Anywhere Carnauba Car Wax is used

The Brazilian carnauba palm is one of the most diverse trees in the world. It is best known for producing the eponymous carnauba wax which forms a layer on the virulent leaves of the palm tree. You’ve heard of it, of course, by its more popular title: car wax. And believe it or not, it’s in a ton of things that you use every day.

From chewing gum to dental floss, here are 17 things you would never expect to have in car wax. *

*Don’t worry: no more than last year, the The FDA has confirmed that carnauba wax is “generally recognized as safe”, and perfectly suitable for human consumption. That said, it’s still car wax.

1. Fruits and vegetables

Wax coating on everything from apples and peppers to cucumbers and oranges helps to lock in moisture during shipping and also makes your food nice and shiny in the grocery store.

2. Paper

Yes, it is the “wax” in the waxed paper. But it’s also on more paper. Car wax is used to control the gloss of paper. Compare a base sheet from your printer to that of a glossy magazine and you will easily see how much is used. This is actually the main use of carnauba wax in the United States … even more so than for our cars.

3. Tic Tacs, Nerds and M & M’s

Really, just about any candy with a hard, shiny shell contains carnauba wax. Rubbing them on your car is always a bad idea.

4. Shoe polish

You’ll usually find carnauba right next to other oddities like turpentine.

5. Floor waxing

Wax is used as one of the many ingredients in many industrial floor polishes because it provides a relatively non-slip surface that is also shiny and repels liquids.

6. Dental floss

Well, unless you buy the unwaxed type.

7. Tobacco pipes

Traditional lacquer (i.e. for wood furniture, etc.) tends to flake off as it ages. It’s bad when you put on fire and breathe. Wax doesn’t do this, so it’s the polish of choice for your super chic tobacco pipe.

8. Cosmetics

Lipstick and lipstick might seem like a no-brainer, but car wax is also used by many brands in mascara, eye shadow, and foundation. Basically, any type of makeup can be done with it.

9. Chewing gum

Everything from Juicy Fruit to Eclipse has just a hint of carnauba in it.

10. Fruit snacks

Just before the yellow no. 5 is the reason your favorite chewy fruit tends to have a waxy appearance.

11. Surfboards

As early as the 1960s, surfers noticed that their boards went faster if they polished them with carnauba, and that they also had better grip.

12. Sunscreen

If made from natural ingredients, sunscreen with car wax adds water resistance to the mixture.

13. Musical instruments

This really shouldn’t be too surprisingly, as the wax gives a protective coating and a nice shine just like you want your car to.

14. Explosives

Yes, wax helps make things explode. It’s used in what’s called pourable explosives, which are the kind you’ll find in a hand grenade or landmine … and also early atomic bombs.

15. Knives

It is used both as an adhesive to help hold the blade in the handle and as a protective coating for the handle itself.

16. Pills

It is the same principle as the M&M coating. Wax is applied to the pills as a final step in their production, to make them easier to swallow.

17. Semiconductors

When making a bunch of semiconductors, an aerosol spray of wax helps each one free from its mold, speeding up production time and reducing the chance of damage.

Aaron Miller is the Mounted editor for Supercompressor, and maybe found on twitter. He ditched carnauba over ten years ago and still can’t escape its brilliant hold.

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