How To Remove Freshly Applied Wax From Your Car? (Answered)

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removing fresh wax from the car

Even though it’s not common, people sometimes want to remove recently applied wax from their cars. Removing new wax from vehicles isn’t straightforward, and today I’ll show you my way of removing new waxes from your car.

Three steps to strip freshly applied 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 some rubbing alcohol distilled with water in a 50:50 ratio

You can use plenty of techniques, but since they are primarily for removing old car waxes, most of them won’t guarantee you good results. Very often, there will still be some wax left and still bonded to the paint. 

By following the advice in this article, you’ll be able to remove all the wax successfully so that you can apply new protection to the paint.

This advice is probably different than most on the internet, but I’m 100% sure that it’ll remove all the wax from the car’s clear coat.

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. 

Here’s my complete guide on properly washing your vehicle, so check it out. You should follow that post to wash your car correctly. 

The only difference is that instead of pH-neutral shampoo, this time, you’ll have to use a shampoo that’s removing waxes and sealants, and I recommend you use Chemical Guys Slate Car Shampoo (check the price on Amazon now).

Since the wax you’re removing is freshly applied and still pretty resistant, strip wax shampoos won’t remove it altogether. However, they’ll loosen it up so that you can remove it entirely with the following steps below.

When you finish washing the vehicle, don’t forget to dry the car’s paint completely. I like to use microfiber drying towels for that purpose (check my recommendations).

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

When the car is spotless 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 waxes from the car’s paint.

For this purpose, I prefer to use Turtle Wax ICE Speed Compound (check the price on Amazon now). 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 hand polishing your vehicle, 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. 

Long story short, here’s what you should do:

  • 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 to remove swirl marks and scratches

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 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 are the steps you should do:

  • 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

As I already told you, when you do all the steps above, the car’s paint should be spotless, and without any waxes 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 were 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 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, that’s much affordable and still gives me unique details.

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.

Why Would You Remove a Newly Applied Wax From Your Car

You may wonder why someone would remove a freshly applied coat of wax from their car. There are many reasons, and you can find yourself in that situation too.

Reasons to remove fresh wax from your car:

  • You don’t like that wax product and want to re-apply the other one.
  • You’re comparing a few different waxes.
  • You decide that you want better and more modern paint protection, such as paint sealant or ceramic coating.
  • After applying car wax, you realize that there are many swirl marks and scratches and that the car needs polishing. And before polishing, you should always remove all waxes and sealants from the car’s paint. 

Now you see that you could be in the same situation, too. 


Removing old and degraded waxes from any vehicle is easy and a quick process. But, as you can see, removing recently added waxes is a bit longer process that requires more products and techniques. 

However, since car waxes don’t last too long, maybe you can even wait for them to weaken and then use the standard procedure for removing old waxes by using wax strip car shampoos only. 

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 fresh waxes from any vehicle. 

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

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