Will Car Wax Keep Copper From Tarnishing

Will Car Wax Keep Copper From Tarnishing

Car wax is great stuff because, through the power of science, it creates a shield on the surface of your car. The molecules are smaller and closer together than the water that wants to pass through, so it can’t get at the paint and metal below.

What about other surfaces? Will car wax keep copper from tarnishing? I did a deep dive into how car wax works and found the answers you need.

Will Car Wax Keep Copper From Tarnishing

Applying a thin coat of clear paste car wax will keep copper from tarnishing. In addition to locking out moisture, the wax creates a seal that prevents oxygen from getting onto the shiny surface of the copper. Without airflow, copper doesn’t oxidize, and tarnish will not form. The wax will eventually wear off and will need to be reapplied every few months.

Can You Use Car Wax On Copper

You can use some car waxes on copper. Sadly, not all car wax is the same. Different brands use different blends of wax to get that rust or tarnish-free look.

It’s important to get a brand that contains carnauba wax as one of the primary ingredients. The wax is prized for its hardness and longevity, which is why it’s included in high-quality car waxes, among many other products.

Carnauba wax occurs naturally in the fronds of carnauba trees (Copernicia cerifera). These unique Brazillian trees provide the wax for surfboards, vitamins, and even chocolate bars.

The FDA considers this beneficial wax to be generally food safe. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should lick your car or pieces of copper that are treated with carnauba.

Intriguingly, carnauba wax is a renewable resource which makes it even more desirable for sealing copper. The fronds of this palm tree are gathered and dried, then beaten to loosen the wax.

From there, the wax will go through a refinement process. In some cases, like many car waxes, other additives are mixed into the pure carnauba, but you can also get blocks of unaltered carnauba for sealing various surfaces if you prefer.

Will Car Wax Stop Rust

Car wax will stop rust in its tracks. However, this is a two-way street. If your copper items, or car, have any rust on them when you seal, that rust will stay in place.

You won’t be able to wash it off because it is effectively locked in until you remove the wax.

As Amp Automotive Repair points out, sealing damage in with wax does not prevent further damage. Oxidation and corrosion that are sealed in will still be there.

Moisture is especially problematic. Water will dissolve small amounts of copper. That’s why copper plumbing pipes are not more common.

Best Car Wax To Apply To Copper To Keep It From Tarnishing

To prevent tarnishing, you need a very high-quality car wax. It is essential to avoid the liquid waxes as these will run and drip.

Additionally, you don’t want a generic off-brand from a box store or dollar store. Seek out a wax that is at least sixty percent carnauba by volume, but eighty percent is better. Higher quality will give you better results.

I strongly recommend using a top-end product like P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax. This automotive wax is a blend of carnauba and beeswax.

It comes highly rated by verified purchasers and boasts a significant blend of these two outstanding hard waxes. P21S is known for its shiny finish. Shine is great on cars, but essential for copper items.

P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax
  • “Mirror image” shine
  • Remarkable “jetness”
  • Easy to apply and remove, by machine or by hand
  • Non abrasive, no added dyes or perfumes
  • Includes applicator

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Does Car Wax Stop Copper From Tarnishing

Car wax stops copper from tarnishing by creating an impermeable barrier. The wax once smoothed on fills in any surface imperfections, even microscopic ones.

By smoothing the surface, you get the best possible shine. Moreover, the seal prevents most molecules from passing from one side to the other.

A good coat of wax will prevent more than mere tarnish. It should also help stop small scratches. Plus, the wax will make dusting much easier.

Best of all, you can always remove the old wax and reapply a fresh coat when it finally begins to lose its efficacy.

How Much Car Wax Do You Need To Apply To Copper

Before you apply any car wax on your copper, it is essential to clean it first. Some copper surfaces are meant to be smooth, and others have more texture, so you need to decide if this will require sanding or buffing.

Next, remove any old sealant or wax. Auto body shops use Panel Prep for cars, but most copper will clean up easily under fine sandpaper.

Once you have the finish you want, you can give the copper a dry dusting. Then clean it off with a mild detergent and dry completely.

Remember that any moisture on the surface will stay between the wax and copper, doing damage over time.

A single coat of wax is all most copper requires to stay shiny. However, it is important to use the right tools and a good technique when applying your wax.

Otherwise, you will end up with an uneven surface that doesn’t look good.

How Often Do You Need To Reapply Car Wax To Copper

You should remove and reapply car wax any time your copper starts to lose its shine or if it is damaged and scratched.

Barring any unforeseen issues like dropping or rough impacts, most high-quality carnauba wax only needs reapplication annually. In fact, some waxes will last two or three years.

Helpful Tips To Know About Car Wax Keeping Copper From Tarnishing

Whether you need copper details in your home to look their best for company, you make artisan jewelry, or you want to preserve an antique, car wax is the way to go.

The appeal of copper is always its shine, and without that, it’s just a green mess.

Here are a few more helpful tips to know about using car wax to keep copper from tarnishing.

  • The melting point of carnauba wax is 179.6°F or 82°C. That may seem like a lot, but windows and mirrors can easily and unintentionally concentrate a sunbeam into a dangerous point of scorching light.
  • Before applying car wax to your copper, ensure that there is no coating on the surface already. While it is rarely an issue, some shiny copper surfaces have existing sealants that need to be removed first.
  • If your copper is oxidized and damaged, you need to clean and dry it thoroughly before using car wax to seal it. I recommend using microfiber towels for drying since they don’t scratch the surface of this malleable metal.

Final Thoughts

Sealing your copper with car wax or pure carnauba is an ingenious way to keep it looking lovely. By applying an anhydrous coating like wax, you stop anything from the outside, such as air and moisture, from reaching the surface of the copper.

The result is a shine that lasts for several months or longer. However, it’s always important to apply your wax on clean and dry copper to avoid sealing in problematic elements that can do damage when trapped.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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