Best Car Wax Removers for 2020
Preparing to paint or coat your car, and wondering how to remove car wax? Here are six of the best car wax removers on the market.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
What Are Car Wax Removers?
Car wax removers are liquid solvents designed to strip wax, grease and other surface substances from vehicle paint. Some detailers claim sticky resin products, called clay bars, also work for wax removal, but there’s some debate about this.
Wax is great for paint protection and enhancing your car’s appearance, but there are a few situations when you’ll want to be sure to remove it, such as when you’re preparing a car for: polishing; ceramic or other protective coatings; a new coat of different wax than you used before.
These scenarios are when a perfectly clean paint surface is vital. If you’re in one these situations, keep reading for six of the best products for removing car wax.
Dawn Ultra Original Dish Soap
While not sold or marketed as a vehicle cleaner, I’ve found plain Dawn dish soap works great for removing car wax. It’s easier to find than most dedicated wax removers, relatively cheap and packs just the right amount of grease and wax cutting power to clean your car without harming the paint.
I’m not the only car detailing enthusiast who uses Dawn, either.
“The [Dawn] dish soap is a totally effective way to remove wax if that’s what you’re after,” according to the Wilson Auto Detailing YouTube Channel.
This spray-on wax and grease remover is exceptionally easy to apply and use. It’s a simple, spray on, wipe off operation that’ll leave your car free of wax, grease and other surface contaminants in a fraction of the time it takes to apply a coat of wax.
Buyers are particularly impressed with how quickly and easily the product works.
One Amazon consumer wrote, “So easy to apply after a thorough detail a kid could do it. This rewind really works well removing wax and grease contamination for prepping the surface. Amazing how it cut through wheel grime without a hitch.”
Dupli-Color Paint Grease and Wax Remover
This liquid wax and grease remover is very effective at clearing away unwanted grease, road film, wax and surface contaminants, and it does so with a natural, soy-based formula. If you have environmental or health concerns when using harsh chemical cleaners, this is the product to use.
Buyers report high wax removal effectiveness, although many recommend pre-washing the vehicle.
An Amazon consumer wrote, “I always use this after washing to thoroughly remove any old waxes before applying a fresh coat of wax. To get the most from this product, spray your car’s surface and let it dwell for about 15-20 seconds before wiping off.”
Adam’s Strip Wash Soap
This foaming car soap and wax remover is probably the most versatile product on this list. It not only strips old wax from car paint very effectively, it also works great for cleaning bug stains, dirt, grease and streaking. Most importantly, it’s formulated to clean plastic and rubber car parts without drying them out, as harsher solvents can.
Rust-Oleum Automotive Wax and Tar Remover
At roughly $7 for a 32-oz. bottle, this wax and tar remover is one of the most economical car wax removers around. It’s easy to apply, pouring over vehicle paint like water, then quickly drying and doing its work.
Buyers are impressed with its effectiveness for the price, although they agree it needs more time than some other products to work optimally.
“I haven’t found anything that isn’t removed by this cleaner that is removed by the more potent cleaners, it works great for removing sticker residue, and many places I’d normally use alcohol. This DOES need more time and agitation, but it will remove most things left after normal soap and water cleaning prior to painting,” reports one Amazon consumer.
Carpro Eraser Intense Oil and Polish Cleanser
This oil and polish cleaner works great for removing wax, and gives a much deeper clean than many other wax removers. Typical wax removers clear the wax from the paint, but this polish-enhanced spray-on liquid actually deep cleans the microscopic cracks and crevices in the paint’s surface, prepping it for fresh paint, wax or sealant.
Buyers have almost universally had good luck using it to remove old wax.