How to Apply Car Wax Properly Even Without Shade

How to Apply Car Wax Properly Even Without Shade

Although it is not ideal to wax a car under direct sunlight, not everyone has trees, carports, or garages to give shade to their vehicle while waxing it. If you want to find the best ways to wax your car, even in sunlight, then you are at the right place!

If you do not have any shade, you may find it difficult to wax your car properly, especially when the high temperatures and humidity arrive. The 4 main problems when waxing outside in direct sunlight are heat, hot paint, dust, and possible bird droppings. Applying car wax under direct sunlight is definitely not recommended.

However, there are some workarounds and certain waxes you can use, in direct sunlight and hot weather. 

Some people prefer to wake up early and wax their car early in the morning when the sun is not at its peak. Some do it late in the evening right before the sun sets. There are also some who consider using the bays of a self-serve car wash to wax theirs.

In this guide, we will give you some tips on how to apply wax on your car without a shade.

Which Car Wax Should You Use?

The three types of waxes available in the market today are liquid, paste and spray wax.

Paste Wax

The most traditional form of wax. Usually has the highest concentration of carnauba and silicones. Some paste waxes can protect your car for 3-6 months, sometimes up to a year.

Most paste waxes cannot be applied in direct sunlight because of curing or dwelling time. It can stain some trims and glass. It can be a bit more difficult to wipe off or remove.

Liquid Wax

It has an easier application method. It can be applied using a machine polisher or by hand. Sometimes it can be messy or streaky if you apply too much and some can’t be applied under direct sunlight.

Some liquid waxes contain compounds that can act as a polishing agent to remove swirl marks. The longevity of liquid waxes can be from 2-6 months depending on the manufacturer and paint prep.

Spray Wax

These are water-ier and easier for application. Just spray and wipe. It is preferred by mobile detailers like River Islands Car Salon because of its versatility and ease of use when detailing outside under the sun.

There are quite a few spray waxes that are sun friendly and we recommend using synthetic spray wax from Meguiars. It is the best car wax to use for beginners and at-home detailing. The longevity of spray wax can be from 2 weeks, up to 2 months.

Water-Activated Spray Wax

This is a new technology in car paint protection. They are probably the easiest for application. After washing your car and rinsing, you spray this water-activated spray wax to bond with the water. However, some detailers complain about streaking issues not being rinsed properly.

Moreover, you might need to use more water to rinse off the product. We are not familiar with this type of spray wax and haven’t used it so far but if you are willing to try, there are several options out there. Longevity can vary from a couple of weeks to 3 months. 

Once you have chosen the most suitable type of wax for your needs, use these techniques on to properly wax your car without a shade.

How to Apply Wax without Shade

Normally, the best condition for waxing a car is at an optimum and cool temperature. It’s always advisable to work in the shade if it’s a hot day or in a garage if it’s a cold one. Working indoors also helps you avoid contaminating your car’s finish with bird droppings and other airborne contaminants.

Waxes are naturally difficult to apply in direct sunlight because they tend to dry too quickly and can be very difficult to remove. The good news is that there are waxes formulated specifically for use in direct sunlight and can last in the sun.

If a decent shade is scarce where you live, we’ll teach you how to apply wax properly. Here’s a step-by-step process for you to follow.

Step 1: Wash your car with ice water

Spraying car with ice water

Prepare your pressure washer and deionized water system or your garden hose and attach your foam sprayer.

Get a bucket of distilled water and fill it with some ice cubes. Add your car soap, and dunk your clean microfiber wash mitt. Swirl it around to make foam.

Rinse your car, spray with soap, and then scrub. The cold water will make the paint surface cooler and this gives you more time to apply your wax. 

Step 2. Dry your car using microfiber towels and a leaf blower

Drying car with microfiber cloth

Wipe dry your car right after you rinse so you don’t get water spots, especially if you don’t have distilled water or you’re using tap water.

The water droplets and wax may cause streaking issues, so be sure to wipe the car dry completely.

Step 3. Apply spray wax and wipe.

Applygin spray wax on car and wiping

While the paint surface is cool to the touch, spray some wax directly and wipe with a clean microfiber towel.

Don’t over-saturate or spray too much wax because it can be difficult to remove. Spray twice across and evenly on each panel for better results.

Step 4. Carry a spray bottle filled with ice water and rinse less wash solution.

As you wax each panel, other panels will get hot. Spray some ice water with a diluted rinse less wash solution to keep the panels cool.

Wipe it dry and touch the panel to see if it’s still hot. Spray ice water until the panel cools off then apply wax.

Tips to Wax Your Car Without Shade

Waxing your car properly even without shade can be quite tricky. You need to know the right process to do it and the right tools and products to do it with. Here are some top tips and tricks for you to keep in mind to properly wax your car even when there’s no shade.

1. Divide the panels into small sections and apply the wax one section at a time. Work as quickly as possible.

If you’re waxing your car in broad daylight, the tendency is that the wax will dry right away. This will give your paintwork ugly wax patches and can be quite difficult to remove.

However, if you divide the different panels into sections and work quickly on each of them, you’ll be able to wax your car even without shade triumphantly.

2. Apply thinner layers of wax to save product and buff easily

Waxing your car under direct sunlight works better if you’re applying thin layers of wax. This makes it easier for the wax to cure and buff away the excess. 

Applying a thicker layer of wax doesn’t always mean better protection. Just make sure to spread the wax thinly and evenly for better results.

3. Avoid waxing your car when the sun is at its peak

If you’re planning to wax your car in broad daylight, make sure not to do it when the sun is at its hottest. Avoid doing it at midday. Do it earlier in the day to avoid the scorching heat of the sun or do the deed in the afternoon before the sun sets. The key here is to avoid basking your car under the heat of the sun.

4. Use a wax that can be applied in direct sunlight

As mentioned earlier, there are certain brands that specifically formulate their wax to be used in direct sunlight. This is perfect for those who live in places that have warmer temperatures all day long. You can also use this if you prefer to apply wax at midday.


Now that we have laid down all the processes and tips, you know how to apply wax on your car without shade. Though it’s not advisable to do this under direct sunlight, when you have no other choice, it’s best to know the right alternative.

Just because you don’t have trees, carports, or garages to give shade to your vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t apply car wax on it. The only thing you need to remember is to do it when the sun’s not too hot and to apply it quickly one section at a time.


You can always hire a professional mobile car detailing service, like River Islands Car Salon, if you are unsure about doing it on your own. Since they are experts, whether your car is parked in a shade or not, they can wax your car properly so you can get the best results. 

Contact us now to get started.

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