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Old 12-07-2015, 12:50 PM   #1
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The difference between a POLISH and a WAX

I see these two terms used interchangeably all the time, so I thought I would provide some insight on the differences between a POLISH and a WAX. I'm going to try and keep it as simple as possible...

A polish generally contains abrasive particles (used for removing oxidation and swirl marks) or chemical cleaners (used for removing embedded dirt, road film, and old waxes), and sometimes both! A polish is what you use before you wax.

A wax, whether a natural (carnauba) or synthetic (man made ingredients) formula protects and enhances the finish. Unless your RV is brand spankin' new, you should always use a polish before you wax. The cleaner the surface, the better your wax will adhere and the longer it will shine.

An AIO (all in one) and a cleaner wax are a combination of a polish AND a wax. These are especially popular for boats and RVs because they clean, polish and protect in ONE step. Who wants to perform two steps on something as large as a boat or an RV?!

Unfortunately there's no written rules on what each manufacturer can call their "polish" or "wax", so some actually misrepresent their product by using a name that isn't necessarily applicable to the chemical inside the bottle. When a product is called a "polish" it's safe to assume that it doesn't protect the finish. If it does, then it's either an AIO (all in one) or misnamed.

Any questions?
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Old 12-07-2015, 06:02 PM   #2
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Thanks, and what is a compound - is this a polish? And what is the difference between a cutting disc and a polishing disc?
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Old 12-08-2015, 07:18 AM   #3
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First, I'll say it is welcome to have a detailing expert on the forum. I usually stay out of detailing conversations here, as it is just too frustrating.......

I'll add a couple other miss used terms:

"buff"...... It's a generally meaningless term, that I think people relate applying or removing either wax or polish (in most cases, they don't know the difference as you noted above) with a "buffing machine.

"Swirl"..... Which most people relate to circular "holograms" commonly seen on dark cars that have had the $20 "wash and buff special" at the local car wash that use a portable drill with some sort of dirty pad and who knows what sort of wax and or polish.

While the more general meaning with detailers certainly includes holograms, but also any / all micro scratches / defects in the clear coat usually related to washing, drying, or removing wax (often done in a circular pattern which of course exaggerates the defect). I find it amusing how many people say they do not have any swirls in thier coach paint.......... Oh, yes you do.
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Old 12-10-2015, 09:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Mike View Post
Thanks, and what is a compound - is this a polish? And what is the difference between a cutting disc and a polishing disc?
A compound is essentially a more abrasive polish, which makes it (compound) best suited for removing heavy swirl marks, scratches, and severe oxidation. Always follow with a polish to refine the surface and maximize gloss. Then, apply a wax to lock in the shine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betr2Trvl View Post
First, I'll say it is welcome to have a detailing expert on the forum. I usually stay out of detailing conversations here, as it is just too frustrating.......

I'll add a couple other miss used terms:

"buff"...... It's a generally meaningless term, that I think people relate applying or removing either wax or polish (in most cases, they don't know the difference as you noted above) with a "buffing machine.

"Swirl"..... Which most people relate to circular "holograms" commonly seen on dark cars that have had the $20 "wash and buff special" at the local car wash that use a portable drill with some sort of dirty pad and who knows what sort of wax and or polish.

While the more general meaning with detailers certainly includes holograms, but also any / all micro scratches / defects in the clear coat usually related to washing, drying, or removing wax (often done in a circular pattern which of course exaggerates the defect). I find it amusing how many people say they do not have any swirls in thier coach paint.......... Oh, yes you do.
Thanks for chiming in!
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