What Is the Difference Between Car Wax and Car Polish?

The difference between car wax and car polish is that car wax is a paint sealant users apply after washing and polishing their cars, and car polish is a cleaner that prepares cars for car wax. Available in liquids, sprays or creams, car polish contains solvents that remove dirt, grease, scratches and other surface impurities that washing alone fails to eliminate. Car wax protects a car's paint and shine from harmful ultraviolet rays, dust, pollution and corrosion-causing moisture.

People using car polish can apply it with electric car polishers or with cloths, moving in large circular motions. Polishing too often or too hard can remove paint and expose the car's primer or undercoat. Applying polish helps prevent scratches in the paint from rusting. Polishers should follow the product directions.

People should apply car wax to their vehicles about every 90 days, using soft sponges or cloths to apply thin coats of wax. The type of car wax chosen varies depending on a vehicle's paint and finish. Reading and following the directions for using a wax and spot-testing it on a vehicle are important steps in maintaining a vehicle's paint and natural shine. Applying an excessive amount of wax can cause paint damage.