To wax by hand or machine? - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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To wax by hand or machine?

Know the advantages and disadvantages of each method.


Many operators apply wax literally by hand using an easy-on/easy-off liquid or cream wax with short-term durability. This has several potential disadvantages. Because the wax is applied by hand, several problems can occur.

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There is the potential for chemical waste from using too much wax. The application is often spotty or takes a long time to apply thoroughly and evenly. Because there is too much chemical use, the owner/operator often tries to save money by using an inexpensive product. We find the cheaper liquid waxes provide inferior visual results since the car doesn’t look much better than it did before the wax application.

Solution — The solution is to apply the wax using an orbital polisher and soft foam pad. The motion of an appropriate orbital polisher imitates hand motion but with much greater speed. With the correct training the technician can apply express wax much faster than by hand, yet the application tends to be more even and thorough.


Moreover, since the orbital machine applies wax more evenly and in lighter coats, it uses as much as 75 percent less product than hand application. This allows the owner to select better-quality cream waxes that improve the final appearance and feel of the paint.

Some operators object to the use of machines because they believe this disqualifies the use of the term hand wax. I suggest the important activity of hand waxing is the removal of the wax residue, regardless of how it is applied. The hand removal involves the finesse and attention to detail that makes the finished car look great. Objections by picky customers can be assuaged by reassuring them the machine applies the wax more thoroughly and evenly than by hand.


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