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How to Remove Swirl Marks on Your Car in 4 Simple Ways

You can treat your car as an extension of your body. However, swirl marks and damages are sometimes inevitable. There are a lot of your mundane and necessary daily tasks which can cause swirl marks on your car. Even cleaning your car can produce swirl marks when it’s supposed to “bring back” your car’s beauty.

And though you may feel like there’s too many of them in your car, stop. Do not panic. There are lots of ways to remove swirl marks. There are also ways on how to avoid them. Or minimize them, at least.

how to remove swirl marks

It is crucial that you identify scratches from swirl marks. This might also help you understand how your car obtains those swirl marks. Today, we will be teaching you how to remove swirl marks. We also included basic information about what swirl marks are, what causes them and tips on how to avoid them.

What are swirl marks?

Swirl marks are those light scratches that are circular, diagonal or straight. However, circular shaped swirl marks are sometimes just caused by the reflection of the sun. Sometimes, they are not necessarily circular in shape or form.

These are usually caused by improper cleaning techniques or low-tier cleaning products. However, these aren’t simply the causes. There’s more to swirl marks than just improper cleaning methods.

To be specific, swirl marks are caused by micro-dirt particles that get dragged around your car body’s paint as you clean it. If your car doesn’t get enough lubrication and proper cleaning techniques, this is what happens. Swirl marks occur.

Low-quality cleaning products (car shampoo, cleaning cloth, and others) sometimes do not provide sufficient lubrication as you wipe off the dirt all over your vehicle.

Instances When Your Car May Acquire Swirl Marks


Washing your car is the time when it’s most susceptible to acquiring swirl marks. Forget about using either an old cloth or a very high-quality cleaning cloth, chances of your car paint getting scraped is the same.


So the solution is? Be very meticulous with what you wash your car with. This might help you prolong that swirl mark-less period with your car. It might also help if you chose a harder or thicker coating for your vehicle. This will shield your car paint from those unwanted swirl marks, for a good amount of time.


While there are a lot of quality dusters out there, there are also a lot of bad ones. Be sure not to land on the bad things. Bad dusters will just simply drag around dirt particles in your car. This is what mainly causes swirl marks. Whatever particle is getting pulled around your vehicle paint can leave marring to it.


Now that you’re done with dusting and washing your car, we’re off to drying. You should not only be meticulous when it comes to dusting or washing your car. You must also be as meticulous when it comes to drying your vehicle. Avoid using cheap towels. Dirty towels tend to lose their softness after a few washed and may cause marring on your car paint.

avoid using cheap towels

Also, avoid applying too much pressure on your car when drying it. You need not exert much effort to dry your car. Remember that even though you do not wipe the water off, it will dry a natural process. Still better than getting swirl marks, right?


Waxing is not usually associated with swirl marks. However, we’re sad to say that yes, they do and can cause swirl marks. Some wax paste is very hard to apply and is thus, very hard to remove. If the wax you used on your car requires you to use a lot of pressure to remove it, then you can almost expect to see swirl marks.

However, do not let this scare you off from waxing. Remember, there are only certain brands of waxes which tend to be too hard to apply or remove. Find those that you can apply/remove with ease.

Now that you know what swirl marks are and when they can occur do note that there are ways how to avoid them. But then again, when the damage has already been done, there’s nothing much we can do but to fix. We listed down below simple steps on how to get rid of swirl marks on your car.

Things You’ll Be Needing:

  • Car Wax – waxing your car adds clear top coat for extra protection. This is so when you clean your car; you do not directly scrape the paint.
  • Car Polisher – this either removes or masks the surface of your car. This will eliminate or minimize paint defects. It also readies your vehicle for waxing.
  • Micro Fiber Cloth – a good cleaning cloth is what will help keep your car from swirl marks.

Steps to Take

Step 1: Wash Your Car

Before doing anything, you should understand that cleaning your car is the priority. This is always the case when you’re dealing with swirl marks or any scratches. The reason for this is because leaving even a tiny bit of dirt on your car can further damage it.

For example, if your car has splinters near its marks, then it might worsen if you proceed to the next steps. Splinters, fragments, and shards from any hard material like wood or cement can eventually cause severe damage.

You can take your vehicle to a car wash to save up time and energy. However, I would recommend that you just wash your car manually. This gives you control over the swirl mark since you can monitor it as you wash. After all, your car doesn’t need a complete wash. Just target the swirl marks and treat it with soap and water. Using a car shampoos can work brilliantly as well.

Finally, there are cases where car owners used the wrong texture of cloth. Always make sure that you’re using a non-abrasive material. There are a lot of sponges that are abrasive in nature. (This is why a lot of Teflon pans get damaged too). So better double check what you’re about to use.

Step 2: Polish the surface (Use cutting polish if needed)

If you’re not a car care enthusiast, car polishing might not be a familiar term for you. It’s vital to know what a polisher does to your car. After all, this is arguably the most important step. This is because polishing the scratches or swirl marks are what remove them.

Simply put, car polishing is a process that removes or masks scratches and marks. A polisher does this by breaking down the abrasives on your vehicle’s surface. By the end of this method, the polished surface must be smooth and shiny. It’s no different if you compare it with a shoe polisher.

There are a lot of products in the market to choose from when looking for polishers. When applying, just use a small amount of polisher. Using too much can be bad for your car’s surface. Hence, it increases the likelihood to inflict further damage than to correct it. To be safe, most of the polishes out there come with instructions for you to follow.

Hand polishing

hand polishing

Similar to the first step, your cloth is a major factor again. Since you’re applying polish, you’ll be doing hard rubbing to your car. It’s advisable to use not just a simple cloth, but a microfiber one. Microfiber is the best material to use on your vehicle’s surface. Moreover, it also naturally removes excess polish if you’ve added too many.

Machine polishing

machine polishing

If you’re going to do hand polishing, the results of your work will be limited. This is because your hand movement has no consistency, sufficient power, and speed. Instead of going through all that hard work, you can use a machine polisher as an alternative.

In this process, you’ll need cutting polish. It’s an entirely different substance compared with a regular polisher. Hence, you can’t use it with a cloth. A cutting polisher is a paste that suspends abrasives. It’s exclusively used for a polishing machine.

If you’re going the extra mile to do this step, make sure the polishing machine is off when applying the polish to the pad. Start with a little amount only and go through the surface as slowly as possible.

Step 3:  Waxing Your Car

Waxing goes side by side with polishing. Some car owners stop at polishing. However, it’s always advisable to wax your car after to ensure the best result. While polishing removes the swirl mark, waxing, on the other hand, guards it against possible marks in the future.

Again, there are a lot of products out there to try. Before using, make sure to remove all the polish on your car’s surface. You don’t want to mix two different substances together. After that, just apply a small amount, and you’ll see your car shine brighter than before.

Step 4: Take it to the professional car detailer

professional car detailer

This step is optional, and it depends on your vehicle’s situation. While it’s common for swirl marks to be resolved in your garage, there are instances when the damage is too serious. This is usually the case when the swirl mark is created through an extremely sharp object like a knife.

If it’s too much of a trouble and you’re not on a tight budget, it’s safer to call a professional instead.

In a Nutshell

At the end of the day, prevention is your priority when it comes to swirl marks in your car. However, accidents are unavoidable. Hence, it’s important for you to know what steps to take when it comes to your vehicle’s swirl marks.

Just execute the steps properly and proceed with caution when doing the steps. Remember, your car’s surface is a delicate part and worsening it is a possibility. With that said, always be careful and good luck in polishing!