Applying Waxes and Sealants

Applying Waxes and Sealants


First of all let's start with the confusion many have with the difference between waxes, protectants and sealants.  Basically they all fall into the same category and while some do a much better job than others they all do the same thing and that is to enhance gloss and protect your finish.  When it comes down to a traditional wax like your father or grandfather used vs. a newer synthetic protectant or sealant the newer technology has won.  While the traditional wax does protect and enhance gloss the newer protectants and sealants do a much better job and last much longer.  What it comes down to is man perfected the wax! 

With the advent of Ultima clear sealants, trying to describe proper application in one easy how-to became impossible.  That's because Ultima Paint Guard Plus is an apply and walk away product. You read that correctly; with Ultima you simply apply the product on and allow it to dry. 

No buffing is ever required. The Ultima product also prevents the need for wax clean up on trim and other unpainted surfaces. The clear Ultima sealant never leaves a residue on the trim and it is so thin, it won't build up in the cracks.

For all other car wax and sealant products, follow these basic instructions:

  • Work in a shaded area out of direct sunlight an on a cool surface.
  • Use the applicator recommended or provided by the manufacture. If the manufacturer does not make a recommendation, use a foam applicator pad to apply your wax.
  • Work on one area at a time covering 2 to 4 square feet.
  • Follow the wax manufacturer's instructions on whether or not to allow the wax to dry (haze) before buffing.
  • Use a small amount of wax at a time, and rub it in well. If you use too much wax, you're wasting the product and your time.
  • If the wax residue does not buff off easily, switch to a clean microfiber towel or give the wax a little longer to finish curing.
  • Apply your wax in a back-and-forth motion, not in circles. If you are creating swirls, you need to replace your applicator or microfiber towels.

After waxing your car's paint should feel slick and smooth, and be free of streaks and smudges.

What do you do if, after all this work, you still have streaks and areas that don't want to buff out perfectly?  There are several tricks, but the easiest is to park your car in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes.  Let it get warm, but not hot, and then take it back inside the garage.

Next, use your favorite detail spray and a fresh microfiber buffing towel to wipe down the affected areas. The warmth of the sun softens the wax, allowing it to buff out to a clear, high gloss.  If you're using an enthusiast sealant system, use the quick detailer made for the system.

After waxing, use horsehair detailing brushes to remove polish and wax residue from all cracks and crevices if needed.


Detailers who prepare show cars will often layer a Carnauba wax on top of a synthetic wax.  The synthetic wax acts as a gloss layer, while the carnauba wax adds depth and a wet-looking appearance.   The one exception to this is when you use Ultima Paint Guard Plus as it looks good on it's own and there is no need for a Carnauba topper.

One combination that works well is an initial coating of Klasse All-In-One followed by one or more coats of P21S.  Because of its superior coating capabilities, I find that multiple coats of the Ultima Paint Guard Plus product creates a dazzling final finish.

When layering products for show, apply and buff the first coat of wax as you would normally, and allow it to cure for 12 to 24 hours before applying a second coat. Note that the first coat of wax must have time to cure. If the wax does not cure (harden), the second coat will not improve your car's appearance or protection.

With properly applied coats of wax, you will see a noticeable improvement in depth, richness of color and gloss.


After waxing, your final paint finish should be smooth, glossy and wet looking.


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