Do You Need To Wax Your Car After Every Wash?

Washing a car is one of those processes that people tend to either love or hate.

Some find the process of rinsing, washing, toweling dry etc to be very relaxing and cathartic.

Others prefer to put their car through the gas station car wash once in a blue moon.

While we at Garage Dreams generally enjoy keeping our cars as clean as possible, we can also understand why many aren’t so fond of this.

In our opinion, one of the reasons for this that washing your car is one of those “common” activities that has so many misconceptions that it can actually start to become a bit intimidating.

Many urban myths and/or legends abound about car washing.

But what is true? And what is false?

In this edition of Car Facts we take a deeper look at a particular car washing urban legend we have seen floating around for quite some time:

Do You Need To Wax Your Car Every Time You Wash It?

The truth is that no, you do not need to wax your car every time after you wash it.

If you’ve read our guide to how frequently you should wash your car, then you’ll know that we recommend washing once or twice a month to keep your vehicle in optimal condition.

If you had to wax after every wash, then that would be a substantial amount of time you would need to dedicate each and every month.

Furthermore, unless you are trying to maintain a show car or have a particular passion for keeping your car in the most pristine possible condition (i.e. you have moved beyond “I want to keep this car sufficiently clean to prolong its life” through to “I’m moonlighting as a professional detailer”) waxing every time you wash is going to be overkill from a maintenance perspective as well.

Instead, we recommend trying to wax your car quarterly (aligned with the changing of the seasons).

If you live in a location with a mild climate and lack of extreme weather, then every 4-6 months is probably fine to be honest; although we do like the quarterly rule.

Use a good quality wax and the correct application technique, and this will be more than sufficient. For superior protection, you may also want to look at a sealant-type product as opposed to wax.

Unless you are truly obsessive over detailing your car (or you have a lot of spare time to burn) there isn’t going to be much benefit from waxing your car fortnightly, or even more frequently if you wash you car every week.

When it comes to car maintenance – both in terms of paintwork and mechanical maintenance – we are firm believers that most people are best served taking a “maximum bang for the buck” approach.

What If You Want To Wax Your Car Each Time You Clean It?

If you are fastidious about keeping your car in the best possible condition and don’t mind investing extra time into your car wash routine, then there is no harm to be had from waxing your car every time you clean it.

In fact, if you want to maximise the protective benefits of waxing, then doing so every time you clean is the better choice (our comment above about the fact that you should  wax your car on a quarterly basis stems from the fact that for the majority of owners, this is the best ‘bang for buck’ approach for keeping your car in great condition over the long term, without needing to spend hours and hours on maintenance).

If you like the idea of waxing your car every time you wash for maximum protection and longevity, but you are also conscious about how much extra time and effort this will take, then you might want to consider using a spray wax product each time you wash.

Spray waxes have come a long way, and can be a helpful tool in your car cleaning arsenal if you value both your time and a regularly-waxed car.

While you wouldn’t want to use a spray wax for your quarterly “deep detail”, using a spray wax or similar product each time you wash is one way to enhance paint protection while also keeping the workload required at a very manageable level. With the right equipment and technique, it should be possible to spray wax a car in 30 minutes or less.

What Do You Think? How Often Do You Wax Your Car?

Like many things when it comes to cars, the optimal frequency for waxing is one of those topics that is always open to debate.

There is no hard and fast science, so a great deal comes down to personal preference.

How often do YOU wax your car? Do you think that quarterly is enough? Or do you prefer to wash and wax every time? Leave a comment below as we always value reader input and feedback.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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4 thoughts on “Do You Need To Wax Your Car After Every Wash?”

  1. Use turtle wax seal and shine, 2to3 times a year, that’s how durable this is.
    ‘ Do recommend ‘ won’t disappoint.

    • Thanks for commenting Johnny. A lot of people don’t seem to like Turtle Wax products, but I’ve always found them to offer good value for money.

  2. This is my first new car and I wanted to know how fanatic I should be to care for my car. I enjoy washing and waxing a car, so washing 2x a month and waxing quarterly is good for me. And I love the Volkswagen with the Border collie!

    • Hi Fieri, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Your “schedule” for cleaning and waxing sounds just about perfect. Waxing in line with the changing seasons is always a good way to go.


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