Meguiar’s Tech: What is water beading?

Published: 24 October 2014


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With winter on its way and rain showers becoming a daily occurrence, you may have noticed water droplets settling in an unusual way on your car’s paintwork… providing it’s been kept clean and waxed over summer! This effect is known as beading, and aside from looking seriously cool it also makes keeping your car clean and streak-free a whole lot easier.

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Beading is essentially created by polymers that create a very high surface tension, meaning water runs off the paint freely reducing streaking and tide marks that might have previously pooled on the paint surface. This also means that any dirt and grime will also sit on this layer of polymers, reducing the need for hard scrubbing during the washing process which in turn minimises swirls. The end result is a paint surface which is much slicker and easier when washing, drying and detailing.


Meguiar’s use Hydrophobic polymers which are essentially water-fearing polymers to disperse the water giving the effect pictured below. These polymers are included on Meguiar’s products including Ultimate Quik Detailer, Ultimate Quik Wax, Ultimate Wash & Wax and Ultimate Wash & Wax.


A common misconception among some customers is that when the beading stops there is no longer any wax protection on the paint. This is not the case. Some waxes like our NXT Tech Wax 2.0 contain water-beading properties, but they do not last as long as the wax protection. So the beading may stop after a few weeks, but the wax protection lasts for many weeks after this.


All Meguiar’s waxes will bead but all for different lengths of time (Step 3, NXT Tech Wax/Gold Class and Ultimate in that order). By incorporating synthetic polymers into our product we have been able to extend the wax durability and beading properties over and above our Carnauba-based products. If customers are looking for the best and most-durable beading then we would always recommend the Meguiar’s Ultimate line of products.

Got a photo of your car beading after using Meguiar’s product? Send us a photo to

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