5 Methods To Remove Car Wax From Plastic

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If you find yourself in the position of having to remove car wax from some plastic on your car, there are several ways this can be done effectively. It can be such a drag to be at the last stages of giving your car a good solid detail job, only to look down and realize you have left something behind…you have gotten wax on some of the plastic trim. You know that wax can be removed, but you’re not sure which approach to take, and don’t want to waste more time and money doing something that isn’t going to be effective.

Remove Car Wax From Plastic 5 Methods To Remove Car Wax From Plastic

Table of Contents

How do you get car wax off of plastic?

Here are 5 different ways you can remove car wax from plastic:

  • Use a household rubbing alcohol 
  • Try a Magic Eraser 
  • Try a mixture of baking soda and water
  • Purchase a bottle of spray-on wax remover
  • Take it to a professional detailer

We take care of our automobiles the way we take care of our homes, and for good reason. So when we spend some time and money trying to keep our cars in tip-top shape, it can be frustrating when something like leftover wax residue has adhered to a part of the plastic on our just-cleaned car paint, and now we can’t figure out how to get rid of it. 

Worse, we definitely don’t want to do something to make the damage worse. But never fear – there are several ways you can remove that wax from your car’s plastic, and many of them involve materials you probably already have at home. 

I love giving my car a good detail job but can’t stand it when my time and treasure are wasted by a job that ends up making some parts of my car look worse than they did before. With just a little research, though, I’ve compiled a list of products that can be used to rid your car’s plastic of any unsightly wax marks and give your whole car the shine you were originally looking for.

How Do I Remove Car Wax from Plastic?

Remove Car Wax From Plastic 1 5 Methods To Remove Car Wax From Plastic

Cars are made up of a myriad of different materials, and all serve different purposes that either protect your car or give it an aesthetically pleasing look that you (and the car manufacturer) are looking for.

But knowing how to clean each of these different materials can be challenging. What will successfully work on one surface may be incredibly damaging to another.

It may seem that someone could invent an “all-purpose” cleaner for our cars, but it would be hard, given all the different types of materials that make up the interior and exterior of our cars.

Plastic is a very porous surface and is considered a soft material, unlike metal surfaces which are considered hard. 

Soft surfaces like plastic will absorb products more easily, such as wax, if it is accidentally exposed to it.  

But as you clean other parts of your car, it’s not difficult to end up with a bit of wax adhered to your plastic parts. Let’s explore some ways to remove it, so your whole car will look good when your detailing and wax job is done.

1. Use a Household Rubbing Alcohol

A great place to start, when you realize you have gotten wax on your car’s plastic, is looking in your own medicine cabinet.

Rubbing alcohol is a staple in most homes, and for good reason. 

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Widely used for many things – from cleaning body piercings to cleaning kitchen grime – rubbing alcohol is made of components that make it an effective disinfectant that is frequently used for tasks big and small.  

It’s an inexpensive option as well and very safe unless swallowed. 

Pour some rubbing alcohol into a dish. Using an old toothbrush and a towel, dip it in the rubbing alcohol, then gently scrub it against the wax spot on your car’s plastic.

After a few passes, you should find the wax will begin to soften, then slowly release from the plastic. At this point, you can gently begin to peel it off the car and dispose of it.

2. Try a Magic Eraser

They don’t call these little guys “magic” for no reason!

If you have never tried a Magic Eraser, you are in for a treat. 

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These compact sponges have been known to rid homes of everything from beet juice stains on a countertop to dark scuff marks on white walls. 

But there’s actually no magic here. Magic Erasers are made of melamine, an abrasive agent that has a nitrogen-rich organic base.

Melamine has historically been used in all sorts of things from sound insulation to dry erase boards, but really became a household name when the Magic Eraser was created.

For removing wax from your car’s plastic, a Magic Eraser is a straightforward, easy approach.

Simply wet the sponge with regular water, and place it against the plastic. Press firmly for 60 seconds, then remove. If you don’t find that the wax is starting to loosen from the car, try this again. 

3. Try a Mixture of Baking Soda and Water

Another great home hack for ridding your car’s plastic from wax is the tried and true, constant go-to…baking soda.

Baking soda is a fantastic option for wax removal. 

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Almost every home has a box, and most of us have used baking soda at some point for something other than baking.

Its active ingredient is sodium bicarbonate, which is an abrasive agent that is also gentle on surfaces when applied. Whether you are using it on fabric or hard surfaces, its ability to remove unwanted particles is quite impressive, especially because it’s also very inexpensive.

Mix a small bit of water in with the baking soda. Then, using a toothbrush, gently rub the baking soda into the wax, using clockwise motions. 

After a minute, you should notice the wax beginning to peel away from the plastic. Continue to rub the baking soda across it until you can use a microfiber cloth or soft bristle brush to wipe it all away.

4. Purchase a Bottle of Spray-On Wax Remover

If all home hacks fail, the next thing to try for wax removal will definitely get your car’s plastic looking great again.

There are a myriad of products and soaps on the market for removing wax from surfaces. Some of these products are all-purpose removers, like Goo Gone.

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Other products will focus specifically on wax, namely wax on plastic.

Decide which would work best for you, then follow the directions to apply. 

If you are unsure, I would recommend starting with an all-purpose cleaning, like Goo Gone, since it’s easy to use, non-toxic, and can be used later for other automotive and home needs.

5. Take It To a Professional Detailer

Finally, if you’ve tried all the above suggestions and nothing is getting rid of that stubborn wax on your car’s plastic, it may be time for some professional help.

Leaving wax build-up on your car is not ideal. Not only is it unattractive and takes away from your car’s overall shine, but it can eventually begin to melt and cause damage not only to the plastic but to other areas if it bleeds onto them.

A reputable car detailer will know exactly what to do in order to remove the car wax from the plastic on your vehicle. They may have products or even equipment that work more effectively than what you have at home, or will be more effective than regular retailed cleaning agents.

Just make sure to find a professional who knows what they are doing and can explain the process to you.