... frequently asked questions about car waxing & detailing

Ferrari  F430 in Rosso Scuderia. Finish by Valentine's Concours Carnauba Wax

Valentine & Co - Finest carnauba wax polish for cars

What is carnauba wax? Why should I use it on my car?
What's special about Valentine's Concours Carnauba?
Polish or wax - what's the difference?
Must I use a pre-cleaner before applying Valentine's Carnauba?
My paint looks really dull. What should I do?
My paint looks great. Why bother waxing it?
Can I use Valentine's over other waxes and polishes?
What about car shampoos with wax?

What's in Valentine's Concours Carnauba? Is it safe?
Should I apply the wax in circles or straight lines?
Does Valentine's wax remove swirl marks and scratches?

Can I use a mechanical polisher?
Should I let the wax dry out before polishing off?
Can I use Valentine's in hot sunlight?
Must I use special applicators or polishing cloths?
Should I apply a heavy coat of wax?
Is it better to apply several coats of wax at one time?
Does the gloss deepen if I apply a lot of coats?
How long will a coat of Valentine's wax last?
How long will a jar of Valentine's last?
Chamois leather or towel?


What is carnauba wax? Why should I use it on my car?

Carnauba wax comes from the carnauba palm (Copernicia prunifera) found mainly in north east Brazil. The wax is natures' way of protecting the palm's leaves against UV light, heat, insects and water-loss. A completely natural product, carnauba wax has long been used in cosmetics, confectionary, furniture polish and the highest quality automobile wax polishes. Carnauba is the hardest natural wax - harder than concrete in its pure form. It has a high melting point and provides a very high level of surface reflectance. It is harvested by cutting the palm's fronds, allowing them to dry then flailing them to separate the flakes of wax. No chemicals are used in the process. The highest grade is Premium No 1 Yellow - which we use in Valentine's Concours Carnauba.

Why use it on your car? Because it provides an incredibly deep gloss finish and lasting protection. And it protects your paintwork without chemical trickery.  It simply provides a very tough coating which resists dirt and pollutants, reflects UV radiation and seals the paint finish from moisture and corrosives. That's about it. No smoke & mirrors. No claims that it lasts forever. No nonsense about having to use different versions for different makes of car or types of paint.

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 What's special about Valentine's Concours Carnauba?

We believe it is, quite simply, the finest car wax in the world. It's made for Valentine & Co in England by a firm that has been producing quality speciality wax polishes since 1914. Unlike many automobile polishes and waxes, Valentine's contains no abrasives. It will not scratch or react with paintwork or clear-coat finishes. It's extremely easy to use. And it works equally well with all types of automotive paintwork and clear-coat finishes. We think you'll find it produces the deepest, most luxurious gloss finish you have ever seen.

It makes a great present for busy people who care about their cars. The wax is always supplied in a smart presentation box complete with applicator pad, detailing brush, two microfibre polishing towels, full instructions and our money-back guarantee. We hope you'll love it as much as we do. But if for any reason you're dissatisfied, just send the complete kit back within 21 days and we'll refund the purchase price in full.

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Polish or wax - what's the difference?

In automotive detailing circles, 'polish' has come to mean a product which includes a small amount of abrasive or chemical cleaner to help freshen up dull paintwork. That abrasive is usually a very fine grit which, when rubbed over the surface, grinds off a tiny layer of dirty or oxidised paint to reveal a fresh layer of paint below. Tough on paintwork? It can be because, depending on the brand of polish , each time you may lose a little more paint. Also, the abrasive can cause swirl marks, particularly if the polish is applied by machine. Even brand new cars can show this problem. Of course, not all 'polishes' contain abrasives and not all or are bad for your paintwork. Some contain fairly gentle chemical cleaners. Most are liquids which you rub on, allow to dry, then rub off. Our experience has been that most are hard work to use.

By contrast, Valentine's Concours Carnauba is a simple wax 'paste'. It does not contain any abrasives or chemical cleaners, so won't damage paint. It's fast to apply, does not need to dry out and polishes off extremely easily to leave an extremely high gloss finish.  It is NOT designed to clean paintwork but to seal and protect it from UV light, dirt and oxidation. It does this by producing a smooth, tough, deep highly reflective coating which lasts often for months, depending on the conditions in which the car is used.

PS. Even though it contains no abrasives or cleaning chemicals, we call Valentine's Concours Carnauba a 'wax polish'. According to the Oxford English Dictionary 'polish' simply means:

  • noun 1 a substance used to make something smooth and shiny when rubbed in. 2 an act of polishing. 3 smoothness or glossiness produced by polishing. 4 refinement or elegance.    ORIGIN Latin polire.

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Must I use a pre-cleaner before applying Valentine's Carnauba?

Only if your paintwork looks dull or has blemishes such as tar spots. Once you have thoroughly washed and dried the car, if the paint looks and feels fresh, clean and shiny you can apply Valentine's Concours Carnauba or Road 'n Track wax immediately.

If in doubt, try using a proprietary liquid tar remover on a small area. If the treated area looks and feels much smoother and shinier than the rest of the car, you should consider pre-cleaning all of the paintwork. You can use tar remover for this - it's mild, low in cost compared with some ludicrously expensive pre-cleaning products and, used properly, won't damage paint. There are a wide variety of automotive paint cleaning and conditioning products - but be careful, be gentle. Being heavy-handed can damage paintwork.

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My paint looks really dull. What should I do?

If your paintwork really looks bad, it's necessary to clean it thoroughly before putting on any kind of wax. For details see our section Car Waxing & Polishing Tips. Tar remover or using a lehm klay bar may be sufficient, but for badly degraded paintwork the best solution may be to use a 'cutting' paste or polish to restore the finish. But be very careful. As its name implies, this stuff works by cutting a layer of dirty paint away. It comes in a variety of grades. Some brands are designed to 'flatten' newly sprayed paint. The guys in the paint shop will use the coarsest grade first, finishing up with the finest grade. We suggest you start with the finest grade and apply it by hand using minimal pressure. Better to go over a section several times very gently than to be too energetic and find you are looking at undercoat or even bare metal. Be particularly careful on seams and corners.

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My paint looks great. Why bother waxing it?

If you have pre-cleaned your paintwork or used a cutting polish, you'll have stripped off any protection the paintwork had. Even if you have done nothing more than wash your car, without some protection the paint or clear-coat will be raw and open - literally - and road dirt, traffic pollution and strong sunlight can quite rapidly dull the finish or even damage it. By applying Valentine's Concours Carnauba wax, you will be putting a very tough barrier on the surface of the paint or clear-coat which will protect it against oxidation, sunlight, road dirt and airborne pollution. Oh, and you'll get an incredibly deep gloss finish which will look terrific each time you wash the car for a very long time.

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Can I use Valentine's over other waxes and polishes?

Our trials indicate that there is no difficulty with this, provided the car already looks and feels smooth and shiny and has just been washed and thoroughly dried. Obviously, we have not been able to test the results of using Valentine's over every one of the hundreds of polishes and waxes available, so we do not guarantee the results. One answer is to use a little Valentine's wax on a small section. Remember, for Valentine's to produce its full, deep gloss it must be applied to a surface which is already clean and shiny. If the results of your test are excellent, we think you can go right ahead and wax the whole vehicle. One point: to produce great results and be long-lasting, Valentine's must bond with the surface of the car. Ideally, this bond should be to the paint or clear-coat, rather than to an unknown, and perhaps not very good, polish or inferior wax. If you have any doubts, use a branded pre-cleaner or mild bodywork cleaner such as liquid tar remover to thoroughly clean the paintwork or clear-coat before applying Valentine's wax.

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What about car shampoos with wax?

Our experience suggests that there's no problem applying Valentine's Concours Carnauba or Road 'n Track on cars that have previously been washed using some form of 'wax' shampoo - provided the car really  is clean and shiny. Again, we have not tried all possible types of shampoo with wax, so can't guarantee results.

Once you have applied Valentine's we do not recommend using car shampoos with added wax. This is because the tiny amount of 'wax' in the shampoo will obviously not produce such a deep, hard-wearing gloss finish as Valentine's. And the shampoo/wax will quite probably obscure the deep gloss of the Valentine's wax. Also, the shampoo wax will almost certainly deteriorate rapidly, resulting in your car looking less than wonderful...

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What's in Valentine's Concours Carnauba? Is it safe?

Valentine's Concours Carnauba consists mainly of natural No 1 Grade Premium Yellow carnauba wax. In fact, this makes up more than 80% of its solid content. We gently heat the carnauba and blend it with odourless mineral spirit and ... well, that bit's our secret. We use odourless spirit because it has been further refined to remove the more toxic aromatic compounds found in solvents such as benzene or traditional white spirits.

You'll find our wax smells rich and marvellous BUT because of the solvent, you should avoid eating it or getting it in your eyes. If someone accidentally swallows some, don't panic and don't induce vomiting. Call a doctor for advice. If you get it in your eyes, rinse well with water.  The wax won't harm your skin but it may make your hands feel a little dry (a waxed surface sheds water) so you may want to use a moisturising cream after waxing your car. If you have delicate skin, you could wear those neat disposable plastic gloves whilst working with the wax.

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Should I apply the wax in circles or straight lines?

We recommend applying our wax in straight lines. This is partly to reduce the risk of causing swirl marks, should you accidentally trap grit on the applicator pad. Interestingly, wax applied in straight lines does seem to produce a deeper gloss. Why?  Probably because the molecules of polish all face one way and so reflect light better without scattering it. If your car shows swirl marks, we suggest you apply the wax first vertically, then horizontally. This allows the wax to fill more of the tiny grooves which make up the swirl marks. However, when polishing off you can rub in circles if you wish - but do be careful not to trap any dirt or grit in the polishing cloth or towel.

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Does Valentine's wax remove swirl marks or scratches?

No. Sadly, nothing really does but, like a number of other products, our wax helps disguise the problem. To completely remove swirl marks or even light scratches it's necessary  to strip off the damaged layer of paint or clear coat -  which really is a professional job.
What most 'scratch removers' do is try to hide the scratches or swirl marks by building up a layer of product in the fine grooves. Unfortunately, nothing works perfectly because, to be 100% effective, the material filling the scratch would have to be the same - or at least have the same refractive index - as the paint surface.  We make no silly claim that our product removes swirl marks. What it does is help hide them. See Car Waxing & Polishing Tips.

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Can I use a mechanical polisher?

We don't recommend it. Applying and polishing off Valentine's Concours Carnauba by hand is fast and easy and a lot safer for your car's paint finish.

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Should I let the wax dry out before polishing off?

No. It's best to apply a small amount of wax to a small area - perhaps a quarter or a third of a body panel. Polish off before the wax dries out, usually within one or two minutes, depending on the temperature in which you're working. If the wax does dry out, just apply a little fresh wax to soften it, then polish off as usual. Don't rub and rub at dry wax. You could scratch the surface.

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Can I use Valentine's in hot sunlight?

Better not. Car bodies can reach very high temperatures in bright sunlight and the wax will dry out too rapidly for you to easily polish it off. Put your car in the shade and if it has been standing in hot sun, let the bodywork cool a little before waxing. If the wax has hardened before you have time to conveniently polish off, just apply  a little more wax to soften it, then polish off. In very hot conditions, do just a small area at a time and polish off quickly. It takes only a few seconds for the wax to bond to the paintwork.

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Must I use special applicators or polishing cloths?

No. But we suggest you use the foam applicator and microfibre polishing towels we supply with our wax.

The foam applicator pad spreads the wax evenly. When you have finished, the pad stores conveniently in the jar, so it doesn't dry out. You can wash it by hand or in a washing machine. You will need to use quite a lot of detergent to remove the old wax. Make sure to rinse the pad thoroughly in clean water and let it dry fully before use.

For polishing, we recommend using the microfibre towels we supply at no charge with our wax. There's no need to rub hard. Just turn the towels frequently. We recommend keeping these towels clean by occasionally washing them by hand or machine. It's vital to ensure the towels don't fall on the ground and pick up grit. If this happens, DON'T use the towel until it has been thoroughly washed and dried.

Any good quality terry towelling can be used for polishing off - well-laundered terrycloth nappies or old bath towels are good - but not as good as a quality microfibre towel. Whatever you use, make sure it really is soft. The days of using those awful cotton stockinet cloths to polish cars are, hopefully, over. They seem to have a knack for putting swirl marks in paint. Microfibre towels are ideal. They don't shed lint and they absorb a lot of polish before needing washed.

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Should I apply a heavy coat of wax?

No point. No matter how much you apply in one coat, only a small amount of wax bonds to the paint, the remainder coming off on the polishing cloth. However, there's no advantage at all in being mean with the wax. You'll find that you use very little even on a large car or SUV. 

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Is it better to apply several coats of wax at one time?

Not in one session. You should allow the wax to dry out thoroughly after each application - for several hours on a hot summer's day, for a day or two in winter. Then a second application will build up the wax coating. If you apply a second coat immediately, you could just be dissolving off most of the first coat and achieving very little. After you have polished off the wax, try leaving your car in the sun for a while. The gloss seems to deepen when you do this... we admit we don't know why.

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Does the gloss deepen if I apply a lot of coats?

Several coats do seem to look better than one. On most cars, one coat is really all you need. However, some detailers have applied as many as ten coats of Carnauba and say the result is worth the effort. That seems a little much to us but it's entirely up to you. Some cars seem to look better and better every time a coat of Valentine's Carnauba wax is applied. If you're going to apply several coats of wax you should leave each to dry out thoroughly - ideally overnight. If your vehicle is in frequent use and you can't do this, try applying a coat of wax each time you wash the car. We won't be surprised if you don't see any major difference after applying a second or third coat. One coat of Valentine's wax is all it takes to make most cars look amazing.

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How long will a coat of Valentine's wax last?

It depends on what conditions your car is used in. Yes, sunlight, road film, pollution and dirt will all eventually degrade the finish but this often takes months. Valentine's Concours Carnauba is tough stuff and lasts for a surprisingly long time. But Valentine's Road 'n Track Carnauba is designed to last longer and costs a lot less to buy... Our experience is that a car used on the filthy roads we encounter in the UK and Ireland will require waxing perhaps every two or three months - longer with Road 'n Track. Some people will wax more often. Others, perhaps just once or twice a year. It's up to you. Of course, if your car is only used occasionally for concours or competition, the wax will last and last. Washing and drying the car is all that's necessary to restore a perfect finish. One tip: water 'beads' when you rinse off a well-waxed car. If the water tends to pool rather than bead, it's an indication that the wax is wearing out, even though the surface still may look glossy.

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How long will a jar of Valentine's last?

How many cars do you have and how often do you wax them?  Unfortunately for our sales figures, you'll find you use very little each time you wax a car. Our experience is that our 250 gm jar will be enough for 15+ generous applications, plus occasional touch-ups on heavy wear areas. So, if you wax, say, two cars four times a year one jar should last for about two years. (If you can hear some strange sound in the background, it's our accountant groaning) Don't store the jar in direct sunlight, put it in a cool, dry place - and keep the lid on.

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Chamois leather or towel?

We prefer towels, they're much less work and leave a perfect finish free of water spots and streaks. Two soft, old terrycloth bath towels are perfect for most cars. We find all that wringing-out with chamois leather is just hard work. One tip: when drying off the car, use a fresh towel to dry the windscreen first. This avoids the possibility of transferring tiny particles of wax or grease to the glass. Very, very little wax will come off during normal washing but even microscopic amounts can produce those infuriating streaks on a wet windscreen.

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Do you have a hot tip or comment about car detailing that you want to share with others? Just email us at  info@valentineswax.com  and, if it's appropriate, we'll include it here.

 

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