Car wax to polish a guitar?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by dlew919, Oct 17, 2021.

  1. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I heard this on a YouTube clip in passing. I’m assuming it’s great for solidbodies but not for otherguitars - acoustic or hollows.

    Does anyone have any experience?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
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  3. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Synchromatic

    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    A number of years ago Taylor had an article their Wood & Steel magazine about using certain auto waxes on their acoustic guitars. I tried it once and it was OK but smelled like a car so I didn't repeat it.
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Electromatic

    May 16, 2017
    Near Detroit

    Historical paint finishes on Fender and other brands were automotive paints.

    Modern guitar clear coats are or are like automotive top coats.

    Always use the principle of testing any new-to-you chemical in a hidden area or the back of the guitar first.

  5. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    I would not use any automotive product on a guitar because many contain silicone. It can make repairs more challenging if it gets into the wood.

    Old-fashioned furniture paste wax contains solvent. That can be effective for cleaning up surface hazing on old nitro, but use with caution.

    I like the Virtuoso cleaner and polish. They are not cheap, but a bottle of each is a lifetime supply.
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  6. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    Sep 7, 2020
    I bought a Setzer. After having it home for a couple of days, there was a cloudiness in the headstock. I noticed it was also on the body. First opinion was it is moisture in the finish. Long story short, turns out that I could buff it out. It was from a wax that someone had put on it. The wax held the moisture that made the finish cloudy. So I have talked with a few furniture makers, luthiers, builders, as well as searching the internet. For the record, I don't wax guitars. I clean them and that is it. I use a citrus based cleaner.

    One of the things that was recommended was using this stuff. Renaissance wax. I am glad I didn't use it. But I don't know if it is good or not. It is supposed to be a one time use stuff to protect antiques. I am no expert on this subject, and have more questions than answers. But apparently there is acid in bees wax or carnauba wax, or it becomes acidic with time. Renaissance wax uses a polyethylene based wax that is suppose to have less acidity. So it neutralizes the finish on antiques to preserve the finish. I am not using it, but if I were to wax a guitar, this is what I would use.
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  7. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    You mean just a nicely finished guitar or polishing a new finish for more smooth gloss?
    I use this for either, or to polish after a guitar gets all those very light scratches on the finish. not cheap but very easy to get very nice:
  8. MrWookiee

    MrWookiee Synchromatic

    Jun 17, 2020
    SoCal, USA
    I've been using the Music Nomad maintenance kit. I like it but haven't tried anything else for comparison.
  9. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    I've always used Martin Guitar Polish (since my teenage years when I tried my Mom's Pledge, didn't like it). Love the Martin stuff, like it better than Lizard Spit (which I tried on a whim). Gibson Guitar Polish is also decent.

    I have some of this, love it on leather (holsters etc.). I would not use it on a guitar myself. Not that I have any specific knowledge of doing so, just seems wrong to me (it might be great for them, don't know, just seems wrong). But I don't wax my guitars at all.
  10. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    I recently took apart my 90 year old banjo in order to replace the broken skin. I was somewhat at a loss as to how to clean, polish and protect both the wood (original sprayed on lacquer finish) and the nickel plated brass parts.

    I learned (not the hard way) that nickel plating is one of the few metals that almost all metal polishes are NOT meant for, it's too thin and delicate.

    After much research, I ended up using this one method for everything except the ebony fretboard.

    1) wipe with sudsy sponge or cloth.

    2) wipe with Naphtha to remove all particulates.

    3) apply paste wax to finished wood and nickel parts, alike.

    The results:
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  11. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    I just take mine to the car wash if im in a hurry, but generally speaking +1 on the Lizard Spit. Ive used that for years and love how easy it is and that it leaves no residue. Two squirts onto a cloth and thats enough for the whole guitar.
    Works out much cheaper than walking through the carwash and i dont get soap in my eyes.
  12. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012

    Looks great. Nice job.
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  13. Turtle wax. Not as polish, per se.
    Express Shine Carnauba wax to speed the neck.
    Just a spritz on the cloth. It does leave a residue if you use more.

    I’d be careful on a flat top with satin finish. (Just me).
    Could always go with the guitar maker’s branded stuff. Once you’ve wrecked the surface its kind of a bummer.

    I’d go to one of those girls-in-bikinis car washes, myself.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
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  14. Nickel plating is a surface treatment. It may only be 5 mills thick.
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  15. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    Every time I try to use a new guitar polish it always has a distasteful chemical smell. I guess I’m not supposed to drink it.
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  16. A sprig of mint & splash of bourbon to prevent after taste.
  17. juks

    juks Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2020
    Fremont, California
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  18. Roy Clark

    Roy Clark Synchromatic

    Jun 16, 2017
    Bat cave.
    Ron Kirn that makes custom builds told me to use 2 products from this company. Works great.

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  19. Groutsch

    Groutsch Synchromatic

    Jun 9, 2018
    Maryland, US
    I think it depends on whether the guitar has a nitro or poly finish. Taylor recommends Turtle Wax Express Shine:

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  20. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Country Gent

    Mar 20, 2010
    I have used 3M and Meguirs without any issue. I try to avoid silicone, which is also found in furniture polish.

    If you have something you need to buff out, you can damage the surface by not adding some sort of lubricant such as guitar polish, car wax, etc.

    Typically Guitar, Violin, and Piano polishes are safe.

    I do understand the fear of silicones and fomblin oil that can be found in automotive waxes. We owned body shops and repair facilities for over 56 years. If we refused to repaint or repair any car that had silicones, or synthetic oils applied to the surfaces, every customer would swear that they never let this happen. And if they did, we would have been out of business a long time ago.
    You can remove these "oils" for the sake of repair. You do not want to paint over the top of these finishes without prepping, , or you run the risk of peeling, orange peel, and crazing.
    For those of you that have used waxes with oils, silicones, please don't lose any sleep over that, these can be removed safely with several products on the market.

    In any repair, surface preparation and changing cleaning rags often, is the key.
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