Hands-On with Rain-X Wash & Wax
Our final verdict on this convenient car washing/waxing solution.
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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON July 17, 2019
- Comes with a large amount of cleaning solution.
- Good protection against rain and UV rays.
- Leaves a deep shine and decent wet look on the paint finish.
- Very little residue and streaks when applied properly.
- Only clean light and medium dirt.
- Not a big winner in the ease-of-use department. Must be applied in one particular way for the best results.
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I'm always torn between taking my large, well-kitted truck to a car wash or cleaning the whole darn thing myself. I, like others, value my time, meaning I'm not the type of person to spend hours and hours detailing my vehicle to showroom results. When I do go into the Wild West of car detailing, known as the DIY Frontier, I look for products that are less results-oriented and more about speeding up the process. This normally rules out paste wax and tends to favor other types like spray waxes or liquid waxes.
Products like Rain-X Wash & Wax are what I go to first. Combining the washing and waxing steps of traditional car detailing is appealing since less time and effort is required. Call me lazy if you want, but my fragile fingertips prune easily.
So is the Rain-X Wash & Wax the perfect solution for automotive up keepers like myself? Does it deliver a great shine, great protection, and great convenience? In the end, it's close in many categories, but there are a few notable exceptions.
Rain-X Wash & Wax is all about convenience and bulk. It tries to deliver these two benefits in two individual ways as well. First, the cleaning solution attempts to combine two normal (and sometimes tedious) steps in the car detailing process: washing and waxing. The formula has a blue washing solution that foams up to "dissolve and lift" dirt and road grime as it works. At the same time, the wax consists of soft carnauba wax gel pellets that float in the washing solution. These pellets act like normal carnauba and synthetic wax, adding a layer of shine and UV/weather protection to the car's paint.
Second, Rain-X Wash & Wax delivers on sheer bulk. Coming in at 64 fluid ounces, the bottle is one of the largest offerings you'll find on the market today. Roughly the size of most oil jugs, this one is large enough to last through several car detailings, even with large vehicles like SUVs and light-duty pickup trucks. The bottle is also designed with a convenient carrying handle, and, despite its size, it does fit on a garage shelf without taking up too much space.
Finally, the instructions and tips/recommendations provided are great for first-time buyers. The instructions on the bottle outline the most effective process for working in the wash/wax and in what conditions you should do so for the best results. The design, therefore, makes this solution a perfect option for anyone trying a hand at DIY car detailing for the first time.
When it comes time to actually use Rain-X Wash & Wax, I quickly discovered that there are a few gaps between the ease the company advertises and the reality of applying the cleaning solution. The product does deliver a lot in terms of speedy application and how many solutions you get for the money. There are a few noticeable drawbacks, however, that prevent the wash/wax solution from being right for everyone.
The instructions indicate that you only need one ounce of fluid for each bucket of water you use while cleaning a vehicle. The solution is supposed to foam up within the bucket as you pour the liquid and stir it. For the most part, this is exactly what happened when I applied the Wash & Wax to my bucket.
Once everything was mixed, however, I couldn't help but notice that the suds in the picture weren't appearing in my results. In short, the washing portion of the solution doesn't quite give the foamy results Rain-X advertises.
Despite the lack of high-quality foam, the process of using the wash/wax was simple and truly convenient. Using a high-quality microfiber towel, or in my case, a wash mitt/mop, the soapy water clings to the cleaning surface and can wipe off of car paint easily. The liquid runs on the thin side, meaning that it's fairly runny as you apply it. As a result, this is one cleaning solution with which you will definitely want to use the tried-and-true top-to-bottom method of washing a car.
Wiping the solution off is equally as quick and convenient as putting it on. All you need is a dry automotive towel or chamois to quickly remove the applied solution effectively. One thing to note, however, is the removal step is absolutely necessary since this solution is not forgiving. If you just let your vehicle air dry, you will start to notice streaks, spots, and residue on the paint job that is anything but a new-car-like shine, especially on dark and black cars.
When it comes to what you actually get in the end using the Rain-X Wash & Wax, this heavily depends on how you apply it in the first place. As I said above, this is an unforgiving product, meaning you will need to follow the usual car washing tips/practices to get the best coat.
If you just let it air dry, you will see spots. If you apply and dry the solution in direct sunlight, you will see spots. If you use the wrong kind of cloth or other cleaning products, you will likely see spots or worse.
Simply put, you need to be near flawless in your application. If you do everything right, including applying it in the shade, drying it properly, and getting adequate coverage top to bottom, you can expect some decent results.
The cleaning solution itself leaves some performance to be desired. The foam does a good job of picking up and dissolving light or medium dirt, but anything heavy, encrusted, or just truly messy will require either more solution, powered cleaning tools, or specialty products like bug dissolver. As a "quick-and-dirty" cleaning solution, however, it gets the job done enough to leave your car mostly spot-free.
The results of the wax are also decent. It does leave a nice shine over the entire paint job of the vehicle, but it hardly rivals the results of a true wax, especially combined with a layer of polish beforehand. The UV protection and longevity of the paint sealant are better than I expected. In total, the layer lasted about four months before showing the usual signs of degradation.
This is a common story with many automotive cleaning products that try to do more than one thing at the same time. Combination wax, polish, and wax products can do a decent job as long as you're not looking for perfect results or a specialized product. Rain-X Wash & Wax is no exception: It's not the best car wax, but it does make car care quick and easy.
Ultimately, this product is best as a value purchase: something to buy when you want a lot of cleaning solution on hand for a quick and simple detail process. As long as you buy the Rain-X Wash & Wax with the right expectations and acknowledge that it's not the best wax or wash available, it's hard to go wrong with the convenience it truly delivers.
Final Verdict: This cleaner is one of the better multifunctional cleaning solutions available, best used for first-time or quick/simple car detailing.