For Comparison’s Sake: Waxes, Polymers and Blends

These three waxes can restore your boat’s luster.

Real wax is usually carnauba wax, made from the leaves of the carnauba palm of northern Brazil. Science goes beyond nature with polymers, chemicals that bond with a boat’s gelcoat, making it more durable, instead of just sticking to it. Still other products are blends of the natural and the synthetic. Which should you choose? We tried three to help you decide.

Mothers Marine Cleaner Wax
The skinny: Old meets new — a blend of state-of-the-art synthetic polishes and waxes and No. 1 Brazilian carnauba wax.

Wax on, wax off: A little work pays off. Buffing removes light oxidation, haze and scuffs. It’s a boat makeover — and for lots less work than using old-style paste wax.


Plus: This is for spiffing up a slightly overlooked boat. Once it’s shiny, you can switch to a synthetic wax for easier application and even more durability.

Star brite Marine Polish with PTEF
The skinny: Cleans and restores fiberglass, metal and painted surfaces and applies a protective PTEF coating, Star brite’s name for the polymer that makes pans nonstick.

Wax on, wax off: Wipe on and wipe off by hand or with buffer. So easy and effective it’s hard to quit.


Plus: It may enhance hull efficiency: It’s banned by the America’s Cup race, according to Star brite, “because it provides an unfair advantage.”

Meguiar’s Flagship Premium Wash-N-Wax
The skinny: Dissolves salt spray, bird droppings and scum. Then, this carnauba wax/polymer blend augments the wax that’s already there, enhancing protection against ultraviolet rays and salt.

Wax on, wax off: Maximum clean and shine, minimum time.


Plus: It’s mild. Harsh detergents remove good wax with bad dirt, which is like washing your hands with carburetor cleaner: Your hands get clean but dry out.