White wax stains and what you can do about them.

White wax stains on plastic trim come from solvents in the wax. These solvents are not meant for cleaning the paint. They are actually just there as a carrier for the protective ingredients in the wax. Once the wax is applied to your car, the solvent evaporates, leaving the wax on the paint. The problem is, the solvents stain plastic trim.

The best defense against wax stains is to prevent them in the first place! You can tape off plastic trim if you’re applying your wax with a buffer. You can just be very careful when applying wax by hand. Accidents still happen so your other option is to choose a wax that will not stain trim. Many WOWO (wipe on, wipe off) waxes will not stain trim and you can identify them by the fact that they also do not dry to a white haze. Examples are Pinnacle Souverän, Pinnacle Signature Series II, Detailer’s Pro Series Max Wax, Wolfgang Füzion, Poorboy’s Natty’s Paste Wax, and P21S Concours Carnauba Wax.

If your wax of choice is an apply-and-dry wax, you can still remove wax stains from trim by acting quickly. You can use a dedicated wax remover, like Griot’s Garage Dried On Wax Remover or you can opt for Detailer’s Pro Series Cleanse-All Exterior Cleaner. It will remove everything from the trim, including any dressings, so you’ll want to reapply protection after cleaning the trim.

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