When a customer asks you about the wax you are using or the best type
of wax for their particular car, Shouldn't you know the right and true answer? Well
apparently may professional auto detailers do not know the right answer for the right
look. They just lack the knowledge. In a recent competitor survey which was done without
their knowing it, we casually asked hundreds of detailers while in incognito over a period
of six months about the wax they used. Less than 1 in five were able to give us the
straight answer without BS'ing their way through it. From the Dry Wash, kerosene like
product to the Teflon save the world crowd all we got was a little memorized line of sales
and a trial close. Our team does have the knowledge of such things and we really have no
desire to BS a customer, especially one which will be with us for years. Two reasons; (1)
It is called lying and (2) Double Talk later will be found out. When a professional
detailer embellishes the performance, longevity, finished look before the job, he will
have a unhappy customer later on. Perhaps when he is done when the customer is
underwhelmed for the amount paid or perhaps a month in the future when the
"Teflon" Sealant, which was suppose to last 3-years is worn off and was
supposedly guaranteed by DuPont? Well maybe on pots and pans baked on at 450 degrees, but
there is no such guarantee for their product when used as automotive wax. Dry Wash also is
interesting in that the operators say it does not scratch? Maybe if the car is in the
garage with dust, but a dirty car, well it really needs a washing first and we have seen
where Dry Wash tends to attract dust easily compared to hard shell waxes, of course no one
ever tells the customer that. It is important to know your vendors, their products, what
those products can do, what they cannot do and which is the best solution for the
individual car you are working on.
So what are the types of waxes available and which ones do the best in the professional
auto detailing industry use?
Most plants have a thin protective coating of wax.. Most fruit trees and vegetables
plants have wax on the fruit and vegetables they produce that we eat. Waxes are also
produced by animals, even man makes wax for his ears. Other wax components are found in
minerals and petroleum. And the are Polymer or synthetic, manufactured by man waxes. We
get waxes from a variety of sources really.
Carnuba wax is on the leaves of the carnuba palm trees. The best Carnuba wax comes from
in my opinion the Palm Tress of Brazil. You can tell a good carnuba wax by the water
beads. Candelilla wax comes from a plant that grows in parts of Mexico, Panama, Costa
Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala and sometimes in the southwestern United States. It is a
brown wax and not only have people used it on cars it is used in phonograph records, floor
dressings, and candles. Although it is the major component of candle wax, it is mixed in
with other waxes normally in the candles we use in our homes.
Polymer wax includes the very popular Teflon, yes a polymer brand Name used by DuPont.
Polymer wax is a chain of compounds made of petroleum sources and now a days from Corn
products. Polymers which are strung together are generally applied in specific thick
nesses to clear coats on cars and depending on the mixture can be quite incredible indeed.
So good in fact that they are often called sealants and some last as long as a year when
applied in the right mixtures and thick nesses. The word Polymer is a very vague in this
regard since polymers are used to make plastics, coatings and many other products.
Generally short chains of ethlenic polymers are the type that are used by professional
automotive detailers and auto detailers a like. Many in the aviation industry use it when
doing specialized aircraft cleaning. We estimate that 80% of all automotive detailing and
aviation aircraft cleaning commercial wax is petroleum based wax. Petroleum wax is
chemically inactive in a sense and probably why it is so widely preferred. It is also
cheaper to make than to harvest and has tons of uses. You cannot smell it unless cleaners
are added which is often the case, but still it will not react to cause odor.
Bayberry wax, which comes from the berries the shrub with that name, used in candle
making too. How is this produced? From bees, the same wax in making hives. Beeswax, is
used for many things which are common to man. Things such as candles, polishes, cosmetics
(mostly make-up) crayons, flowers (artificial kind). Bees Wax is another wax that yes you
can use it on your car and it is hard to spread and it will give off a great shine. The
problem is gathers dust too quick, but it does look cool.
Wool wax from animals is also common to man. Lanolin, it is called, after purification
is used in soaps in the industry, and also cosmetics as well as certain ointments for
first aid and which doctor stuff.
Petroleum wax can also be made hard and then we get a new type of wax. Paraffin; used
in paper products, graffiti, petroleum jelly. All Synthetic waxes are compounds of
hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and/or chlorine. Chemists will forever be trying to make the
perfect wax for cars, boats, aircraft to protect us from the harsh climates on the surface
of this little blue planet. And these chemists are driven by desire and need and the
possibilities are endless as new compounds are adding to existing ones to bring up whole
new blending ideas, some will revolutionize our industry but most will simply be duds.
Some will be hyped even though they do not really solve a problem or fix a need. Never the
less, the race goes on to find the best and we should be thinking about what is in that
product before we put it on a customers car, boat, aircraft or prize possession. This is
what the professional detailer does, this is why we are experts in car care and call our
selves auto detailers, rejuvenation specialists and professional auto detailers.
There are so many types of waxes that we know of really. From the organic waxes
discussed containing carbon materials, which melt at fairly low temperatures. The chemical
and biological make-up of waxes is so diverse and complex as well as consideration for
grades, properties, surface uses and life spans that to really understand waxes in depth
as they apply to the automotive detailing industry, also to aircraft cleaning, that this
short essay may need to be supplemented by proper training. Remember Knowledge is power.
Where can you get training? Right here.
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