Swirl marks are a cause of frustration for many, but it shouldn’t be. Swirl marks can really be an eyesore especially for black or dark-colored cars, but they are pretty easy to remove even by hand. In this post, I’ll show you how to remove swirl marks by hand in three easy steps.
Causes of Swirl Marks
Swirl marks are caused mainly by use of improper chemicals, wrong applicators, or improper cleaning techniques. Though swirl marks are mostly easy to remove, it’s still best to avoid them to save money, time, and bigger problems down the road.
Here are some things that give your car unsightly swirl marks:
- Using a dirty cover or a clean cover on a dirty car.
- Wiping a dusty car with a dry towel.
- Using towels and applicators with polyester threads.
- A dirty car duster.
- Harsh polishing mixtures and paint cleaners.
- Incomplete rinsing of the car before washing, or not thoroughly washing your car before drying.
- Use of buffers with incorrect pad, or use of buffers by an untrained operator.
I personally use microfiber towels for cleaning my car because it never causes scratches and is really gentle to the surface. You also need to be careful with the types of cleaners that you use.
Things You’ll Need in Removing Swirl Marks
Water hose or car washer hose
- Paint cleaner
- Microfiber cloth/foam
- Less abrasive polisher
- Car wax
4 Steps: How to Remove Swirl Marks by Hand
Step 1: Wash your car.
Position the car in a shaded area with no direct sunlight, and use a water hose or high-pressure car washer to thoroughly clean your car. Start with the wheels and tires, then proceed with working from top to bottom of the car.
Step 2: Apply the paint cleaner.
While the car is still wet, start applying the paint cleaner. There are lots of types of paint cleaners out there, but for me, the best to use for removing swirl marks is a non-abrasive chemical paint cleaner. This kind of paint cleaner doesn’t leave any scratch at all.
To use a paint cleaner, you have to do the following:
- Get your microfiber cloth or foam and pour in at least an inch of paint cleaner on it.
- Apply it on the car surface back and forth in one direction.
- Repeat until the surface gets smooth.
Step 3: Time to polish.
Once the car surface is completely clean and smooth, it’s time for the meaty part. Polishing is what actually breaks down the abrasives and removes the swirl marks, so you have to get this right.
Here are tips and steps for polishing your car:
- Don’t dry your car before polishing. It’s best to apply the polisher on a wet surface.
- You need to use a less abrasive polisher since an abrasive one will leave some haze on the surface which is exactly what we’re trying to fix.
- Each brand of polishers comes with a different set of instructions for proper use, so be sure to read it up and carefully follow it.
- Apply a small amount of polish on a microfiber cloth or foam. Be careful with this as too much polisher is what actually causes haze.
- Apply the polish on the car in a circular motion. Work slowly to let the polish do its work.
- The goal here is to get a smooth and shiny surface. Once you have that, then you’re done.
- After polishing, remove the excess polish using a clean microfiber towel.
Step 4: Waxing the car.
Some folks just stop at polishing, but this last step is crucial in making sure that the removal of swirl marks is complete.
To properly wax your car, just apply a little amount on a microfiber cloth. When you’re done applying the wax, wait for it to dry before removing it. To remove it, gently rub the surface with a thin towel or cloth.
And that’s it! That’s how you remove swirl marks from your car. It’s crucial to use non-abrasive solutions, use a microfiber towel, and apply just a tiny amount of polisher and wax.
Some swirl marks can be too tough to remove by hand. In that case, you should consider using a polishing machine or getting professional help from car detailers.
If you found this post helpful, you might also like this post on ways to keep your car squeaky clean. If you have questions or suggestions, drop them below!