A guide to polishing and waxing your vehicle

Car polish helps to smooth out scratches and imperfections in your car's paint. Using a chemical formula that is slightly abrasive (like very gentle liquid sandpaper), the polish will get your paintwork looking as good as new when applied properly.

How to polish a car by hand

If you want the ultimate shine for your vehicle, then you should know that it's all in the preparation. You put in what you get out - so take your time, and your car will be looking gleaming and new before you know it!

Before you start, you'll need some polish. We'd recommend our Award Winners kit.

Step One: Prepare and clean

Clean your car using a microfibre towel, then dry it off - don't miss a drop or the polish effect won't be as strong.

Step Two: Time to polish

Apply a small amount of polish to your cloth or foam pad and gently spread it around your paintwork. Then start working in the polish - some people like to use circular motions, and some like to go up and down, then left and right, but either way works. Just keep following the contours of the car and rub the polish in until it's almost transparent.

Leave the polish to cure if required. Some polishes need to be left on the car, so check the packaging to see whether you need to do this.

Top Tip: Run your finger through the polish once it has been left for the right amount of time. If it comes away clean it's ready to take off. If it doesn't, it needs to cure a little longer

Step Three: Get Buffing!

Use a clean, very soft cloth (microfibre towels are great for this) and buff off the polish residue, making sure to keep folding the cloth to use the clean areas. Once your car is looking exceptionally clean and shiny, you're all done!

Car polishing tips

  • You don't need to use a lot of polish to do a good job!
  • Make sure to clean up all of the polish residues from around panel gaps, seals and the badges on your vehicle.
  • Some manufacturers have particular methods for getting the best results from their polish, so check the bottle or packaging beforehand to make sure.

How to machine polish a car

If you don't fancy putting in the hard work, then why not invest in a machine polisher? Our dual-action machine polisher is perfect for removing small scratches and applying polish, with three different heads covering each job.

Apply your polish to the machine's pad and gently spread it around the area you're working on. Turn on the polisher and use a slow to medium speed to work in the polish. Keep a light pressure and keep the pad level - you don't need to 'scrub' the paint, just let the polish do the work!

Be aware that it is possible to damage your paint with a machine polisher, but with some care and attention, you can quickly get a great finish on your car or motorbike.

How to wax your car

Once you've used polish to get your paint into a better condition, it's a good idea to add a protective layer of wax or sealant. This extra layer covers the newly glossy paint and protects it from muck, as well as adding even more shine!

Apply your wax to a microfibre cloth or applicator and start spreading the wax in circular motions with medium pressure, covering every inch of the bodywork. Once you have covered the area and left it to dry for 5-10 minutes, you will start to see a dull haze. This haze indicates that it's ready to take off.

Using a clean, high-quality microfibre towel, apply medium pressure in circular motions to remove the wax. For extra shine, buff off the wax for a second time with the clean side of the microfibre towel.

Top tips on waxing

  • Don't use the same microfibre towels for cleaning, polishing and waxing
  • Use high-quality microfibre towels - you will notice the difference
  • Be sure to read the instructions on your wax as instructions may slightly differ between products.

How often should you wax your car?

We recommend applying car wax around four times a year, to match the changing of the seasons.

If you have larger scratches or dents that need removing, then check out our range of scratch and paintwork repair products. You'll soon have your car looking as good as new, helpful if you plan on selling it!

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