Griot’s Car Care Tip: Is my wax is 100% carnauba?

Exaggerated marketing and plain old misinformation have created a confusing bunch of car care assumptions. Many car care manufacturers advertise their waxes as being “100% Carnauba Wax.” We sure hope not! If what they were selling you was pure carnauba wax, it would be hard as a rock and come in brick or flake form. The pure carnauba would be too hard to apply to your paint (and would probably scratch it).

There are two different ways wax content can be presented; total wax content and carnauba wax content.

Total wax content is the percentage of wax in the bottle, tub, or stick you buy, so when you hear manufacturers claim 20%, 30%, etc., they are talking about total wax content. For example, if you purchased an 8-oz. tub of wax with 25% wax content, then 2 oz. of your 8 oz. would be wax. The rest is made up of other things used to soften the carnauba, ease application, etc.

Carnauba wax content is the percentage of wax that is carnauba (so the 2 oz. in the example above). Any automotive wax claiming to be 100% carnauba wax is talking about their carnauba wax content and not their total wax content. As explained in the article, pure carnauba is rock hard and not safe for automotive paint. Anything done to soften this and make it useful for automotive applications would have to add something to the carnauba wax thus making it less than 100% carnauba.

Have fun in your garage!

-Griot’s Garage