How To Apply Compound, Polish, and Wax by Hand

Quick Tips for applying compound, polish, and wax by hand from the experts at Meguiar's

Compound, Polish, and Wax
How To Apply Compound, Polish, and Wax by Hand

It’s possible to get great results, by hand, with compound, polish or wax as long as you use the right products, you use clean, premium accessories, and of course, the right technique — The process is not complicated.

How do you apply compound, polish and wax by hand?

Start with a clean surface — Begin by washing your vehicle with a pH balanced car wash to remove any loose contaminants from the surface.

Evaluate the paint — Determine if there are above surface contaminants by running your clean, dry fingertips lightly over the paint. If the paint feels rough, this tells you that there are above surface contaminants bonded on top of the paint. It’s important to remove these contaminants in order to get the best results.

It’s easy to remove above surface contaminants with one of Meguiar’s consumer clay kits like Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Clay Kit or Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit.

If your paint already feels completely smooth, skip this step and move on.

Visually inspect your paint — With proper lighting, look for below surface defects like swirls, scratches, oxidation, and stains. If you have light to moderate below surface defects, you want to use a scratch remover or clear coat safe compound like Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. This product is the perfect way to remove defects in the paint without hazing or marring the surface like a traditional compound would.

When using a compound by hand we recommend using a Meguiar’s Soft Foam Applicator Pad. Dispense a small amount of Ultimate Compound directly on the pad. With light to moderate pressure, work a 2’ x 2’ section for about 1-2 minutes in an overlapping pattern.

Be sure to apply even pressure over the pad. Wipe the residue off before it dries with a fresh, clean Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel. Then, turn the towel over to a clean side for your final wipe. Re-apply as needed, working in sections over the entire vehicle.

Once you’ve removed the below surface paint defects, the next step is to polish, especially if you are going for the best results. Using a polish further refines the paint surface & adds polishing oils for maximum gloss and depth of shine. This is an optional step that will enhance depth of shine on any color, but it’s most effective on darker and more brilliant colors.

One of best polishes is Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish Pre-Waxing Glaze.
To apply by hand, we recommend using a Soft Foam Applicator Pad. Dispense a small amount directly on the pad. Apply to a 2’ x 2’ section at a time using light to moderate pressure in a circular pattern, making 4-6 overlapping passes per section. Wipe off immediately before it dries with a Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel. Again, turn your towel to a clean portion for the final wipe. Work in sections like this over the vehicle.

Applying a coat of wax protection after you’ve prepared the paint with a compound and polish will help preserve the work you’ve done, and keep the paint looking better, for longer.

In addition, the wax provides significant protection against elements in the environment, added gloss, and that all-important water beading action which can help your car stay cleaner & makes washing and maintaining easier.

One of Meguiar’s best and longest lasting protections is Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax. Ultimate Wax easy to use, offers a brilliant depth of shine, and leaves behind a durable polymer protection. Another great option is Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax. Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax is an easy to use wax that utilizes Meguiar’s latest cutting-edge chemistry, and is one of our most durable, longest lasting, and most extreme water beading waxes we offer.

Apply either product with a Soft Foam Applicator Pad, spread a thin coat to a section. Allow to cure 3-5 minutes and remove with a Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel. Turn to a clean portion of the towel for a final wipe. Work in sections until you’ve finished the entire vehicle.

With the right products, accessories & techniques you can get amazing results doing a multi-step system…

And you don’t have to use a machine.

Products Used