Using car wax to clean your house actually works

Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Look, I’m a little crazy: I live and breathe cars, I love to drive, and I love shiny things. I am also a normal (ish) person with a normal house and a normal need to keep it clean. Usually.

Some time ago a thought occurred to me. Many household cleaners are just wax or oil based polishes mixed with a faux citrus or pine scent. What if, instead, I used car wax in my garage to clean various items around the house? Who knows what kind of brilliant potential this might unleash? I looked online, naturally, and found out that I’m not the only one with this crazy idea: even This old house had some interesting ideas on the subject. So I put them to the test.

Wax works great on granite
Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Test 1: The kitchen counter

Results: Truly exceptional
I started with my kitchen counter, because I thought it would be easy. I took out my random orbital polisher and started working as I would with my car. I used a polishing compound first (if you’re unfamiliar, think of it like very fine liquid sandpaper), and followed it up with the same wax I use on my car.

I seriously underestimated the time it would take. When painting a car, you have to be quick or risk damaging the coat. With granite it is virtually impossible to damage the stone, so the slower you go the better the shine.

Is it worth it? Undoubtedly! The end result is unbelievable. It’s perfectly slippery, and now I can see the reflection of my face when I make a sandwich. Two thumbs up. (One caveat I have: some people prepare food directly on their counter, rather than on plates and cutting boards. If you are one of those people, note that most cleaning products automobile are not exactly tested by the FDA.)

Wax a leather seat
Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Test 2: A leather chair

Results: Meh, not so much
Seriously emboldened by the success of the counter, I continued and decided to make a leather chair next. Leather waxing is a bit controversial. Some people claim that leather needs to breathe and that it can dry out and crack if you wax it. Others go in the opposite direction, that most leather products are actually sealed before you buy them and the shoe polish will not damage them. I used an old leather chair which frankly has seen better days, and took some good old fashioned carnauba wax for this one (easier to remove if something goes wrong) .

I’m glad I did this. The wax did not work poorly, but it didn’t really impress me either. Twenty minutes of work gave the same result as about 30 seconds with a store-bought leather wipe. Past.

You can wax stainless steel
Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Test 3: Stainless steel

Results: Beautiful but useless
Then all that is stainless steel. The theory is that if you wax your kitchen appliances, you will have a long lasting shine and, more importantly, fingerprint resistance. I thoroughly cleaned the oven, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator and covered them with a nice shiny coat. As you can see, the result is magnificent. What you can’t see in this photo is how unsuccessful the effort was. Either my hands are exceptionally prone to fingerprints (quite possible!)

Hair removal from mirrors does not work
Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Test 4: Basically the whole bathroom

Results: Mixed
I read in the above This old house item that will not fog up on the mirrors if you wax them. Let me set the record straight: this is completely and totally wrong. Look at the photo above. The left side (horribly misty) was waxed with the same carnauba I used on the chair. The right side (equally horribly foggy, but cleaner) showcases the putty I used on the counter. That stripe in the middle with much, much less steam? This is the section that I did not touch.

It wasn’t a complete waste, however. Even if you don’t want the floor of your tub or shower to be layer, wax actually has the opposite effect when wet. If you wax your tub, you will have a lot more grip than before because the water really does not want to stick to the surface. I tested it in a spot and confirmed: much less slippery! It was dry slippery however, which is not great. For tubs, there is actually a special type of wax designed for wood floors that has – by law – friction modifiers so you don’t slip around and kill yourself. I would recommend picking up some.

You can wax your wood
Aaron Miller / Thrillist

Test 5: Wooden furniture

Results: Killer
I readily admit that my youthful side kept laughing at the thought of polishing my wood. All That’s what she said Jokes aside, seriously, carnauba wax on wood is a brilliant combination. It’s pretty old-school – there’s a good chance your great-grandparents did too – but as you can see from that old trunk, it works. I have also used it on my desk, bed set and literally every piece of real wood I could find except the floor which (like your tub) needs a specially formulated wax. so as not to slip and die.

Last word: You have to try this. I drastically improved my granite game. Next time, I’ll try waxing my exterior windows to keep them clean and protected from the elements, and I’ll definitely listen to that. REM song “Shiny Happy People” In the process. Did I mention how beautiful my granite is?

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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and he’s really used car care products all over his house. Follow it like a moth to a shining and shining existence at Twitter and Facebook.

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