Mothers California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax Review

Welcome back to another Garage Dreams’ review.

Today, I’m looking at another car detailing product, and continuing with a recent theme of testing and reviewing car wash and wax products.

You can check out my recent reviews of Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax and a basic Turtle Wax product for comparison’s sake.

In this review of Mothers California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax (what a mouthful!) I’ll be sharing my experiences and recommendations of this product.

Please note that I’m not a professional car detailer – I’m not even a particularly good hobbyist. However, I do look having a car that is nice and clean, and feel that my lack of expert knowledge is actually somewhat a positive when it comes to making these reviews, as you are getting a ‘layperson’s’ take on how the product works.

Is It Easy To Use?

Very easy to use. I found in my testing that it was easy to get good suds in the wash bucket, and the amount I used lasted adequately for a full, thorough wash of my car (although it is quite a small car admittedly).

As other reviewers have commented, this wash and wax provides good lubrication making it easy to apply and work over the body of the car.

All I did was:

  • Rinse my car off with the hose to remove as much loose dirt/grime as possible
  • Wash using the Mothers wash and wax, as per instructions on the bottle
  • Spray/rinse off
  • Dry with a large microfiber towel

I was able to clean my whole car in about 15 minutes, which is faster than it would have taken me to drive to the local hand wash place! It’s not as fast as using something like Meguiar’s Quik Detailer, but that isn’t really a direct competitor product anyway.

How Well Does Mothers California Gold Wash & Wax Work?

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words.

With that in mind, let’s look at some before/during/after pictures of this Mothers product in action.

It was easy to get rich, thick suds with this product. I added the recommended quantity to a wash bucket, and then sprayed my hose into the bucket. If you try this product and don’t get as much suds as you’d like, use a higher hose pressure setting and agitate the mix more aggressively.


The rear of my Swift before washing; although the image quality isn’t the best, you can see a distinct film of road dust.


Another angle pre-wash.


I had not long ago tested Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax on the bonnet of this car. You can see that the Mothers wash and wax really helped to enhance the beading and “boost” the wax.


A noticeable improvement with the finished product – the paintwork has a distinct shine to it.


All dried off at the front – overall I’m very impressed with the results I got from this wash and wax.

I took these photos on an ageing Samsung Note phone, so they aren’t the best quality. The website also compresses them a bit when uploading to save storage space. However, I hope you can see that there is a good finish with this product. As I said above in the final caption, I’m very impressed overall.

One other thing to note is that after I washed the Suzuki Swift, I washed my wife’s Subaru Legacy as well. I was running short on time, so with that car I didn’t bother with the drying step; I just rinsed off – that car is the family hack, and is worked hard so gets dirty fast.

Although the results weren’t as good as what I saw with the Swift (and there was some water spotting) overall I was still very impressed. The finish was much better than what I would expect from using a machine wash at the local petrol station, for example.

Please note that I didn’t test this product with a foam/snow cannon, as I don’t currently have one. I simply did the “two bucket wash” method, and filled the wash bucket with the recommended amount of product.

Other reviewers seem to rate this product as working well with a foam cannon (better than bucket only performance). When I get one of these, I’ll have to try it out and report back and update this review. I can’t imagine you’d get worse performance than I saw by using a foam cannon.

The biggest thing to bear in mind is that a wash and wax CANNOT replace a proper waxing. Wash and wax products should be used primarily as a means of cleaning your car of dirt and grime, and secondarily as a way to boost/refresh the wax layer on your car. You can learn more about this in my article on whether or not wash and waxes actually work.

Is This Product Good Value For Money?

I got a good price on special from my local big box auto store (at least it was a good price by NZ standards). Pricing does seem to vary greatly for this product based on where and when you are buying, so keep an eye out for good deals and then stock up accordingly.

Mothers – like Meguiar’s – never make the cheapest products. Instead, you pay a premium over the likes of Turtle Wax (or ‘no name’ products from hardware stores and auto chains) for a clearly superior product.

This might not be the best … I’m sure that pro auto detailers would find plenty to complain about, but for a weekend warrior like me Mothers California Gold Wash & Wax offers great value for money, especially when purchased at a special/discounted price. If you’re the kind of person who uses a paint thickness gauge to check how deep their car’s paint finish is, then you might want to look elsewhere at something superior (even at a higher price point) but overall I’m satisfied considering what I paid.

What’s Not To Like?

To be honest, from my testing there is little I didn’t like about this product. However, read on for a couple of negative points to consider.

The most common complaint I’ve seen online from other users is that it doesn’t sud up particularly well.

My experience was quite different – I found that it was easy to produce thick, rich suds with the recommended amount in a bucket, and then spraying my hose directly into the bucket on a high-pressure setting. Digging a bit deeper into this particular area of complaint, it seems that some users might be adding the product to an existing bucket of water and not sufficiently agitating, or filling their wash bucket with a low pressure hose.

I have also seen some complaints that this wash and wax isn’t particularly good at removing heavy “soiling” e.g. mud stains. The car in this review – my Suzuki Swift Sport – was just dusty as it is a city car and not used off road. I also washed my wife’s Subaru Legacy immediately after, and this had a heavy, thick dust coating from going down some gravel roads; the product worked very well in this scenario too. However, next time that car gets covered in mud (which happens from time to time) I will re-test and see how good Mothers California Gold wash & wax is at removing caked-on dirt.

Mothers California Gold Carnauba Wash & Wax Review – Conclusion

Overall, I really like this wash and wax product. It’s well priced (at least on special) easy to use, and leaves a great finish when you apply it properly and dry correctly.

It’s a bit of a toss up for me between this and Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax.

I feel that the Meguiar’s product is a bit easier to work with, but the shine seems to be better with the Mothers product – at least from what I’ve tested and experienced so far.

There’s no doubt that this cleans and shines better than something like the basic Turtle Wax wash and wax that I tried not too long ago.

The other thing I like about this Mothers product is that the advertising is a bit less hyperbolic than the competing Meguiar’s product. For example, on the Amazon listing for this product the manufacturer talks about how it is designed to “boost your existing wax” – making it fairly clear that a wash and wax isn’t a replacement for proper waxing, but is instead a way to preserve and enhance the actual wax layer on your car. As mentioned earlier in this article, wash and wax products cannot replace proper waxing using something like Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax.

Considering that it is reasonably priced, I would definitely recommend Mothers California Gold wash and wax; especially if you can find it on special or sale.

If I was standing in the car detailing section of my local auto store and had to pick between this and the Meguiar’s Ultimate product, I’d simply pick whichever is the best price at the time (relative to bottle size).

What has been your experience with Mothers California Gold Wash & Wax? Feel free to leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your take/input. Let me know what other products you think are better for a similar price point.


  • 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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