The MYTHS of Carnauba wax
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Thread: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

  1. #1
    Loves to Detail TH0001's Avatar
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    The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Hopefully this thread will help clear up some misconceptions about carnauaba wax as it applies to the automotive detailing industry.

    Myth One: My car wax is 61 percent carnauba wax by volume!!! It's the best (and only cost 2g's)!!!

    Unlike the FDA which requires independent studies to make sure the labels on food are accurate, detailing companies basically answer to themselves (and their customers).

    Carnauba wax is harder then concrete in natural forum must be softened with solvents. California VOC regulations have limited the aggressiveness of the solvents that can be used, but it is safe to say that no more then 28% of the wax can be carnauba wax. So how do we arrive at this number (60% or more?)

    Carnauba wax can be measured many ways but it should be measured in wet volume (that is the carnauba wax should be melted into a liquid forum). In general carnauba wax is shipped in very fine flakes, which would be there DRY volume.

    An example would be to fill a 20 gallon garbage can half way up with feathers, then fill the rest up with water. Because of the light density and air gaps of the feather you could potential fill the rest of the can up with 16 gallons of water (so that only 1/5 the volume is actually feathers) and proclaim that it is 50% feather by volume (if you don't state that it is dry volume) where scientifically you would be at 20%.

    Also, measuring product by weight (and thus density) is more accurate. Keep in mind that the oils and solvents added to the carnauba are usually two to three times heavier then the melted carnauba, so by weight the figure would drop to 10% (or so).

    It’s a play on marketing and in my opinion false advertising.

    Myth Two: My wax is 100% carnauba.
    Well it cannot be more then roughly a 1/3 carnauba otherwise it would be like a block of concrete. However, if we look at the percentage of the wax in the product (assuming that no other waxes are blended in like bee's wax) then it is possible to have 100% of the wax content being carnauba.

    Myth Three: The carnauba in my wax is #1 Ivory White Pure Carnauba!

    Automotive waxes feature #1 Yellow Carnauba. This is the highest form of natural carnauba wax and even then it is not an expensive product. "White" or "Ivory" carnauba wax does not exist, period. It is yellow (different shades of yellow depending on age) and it is either #1 or it isn't. Micro carnauba (finely milled) can look white, but in general the carnauba wax is whitened by a bleaching process or by tumbling the flakes in paraffin wax.

    Myth Four: More carnauba is better

    Maybe. Carnauba wax isn't exactly super reflective in natural form. It has a filmy, slightly opaque look. Medicine and gummy bears are both encased in carnauba wax and neither has a mind blowing, jaw dropping look. It is the silicone, oil, other waxes, and solvents added to the carnauba wax that produces the shine, wetness, gloss, etc. Carnauba wax does benefit from an optical illusion called "jetting". This slight distortion in the reflected light is what creates the illusion of wetness or depth on the surface, which is desirable for many people.

    Keep in mind that only a small part of the look the wax produces is from the actual content of the carnauba. The rest is from the other ingredients. Also, the wax itself is rather cheap, so you end up paying more for a product that boasts of using the cheapest ingredient in the main formula.

    Manufacturers spend a lot of money researching the proper amount and what type of ingredients to mix into the wax solution to achieve the desired results. If you ask your manufacturer how much carnauba wax is in the product, a good response would be enough to get the exact look and application feel to get the job done.

    Myth Five: My wax is so high in carnauba that I have to warm it with my body heat and apply it by hand!!!

    Carnauba wax melts around 160 degrees F. unless you are The Human Torch, you are not melting anything. When mixed into a solution that offers more durability, the melting temperature is generally raised. Certain solvents will react with human oils and soften however. Besides if your wax melts at 98.7 degrees, imagine what happens when you pull your car in the sun!

    Myth Six: My wax uses natural ingredients!

    Muriatic Acid and cocaine are natural ingredients as well. So is sulfuric acid.

    Myth Seven: My wax cost 2g's but I get a lifetime of refills and it has all the myths listed above. It’s a great deal!

    Most waxes cost between 2 to 5 dollars to make and bottle. (5 dollars being VERY expensive). What we cannot account for is the R and D that goes into the product, as well marketing, etc... However, if you pay 2'gs for a 5 dollar wax (assuming it is very expensive to manufacture), receive a 100 dollar container, and life time refills, you are not getting a great deal by my simple, mid-western logic. That means you would have 1900 dollars in product that you would have to refill 380 times to break even (minus the shipping costs each time).

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    Avatar Czar BlueZero's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Good write up Todd! I found it informative as well as entertaining!

    Sometimes I find it hard not to get caught up in the hype even though I know better.

    I use that 'natural ingredient' line with my friends and their food.
    Scott

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    Clean Freak Kooz's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Excellent write up Todd. I enjoyed it and learned quite a bit! Well done. Next time I have $2,000 lying around collecting dust I will remember this.

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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Quote Originally Posted by TH0001 View Post
    Hopefully this thread will help clear up some misconceptions about carnauaba wax as it applies to the automotive detailing industry.

    Myth One: My car wax is 61 percent carnauba wax by volume!!! It's the best (and only cost 2g's)!!!

    ...

    Myth Three: The carnauba in my wax is #1 Ivory White Pure Carnauba!

    ...

    Myth Five: My wax is so high in carnauba that I have to warm it with my body heat and apply it by hand!!!

    ...

    Myth Seven: My wax cost 2g's but I get a lifetime of refills and it has all the myths listed above. It’s a great deal!
    It is a shame that what is technically correct info is used as a disguise to talk in demeaning manner about certain product and manufacturer, and it is a shame that one is attempting to manipulatively use MOL, official site of one car care manufacturer, to talk in such way about another car care manufacturer.

    If post was sticking to general statements that would have been at least good, if not great and valuable, post but it is obvious from statements above original poster is talking about Zymol and their Vintage.

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    ///Member Ivan Rajic's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Thanks for posting this!
    Ivan Rajic - LUSTR Auto Detail
    Chicago, Illinois

    Recognized as One of the Top Nine Auto Detailers in the US by AutoWeek Magazine!!

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    ///Member Ivan Rajic's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Quote Originally Posted by ZoranC View Post
    It is a shame that what is technically correct info is used as a disguise to talk in demeaning manner about certain product and manufacturer, and it is a shame that one is attempting to manipulatively use MOL, official site of one car care manufacturer, to talk in such way about another car care manufacturer.

    If post was sticking to general statements that would have been at least good, if not great and valuable, post but it is obvious from statements above original poster is talking about Zymol and their Vintage.
    Even if it was a stab at a specific wax it still makes sense to educate people on a forum that isn't biased towards the wax as opposed to a forum that is going to defend it and say it's false...
    Ivan Rajic - LUSTR Auto Detail
    Chicago, Illinois

    Recognized as One of the Top Nine Auto Detailers in the US by AutoWeek Magazine!!

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    aka: 23jam J. A. Michaels's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Excellent write up Todd. It may appear to some that he was taking a shot at Zymol. However I took it as a point of reference. We have all heard about the $2000.00 dollar wax.So his example broke it all down. Once again thanks for the write up. Very interesting.
    quality creates its own demand

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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    In most, "most" cases, it's a moot point. I don't know of but 1 or maybe 2 people that post on detailing forums that blow 2K on a jar of wax. It's like Car & Driver doing one of their ultimate sports car comparisons, like I lie awake wondering which mega dollar super coupe to buy. So, in that respect, it's all in what you can afford and what you feel has the most value to you. I get great looks from Megs 21 2.0 and 26, along with some other companies stuff - all in the same price range.

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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Quote Originally Posted by Junebug View Post
    It's like Car & Driver doing one of their ultimate sports car comparisons, like I lie awake wondering which mega dollar super coupe to buy.
    ... plus I wonder how many of super car buyers are really being influenced in their buying decision by review in C&D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Junebug View Post
    So, in that respect, it's all in what you can afford and what you feel has the most value to you.
    ... which is a subject of completely different myth worth it's own thread.

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    Registered Member Markus Kleis's Avatar
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    Re: The MYTHS of Carnauba wax

    Jabs or not, who cares? I actually like that someone specifically pointed out the marketing BS of that product for once.

    I think all of us are smart enough to extract the meat of the post and apply it to any carnuba, so no harm no foul IMO.

    Good post!

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