Ask an Expert: How to remove marks from a car after applying wax - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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Ask an Expert: How to remove marks from a car after applying wax

Question: Is there any way to remove swirl marks from a vehicle after wax has already been applied? One detailing expert weighs in.

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Question:

I have a new Mustang that I waited far too long to do my first hand wash, and as I was washing it yesterday I found some very bad tree sap stains. I went out and got some rubbing compound, and that successfully took out the stains, but I was left with cloudy areas.

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I applied spray wax in hopes of resolving this issue, but it did not. I then realized that I shouldn’t have waxed yet. I ran out and got some polishing compound, and paste wax, and treated the cloudy areas. This didn’t help at all — I’m assuming because the wax had already sealed it. I know I messed up big time by applying the wax when I did, but is there any way I can remove the swirl marks AFTER I’ve already waxed? I’ve heard there are wax strippers, but I’m really not sure if that’s the best course of action.

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Any help would be very much appreciated.

Answer:

Those areas are cloudy in part because of the rubbing compound, which will put thousands of tiny micro-scratches into the paint surface, and in part because of the sap itself.

You will need to rub the area with a finer polish, perhaps one designed to remove micro-scratches or swirl marks. In the business, we use polishers to do this work in minutes. By hand, it will take quite a while.

The best advice is to find an IDA-certified (International Detailing Association) detailer in your area to buff out the cloudy spots: www.the-ida.com.

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Any compound or polish that you might use will likely “erase” the wax that you put on — wax is not that strong.


Answer provided by Prentice St. Clair, an International Detailing Association (IDA) Recognized Trainer and Certified Detailer (Skills-Validated). As the president of Detail in Progress Inc., he has provided training and consulting to carwash and detail operations since 1999. He is available at 619 701-1100 or [email protected].

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