How to Make A White Car Shine?

Last Updated 15th December 2019

Avid car detailers are often deterred from owning a white car as they’re renowned for being tricky to achieve a deep finish that is usually associated with darker coloured cars. Making a white car shine is as much about technique as it is using specialist products for light cars – so follow this article to find out how to make a white car shine!

The natural brightness of a white car means that your eyes are drawn away from the dirt and focus on the white paint. With the right wash process and finishing products, it’s easy to get a deep glossy finish on any white car!

The focus of cleaning a white car is to reduce the yellowing effect of contamination and to really enhance the colour. This is what makes the white colouring pop and shine!

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to make your white car shine in 3 easy steps! I’ll also give me recommendations on the best products on the market for bringing out the bright white shine in your paint!

3 Simple Steps to Make a White Car Shine

1 – Clean & Decontamination

Before anything, it’s essential to fully clean and decontaminate the white paintwork. This is to rid the paintwork of any dirt and embedded contamination.

See my guide to detailing for more information on cleaning and decontamination.

2 – Glaze

A glaze is a product used on paintwork to hide/mask imperfections without actually removing them. Some glazes contain light abrasives to assist in removing light swirl marks. Glazes are very effective at filling imperfections which allows light to reflect off the paint more evenly.

If you don’t have time to polish your car then a glaze is a great alternative that will hide scratches, creating a smooth & shiny finish on the paint.

Learn how to use glaze to mask imperfections on a white car.

3 – Wax

Waxing a car is nothing ground-breaking and has been a core step in car detailing for decades!

After glazing the paint you want to lock-in those fillers, and protect the shiny finish from the environment. A wax also enhances the shine and brightness of white paint – so is essential when finishing a white car.

Learn how to use wax to make a white car shine.

Best All-in-One for Making a White Car Shine

Meguiar's 3-in-1 Wax

When finishing white paintwork, the aim is to get the white paint as white and as bright as possible. Whereas, with darker paint the aim is to massage natural oils into the paintwork to achieve a deep glossy finish.

The best way to do this is through polishing, glazing, and waxing the car. Meguiar’s have tied all of these steps into one with their 3-in-1 Wax!

Meguiar’s 3-in-1 contains mild abrasives that will help to remove any lights swirls and scratches from the paint.

The key component in Meguiar’s 3-in-1 is the paint cleaners, that will help to remove staining & oxidisation from the paint – making the white paint as bright as possible. It contains a blend of carnauba & synthetic wax that provides a long-lasting coat of protection to lock-in the shiny white finish!

Meguiar’s 3-in-1 includes a black wax applicator pad that adds contrast against the white paintwork. It’s incredibly easy to apply and remove without using much product and without sacrificing the shine of the paint.

This product acts as a polish, a glaze, and a wax which makes it a no brainer when it comes to making a white car shine.

Last update on 2020-10-31 at 10:34 via Amazon Product Advertising API

Using Glaze to Mask Imperfections

What is Glaze?

A glaze is a product used on paintwork to hide/mask imperfections without removing them. Glazes will fill any swirls marks or light scratches, allowing light to reflect off the paint a lot more evenly. Think of this like make-up for cars!

Best Glaze for White Cars

Poorboys White Diamond Glaze

Poorboys White Diamond is a glaze created specifically for light coloured paintwork, so it works a treat on white cars. It contains cleaners which will gently lift dirt and oils from the paintwork. By removing dirt from the scratches, the cleansers are reducing the appearance of scratches resulting in a clean, shiny surface.

As well as cleansing the paint, White Diamond also contains fillers that will smooth out light scratches and swirls, producing a smooth glossy finish on the paint. This product can be applied by hand or with a machine, then gently buffed off to reveal a rich shine – Poorboys White Diamond is highly recommended!

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Autoglym Super Resin Polish

Autoglym is a household brand when it comes to car cleaning, and their Super Resin Polish is one of the most popular products in the detailing space! When it comes to making a white car shine, this really is an “all-in-one” purchase.

Suitable for all paint types, Super Resin Polish contains light abrasives to assist in physically removing light swirls and scratches, fillers to mask any remaining imperfections, and sealant to protect the paint once you’re finished!

This product leaves a deep shine on white paintwork – resulting in a wet-look finish, which can be very difficult to achieve on white cars! I would recommend accompanying this polish with Autoglym Perfect Polish Applicator, which has pointy and curved edges to ensure extra precision when applying this product.

Last update on 2020-10-31 at 10:34 via Amazon Product Advertising API

Autobrite Cherry Glaze

Autobrite Cherry Glaze is an all-in-one polish and protectant that will leave any white car gleaming! Cherry Glaze contains cleaners to cleanse the paint, as well as other agents that will remove oxidisation on the surface of the paint. It also contains light abrasives that will help to remove light scratches and swirling.

Cherry Glaze is also a protectant and contains high-quality Brazilian T1 Carnauba Wax that helps to give white paint a wet-look, high gloss finish.

This product offers much more versatility than other glazes, as it can also be used on glass, metal, carbon, perspex, and even plastic trim! Cherry Glaze can even be applied to warm panels or in sub-zero temperatures making this an all-year-round must-have product!

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Using a Wax to Make White Paintwork Shine

Why You Should Wax Your Car?

Waxing a car is nothing ground-breaking and has been a core step in car detailing for decades! You should always provide some form of protection to the paintwork after a deep clean to lock-in all of your hard work!

3 reasons why you should wax your car:

  1. Protection – By adding a layer of wax, you are adding a sacrificial layer of protection between the clear coat and the environment. The wax will protect the paintwork from UV radiation. This drastically increases the lifespan of the paint as well as preserving a factory finish. Wax also has naturally hydrophobic properties meaning it will repel water and grime – something you’ll be thankful for in the UK!
  2. Finish – This is the most common reason why people want to wax their car, to increase the shine of the paintwork. A carnauba wax usually provides a better finish on lighter or solid colours, whereas a synthetic wax is more effective on dark or metallic paintwork.
  3. Ease of Washing – Ensure that your car is always coated in a layer of wax to make the car cleaning process easier. Any grime, tree sap, bug splats and other dirt will stick to the wax rather than the paint surface, making it a lot easier and safer to remove – reducing the chance of scratching the paint.

Best Wax for White Cars

Poorboys Natty’s White Paste Wax

Poorboys Natty’s White Paste Wax was the first-ever wax that Poorboys created, and it offers great results for white cars. Natty’s Paste Wax collection contains several colours with the white being most suitable for light colours.

As stated on the packaging as “Easy on, Easy off”, this wax is very easy to apply & buff off and smells incredible too – making it a very pleasant product to use!

Natty’s White Paste Wax offers great durability, giving your car much-needed protection against the environment. It also provides a deep, high-gloss shine on white paintwork making this a perfect wax for white cars.

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Dodo Juice Diamond White

Dodo Juice Diamond White is a hard wax containing white beeswax, white carnauba, coconut and almond oil – making it ideal for light coloured paintwork.

Diamond White is very easy to apply and spreads over the panel with ease. Some hard waxes can prove difficult to remove. However once allowed to haze this product is easily removed to reveal a deep shine on white paintwork! The composition of this wax means it provides a hard, glass-like finish!

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White Car Cleaning Tips

1. Wheels First 

Wheels are the dirtiest part of the car, often producing black suds during a clean.

By washing the wheels first, any overspray that may splash onto the paintwork will be gently removed when you clean the paintwork. This ensures that you are not ruining the bright white finish of a recently cleaned car.

2. Avoid Coloured Snow Foam

Although it’s tempting to cover your car is bright coloured snow foam and shampoo, some colouring agents can stain white paintwork.

This is not the case for most coloured products, however, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Stick to standard white snow foam – colour doesn’t make it any better at cutting through grime!

3. Use Contrasting Gear

Don’t become snow blind by using a white wash-mitt, on a white shampoo, on a white car.

Add some contrast to the wash process by using a colourful wash mitt and drying towel. This will help your brain to focus on the point of contact – making for a much more methodical wash.

4. Decontamination Is Key

Once you’ve washed your car, you might step back and think how clean the paintwork looks. However, I guarantee that after some chemical decontamination and clay barring you’ll be glad you didn’t finish up there. 

An iron fallout remover will remove any embedded iron particles from the paint. Although these particles are not always visible to the naked eye, they will ruin a bright white shine on the car by reflecting the light unevenly. Iron fallout removers work wonders on white cars, bleeding red as they react with the iron.

Ugly brown tar spots will stick out like a sore thumb on shiny white paintwork. After you’ve removed the iron particles, apply some tar remover to dissolve the unwanted splats!

5. Don’t Skip The Clay

After chemically decontaminating the car, you should use a clay bar (with lubrication) to physically decontaminate the car. By gently passing the clay bar over the paintwork, you will draw out any remaining contamination like tree sap and other stubborn substances. At this point, you’ll really start to notice an improvement in the shine.

6. Dress Those Tyres

Taking the time after a clean to dress your tyres helps to add some depth and contrast to the final finish. Some glossy black rubber will really pop against the shiny white paint surface, presenting a more sporty and aggressive finish! The same goes for any other black areas of the car.

7. Clean Glass, Clean Car

Cleaning glass is often something that is overlooked when cleaning a car. Crystal clear glass will make the car look cleaner for longer! There’s nothing worse than seeing grubby fingerprints on a window so make sure to give the glass some attention.