Spray Wax Vs Paste Wax (Which Is Better?)

Spray Wax Vs Paste Wax (Which Is Better?)


Waxes are necessary to help protect your finish and extend the life of your clear coat. Without some form of paint protection, your finish will begin to oxidize and peel over time. Waxes provide uv protection and help prevent environmental contaminants from sticking to and breaking down the paintwork.

Both spray liquid and paste types of wax provide this protection but they do so in very different ways.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of spray wax vs paste wax, as well as best uses for each of these wax products.

Spray Wax Vs Paste Wax

Spray wax and paste wax really shouldn’t be compared on an apples to apples basis since they work differently.

Paste wax is a more durable product to be used as a base paint protection.

Spray wax is best used for topping up liquid or paste wax that is loosing its water beading properties and shine.

What Is Spray Wax For Cars?

Spray wax is a watery liquid wax that you can simply spray on your paint surface to provide a little protection from UV rays and environmental contaminants while boosting shine.

The purpose of spray wax is to be a convenient method of improving fading paste wax or paint sealant. Think of it as a booster wax.

Spray Wax Advantages

  • Easy to use
  • Adds gloss and shine

Spray Wax Disadvantages

  • Provides little protection
  • Doesn’t last very long
  • Must be used on a clean vehicle

When To Use Spray Wax

A spray wax should be used after a car wash to help boost the existing wax. A spray wax needs to be applied to a clean surface to prevent the chance of swirl marks and light scratches in the clear coat.

Spray wax isn’t meant to be the primary wax used to protect your finish. Without a good paste wax or paint sealant as the base protection, a spray wax will not provide enough lasting protection from ultraviolet rays and environmental contaminants.

Pro Tip: Use a quick detailer instead of spray wax if you want to touch up a lightly dusty car or truck and add shine and a little protection to the paintwork.

How To Use Spray Wax

Spray waxes are designed to be easy to use. They are meant to be used on a clean vehicle, so only use immediately after washing your car or truck.

  1. Be sure to work in a shaded area, preferably a garage or car port.
  2. Spray the wax on the paint job and wipe away with a microfiber towel.
  3. It’s best to work in 2 foot sections to prevent the wax droplets from drying before you have a chance to wipe them away.
  4. Repeat in 2 foot sections until finish.
  5. Avoid spraying wax on plastic trim, especially textured plastics. When it dries it can leave a white haze that is difficult to remove.

How Long Does Spray Wax Last?

Spray waxes typically only last 2 weeks or so before their shine and protective properties begin to fade. This is one of the reasons that a spray wax isn’t meant to be the main wax for protecting your finish from sun damage and road grime.

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What Is Paste Wax For Cars?

Paste waxes are often natural carnauba wax products that provide good paint protection and a very deep gloss and shine. Some paste waxes will incorporate synthetic polymers to improve the longevity of their protection.

They typically come in a circular tin with an applicator pad. The paste is quite thick and can be a little difficult to work with for some.

Carnauba wax is prized by many detailers, especially car enthusiasts with show cars, due to the deep gloss that it produces.

Synthetic waxes are formulated with synthetic polymers and resins that better bond with the paintwork and provide longer lasting and overall better protection. Synthetic waxes don’t usually have the deep gloss of a carnauba product though.

Paste Wax Advantages

  • Carnauba paste lasts up to 3 months while synthetic formulas can last more than a year.
  • Carnauba creates an amazing deep gloss shine on the vehicle finish

Paste Wax Disadvantages

  • More difficult and more work to apply
  • Doesn’t last as long as more popular types of wax such as liquid paint sealants that can last over a year

When To Use Paste Wax

Paste wax should be applied to a freshly cleaned car or truck. This is primarily to allow the wax to properly bond with the clear coat. It’s also best to apply it to car paint that has old wax removed.

A good bond with the paint surface ensures the wax will last as long as possible and provide the best possible protection it can.

Paste waxes should be applied at least every 3 months to ensure that the protection that is being provided is at its maximum performance.

How To Use Paste Wax

Paste wax is typically applied by hand with a little elbow grease on a freshly washed car or truck. It is also best to remove any old car wax from the paint before you apply wax.

  1. Be sure to work in a shaded area, preferably a garage or car port.
  2. Apply some paste to the applicator pad and begin rubbing onto the paint.
  3. Apply a thin layer evenly. There is no need to work it in.
  4. Check the instructions regarding drying time to determine how large of an area you should focus on. It is necessary to buff off some synthetic waxes more quickly or they may become difficult to remove.
  5. Remove the dried paste by buffing with a microfiber towel.

How Long Does Paste Wax Last

Most natural carnauba wax paste waxes will last no longer than 3 months. They often begin to loose their hydrophobic properties and shine much sooner than that. It’s suggested that car owners apply spray wax as a booster wax to provide better protection when your paste wax begins loosing its ability to bead water well.

Paste waxes that contain synthetic polymers will last as much as a year or longer. Most paste waxes tend to contain some carnauba wax, but the more carnauba they contain, the shorter their lifespan will typically be.


Conclusion: Spray Wax Vs Paste Wax

The difference between spray wax vs paste wax is that sprays are short term boosters while pastes are longer term protection with better gloss.

Most people these days use a synthetic liquid wax products called a paint sealant. Liquids are my personal preference. Paint sealants often have no carnauba but the shine is still quite good but the longevity is much better and they are much easier to apply than pastes.

There is no “best” between these two, but which one is “best” for you and your needs.

Good luck and happy detailing.

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