Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beware of car waxes

I wonder what goes into car wax? What's it made of? How safe is car wax? Is it corrosive? I had always thought of car wax as only stuff that would need elbow grease to apply on and then wipe it off with a polish.

Recently, I had a rather unpleasant surprise. I have with me a can of Soft99 car wax. I've been using this brand of car wax for some six, maybe seven years. Apply, wait, remove, in that order and my car would be left shining.

The last time I really waxed the car was at the beginning of the year. I haven't done much to my cars since then. Last Sunday, I thought of waxing the cars again. So I went to take out the can from the storeroom. I was surprised.

First, I noticed a big hole at the bottom of the can. Whatever had been in the liquid wax had corroded through the metal can onto the floor. The wax had dried up and bits and pieces of dirty, greasy yellowish brown clumps of stuff were falling out from the hole. Clearly, my can of Soft99 was now worse than useless.

But there was more to bargain with. I took the can and carelessly put in on the cement floor outside the house while I went off in search of a plastic bag. When I returned, I was horrifed to see that some of the dried wax that had spilled from the can had stained the cement. No amount of washing could remove the stain mark. It's still there, on the floor, stained white.

And my third surprise turned into shock. As I tried to clear the store room of the mess that the Soft99 had left behind, I found myself staring at a gaping hole on the floor. It was a four centimetre-wide hole (about twice the diameter of a 50 cents coin) that was about five millimetres deep.

Now, what sort of chemicals are there in this can of liquid wax that can do so much damage? Clearly, it is very corrosive but there is little or no warning at all from the manufacturer. If car wax can do this to the floors in my house, what protection is there for our cars? Or even, how safe is car wax since inevitably, we must handle it with our hands?

Is it just Soft99 or are all car waxes generally the same? Nothing on the Internet seems to provide me an answer. Not even an inadequate answer. All I have are questions and the pictures on this blog to warn people of the dangers of car wax.

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