Have your car thoroughly dressed and polished by hand!
The way to go for applying pre-wax cleaners, polishes, and all dressings is undeniably the terry pad. To begin with, the 4 x 5 applicator pad fits nicely in your hand, and the thickness (1”) seems just right. More importantly, the fabric itself, terry cloth, may as well have been designed for the job. It’s ultra-soft and non-abrasive, but sturdy and absorbent. When wrapped snuggly around a high-quality closed cell, poly-foam pad it’s absolutely perfect for wiping on your favorite leather or dash dressing. Polishes and pre-wax cleansers have never had it so good. (By the way, pre-waxes and polishes are one in the same, but sometimes referred to by different names.)
The two things I especially love about terry cloth applicators are its resiliency and its 100% cotton status. After using, gather up your terry applicator pads and your terry towels, toss them in your washing machine on a warm setting with a gentle detergent. Allow them to air dry or tumble dry on low heat. Do not wash any terry applicators that have been used for silicone-based products with the rest of the bunch. Doing this will contaminate your other cloths and pads, meaning swirls and streaks the next time you use them for applying wax or a paint sealant. I prevent this by designating a bin for silicone-seasoned terry.
Since terry applicator pads are desirable for the application of a variety of products, it’s tempting to rinse one out and use it again. Resist the temptation, my friend. Doing this can compromise the second product (an ugly thing called cross-contaminating), and foil your efforts. Terry applicators are delightfully inexpensive; having plenty around will make your life easier and won’t break the bank. Hint: Buy in bulk to save yourself $$$.