During the summertime, nothing beats a super clean and well-waxed car. If you're like me, it can be difficult to replicate that same shine you'd expect from a professional car detailer on your own. Sometimes I think it's nearly impossible. After many botched wax attempts and countless hours scouring the internet for answers, I've come up with a compilation of best practices for attaining that high gloss shimmer and shine we've all come to expect from the professionals.
First and most importantly, make sure your vehicle is in a covered or shaded area and out of direct sunlight. Garages or carports work the best. Sunlight and heat will cause water to evaporate too quickly when washing which may lead to spotting. When you attempt to wax your vehicle, the sun will dry the wax out and ruin your shine. It may also damage your car's finish.
Next, you need to thoroughly wash your car until it is extremely clean. When I say clean, I mean clean. You're going to have to get out the bucket and the hose and scrub your car by hand. You should use a reputable car shampoo. These can be found at any auto parts or car care store. A natural sea sponge is the best option for cleaning the car. Start by rinsing approximately 1/3 of your car. Use the sea sponge to wash the rinsed area from top to bottom. Frequently wring out the sponge and soak in the soapy water bucket. When finished, rinse the soap off of the car and move on to the next section. Washing the car in sections helps prevent spotting. Use a terry cloth or chamois to dry your vehicle. Do not allow it to air dry!
Now that your car is ready for wax, you should decide what type of shine you are looking for. If you're looking to protect your car's natural shine, one thin coat of synthetic wax will do the trick. To get the showroom shine, you will need to apply a thin coat of synthetic wax with another coat of carnauba wax on top of it.
Once you have made your decision, you're ready to wax. Lightly coat the painted areas of the vehicle with a very thin layer of wax using a clean terry cloth or towel. Be sure to avoid any plastic or trim areas of the car, as the wax may not come off of these materials. Test on a small area if you're unsure. After the wax is applied, buff it out with a new, extremely clean terry cloth. If you notice any streaking, you can remove them with distilled water. Repeat this process until you are satisfied with your shine.