Question: All Natural Car Wax - Is it Green?

Question: All Natural Car Wax - Is it Green?

Trent Johnson
Feb 12, 2009

The shine of my car is the last thing I'm concerned about these days (I don't even own a car anymore), but there are plenty of uses for car wax that have nothing to do with polishing your hood: from fixing a scratched CD, to shining nonporous surfaces (refrigerators, granite counters, faucets), to fighting mildew and corrosion. But how green exactly is car wax?

Natural wax is usually derived from a substance called carnauba, obtained from a Brazilian plant called copernica cerifera. Petroleum distillates and other oils are usually added to the natural wax in order to make it more useable (carnauba is very hard in its natural form). Petroleum additives never sound like a good idea - but how bad are these for the environment and your home?

There is a way to make your own car wax, without petroleum, from

  • Dump 1 cup of linseed oil, 4 tbsp. of carnauba wax, 2 tbsp. of beeswax and 1/2 cup of vinegar into the top half of a double boiler or saucepan.
  • Heat slowly, on low, until wax has melted.
  • Stir, and pour into a heat-resistant container.
  • Allow wax to solidify for about an hour or more.
  • Apply wax with a sponge or lint-free towel onto the car, and rub to a deep shine.

And the list of uses for car wax goes on and on. Here are a few, from This Old House's 10 Uses for Carwax

  • Keeping appliances fingerprint-free: Apply a thin coat and buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges.
  • Apply a small dab of car wax to a scratched CD and buff it clean using short strokes along the length of the scratch, not across it. Rinse the CD with water, and let it air-dry before playing.
  • Give faucets a shine: Rub car wax onto kitchen and bathroom metal fixtures to keep them shiny and spot-free.
  • Unstick hinges: Use car wax to lubricate the hinges of garden shears and scissors.
  • Combat corrosion: Apply a thin coat of car wax to brass door knockers, mailboxes, and other outdoor fixtures to keep them from tarnishing.
  • Fight mildew: After using your regular cleanser, apply a layer of car wax to the inside and outside of a shower door and buff off with a dry cloth to stave off mildew growth
  • Keep snow from sticking: Shoveling is hard enough when snow is heavy and damp. Apply two thick coats of car wax to the head of a shovel (or to the inside of your snow blower's chute) to prevent the white stuff from sticking.
  • Make a mirror fog-free: Rub a thin layer of car wax onto a bathroom mirror and buff it clean. Next time you step out of the shower, you'll be able to see your reflection without having to wipe away condensation first.
  • Combat Corrosion: Apply car wax to house windows that ice up during winter to allow condensation to run off without freezing.

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