You don’t have to make too many passes since you’re not polishing the vehicle; you’re removing the wax from it.
  • After each panel, wipe it down with a clean microfiber towel. That way, you’ll remove any polish and wax residue from the paint.

You can also do it by using a machine polisher, but I want to make this guide as simple as possible so that anyone can do it, even without any specific tools. 

Also, there’s no need for machine polishing since you only need to apply light pressure, and there’s no need to be as thorough as when compounding the car. 

Step 3: Wipe The Car With Rubbing Alcohol Mix

After quickly polishing your vehicle, you should also wipe the car with rubbing alcohol and water. If by any chance there is some wax still left on the paint, rubbing alcohol mixed with water will remove it. 

Also, whenever you’re polishing a car, you should wipe it with rubbing alcohol and water mix. That mix will remove all the polishing oils left on the vehicle, so you can safely apply a new form of paint protection, whether it’s wax, sealant, or ceramic coating.

Here is how to wipe a car with rubbing alcohol mix:

  • Find a plastic spray bottle.
  • Mix rubbing alcohol and water in a 50:50 ratio.
  • Spray it on the car (do one panel at a time).
  • Let it sit on the panel for one minute.
  • Wipe it off with a clean microfiber towel.

After you wipe the whole car, you’re finished with removing wax from your vehicle. 

How To Check If The Wax Is Completely Removed

When you do all the steps above, the car’s paint should be spotless and without any wax on it. However, there’s always a chance that there’s still some wax left on the color. It depends on the type of wax you are using, its resistance, quality, etc.

That’s why I always like to check if there’s still any wax sitting on the paint. 

Here’s how to do the test:

  • Spray some water on the car.
  • If the water is beading and quickly going off of paint, there’s still some wax left.
  • If the water stays on the car’s surface, and there’s no beading, you have successfully removed wax from your vehicle.

This test only takes a couple of minutes, so it’s not taking a lot of your time. I think that you should always do it. 

Some people think that the beading test isn’t reliable enough. If you think that too, there’s also another way to test the existence of wax, and it’s called the Squeak Test (check it here). 

If, by doing those tests, you realize that there’s still wax on the paint, you should do the above steps again. Probably, washing the car by using a wax strip shampoo only will be enough this time.

What’s The Best Car Shampoo Wax Remover

There are plenty of strip wax shampoos, and it’s tough to choose the one that’s the best. Some people are even using dish soap to remove waxes, but I don’t recommend doing that unless you really want to save every cent. 

In my opinion, Adam’s Strip Car Wash Soap is the best car shampoo wax remover, but it’s too expensive compared to other products. That’s why I use Chemical Guys Clean Slate. It’s much more affordable and still gives me unique details.

Adam's Polishes Strip Car Wash Soap, Sealant & Car Wax Remover Shampoo, Thick Suds For Car Cleaning,...

So, if you’re stripping waxes from vehicles every here and there, I think that you should use Adam’s Strip Car Wash Soap since it’s the best out there.

On the other hand, if you strip waxes very often, you have to be profitable, especially if you’re a professional auto detailer. In that case, I recommend you use Chemical Guys Clean Slate – it has an acceptable price and is still very effective in removing waxes and sealants.


I tried to be as simple as possible while remaining thorough in this complete guide. I hope that now you know the right way of removing waxes from any vehicle.

Again, this advice may be different from other ones on the internet, but it indeed works. I wish you many happy wax removals and re-applying too.

If you don’t know which car wax to apply, check out my recommendation on the best car waxes on the market.

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