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Can You Mix Car Wax With Water?

Let me guess: you are looking to prepare homemade liquid wax from a can of paste wax you got from a store. Or perhaps you have a bottle of liquid car wax, and you are thinking of diluting it with water to make a spray.

wax and water combined

You cannot mix wax and water under normal circumstances. These two substances differ in how the molecules in their constituent structures are bonded. The difference in bonding results in different polarities, hence, repulsion.

This article intends to deeply explain why water and wax cannot mix under normal conditions. I’ll further show you how mixing the two can be possible and in what circumstances. Come along with me as I’ll show you how you can prepare your liquid wax without adding water to it.

Why Wax Is Insoluble in Water

car waxed wet with water

Wax is water’s worst enemy. Scientifically, it is termed as hydrophobic.

Like fat, wax is an organic compound that belongs to the larger lipids class. Its structure comprises hydrogen and carbon, which are bonded covalently. The manner in which these atoms are bonded in the structure makes wax a nonpolar substance.

On the other hand, water molecules are also covalently bonded, but their distribution in the structure differs from that in wax. This makes water a polar substance.

Since these two substances differ in polarity, they tend to repel each other when mixed. Hence you cannot mix wax and water to obtain a uniform mixture.

This polarity property makes it possible for wax to be used on car surfaces as a protective layer against water molecules.

What Solvents Can Be Used To Dissolve Wax?

Organic solvents can be used to dissolve wax, since wax is an organic compound. Most of these solvents are readily available at your nearest store if you need them, and they shouldn’t be too expensive to purchase.

These solvents include the following:

  • Turpentine
  • Vinegar
  • Toluene
  • Acetone
  • Methyl Acetate
  • Ethyl Acetate

Wax Emulsions

Since we are still discussing the solubility of wax, I feel the need to touch on a fluid form of it; wax emulsion. Emulsifying wax is the only method you can use to make wax “mix” with water. This process is conducted under specific conditions, usually in a laboratory.

The combination of water and wax is made possible by using emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers are substances that have both polar and nonpolar parts. This means they are partially soluble and insoluble in water. Due to this nature, you can use an emulsifier to mix wax and water.

Hot water is poured into an emulsifying tank on a large scale, and melted wax is added to it in bits while stirring the mixture. At the appropriate time, an emulsifier is added, resulting in an emulsion. The emulsion is then quickly cooled at atmospheric pressure.

Wax emulsions play a major role in various industrial formulations, including automobile care products such as paint, polishes, and car wax. The properties in the car wax are the reason your car body is:

  • Resistant to scratches
  • Repellent to water
  • Shiny looking
  • Smooth in texture

What Is Car Wax?

car waxing

Car wax, also known as automotive wax, is a product formulated mainly to provide a protective layer to parts of a vehicle, as well as improve the paint’s shine.

This product can be prepared from naturally occurring wax – mainly carnauba and beeswax, or synthetic wax, and sometimes a blend of both. Synthetic wax is artificially made from polymers (plastics) and other materials.

This is why liquid wax lasts longer on your car and is easier to apply than paste wax, and provides more shine because of its natural wax elements. I would recommend getting this Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax (available at It provides long-lasting protection and is easy to apply in one single step.

On that note, you should also know that you can make a liquid out of natural waxes to be used on car surfaces and floors. The good news is that you can do it at home using readily available ingredients. The procedure is pretty simple too.

How To Make Liquid Car Wax at Home

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

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  • Carnauba wax
  • Beeswax
  • Natural oil e.g., olive, linseed, or pine oil
  • Vinegar or turpentine
  • Water


  1. Mix 4 tablespoons (59.15 ml) of carnauba and 2 tablespoons (29.57 ml) of beeswax.
  2. Place the mixture on the top of a double boiler and heat. Pour water into the bottom portion of the boiler. A double boiler gently heats the mixture to prevent overheating.
  3. Stir the waxes as they heat until they completely melt into a uniform mixture.
  4. Add a cup of your natural oil and ½ cup (118.29 ml) of vinegar or turpentine to the mixture, and stir to combine.
  5. Remove the mixture from the broiler and set it aside to cool.
  6. Transfer the homemade car wax to a lidded container once it cools.
  7. The wax is now ready to use.

This procedure deduces that car wax is generally made from a blend of waxes, oils, and organic solvents (not water).

Here’s a general overview of the elements that make up car wax.

  • Carnauba wax: This is a naturally occurring substance derived from the leaves of a carnauba palm tree (Copernicia cerifera). It is tough, super shiny, and resistant to heat. These tendencies are the reasons carnauba is the main ingredient in car wax. It’s also the first-ever type of wax used on cars before the invention of synthetic car wax.
  • Beeswax: as the name suggests, beeswax comes from bees’ honeycombs. It is added to carnauba in modern car wax formulations to make it adhere to car paint. Check out these EricX Light Beeswax Bars.
  • Natural oils: The most common natural oil in car wax is linseed oil. Oils act as softeners (smoothers), enhancing the gloss in car wax.
  • Synthetic polymers: These are alternative forms of natural waxes made from plastics and silicone. They offer better protection than natural waxes; hence, they are blended into the modern car wax formula.
  • Petroleum distillates: These are petroleum-based liquids used as solvents. They dissolve the wax and oils into a mixture that you can easily apply and spread on your car.
  • Resins: Resins are substances usually added to the wax formula to enhance its texture and durability.

The fact that car wax components are naturally water-insoluble in their individuality is another possible reason for car wax not mixing with water.

In Summary

Wax and water differ in terms of chemical structure and bonding, making them impossible to mix under room conditions. They can, however, blend with the introduction of an emulsifier to form a wax emulsion.

First published on Sep 13, 2022 by

So, if you are looking to prepare liquid wax for your vehicle at home, it’s a bad idea to mix your waxes with water. Instead, consider using an organic solvent and follow the procedure given in this article. Happy waxing!

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