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How to Use a Rubbing Compound: What You Need to Do for No Scratches

how to use rubbing compound remove scratches

Rubbing compounds are a lifesaver for a lot of car owners. Seriously speaking, if you own any vehicle, you should have this ready at any moment. It’s not so hard to store since most of the products are packaged similarly to hair wax products.

Back then, many people would repaint their cars or take it for treatment. Nowadays, all you need to do is to learn how to use rubbing compound to remove light scratches on your vehicle. Stay tuned to find out more!

How Do Rubbing Compounds Work?

When you get an actual rubbing compound, you’ll notice that the substance is somewhat similar to a paste. It’s not runny, but at the same time, it’s also not solid. This soapy texture contains abrasive materials that grind your car’s outer surface.

This abrasion will work best for damaged areas on your car. However, it’s important to remember that your car must sustain a reasonable amount of scratch or damage only. Rubbing compounds don’t have magical powers that can restore all kinds of skids on your vehicle’s body.

Typically, rubbing compounds work well on light bumps, blade cuts, and peeled paint. Car owners usually encounter these problems when light accidents happen. An example of these accidents is banging on trees lightly, chipping from small rocks, and bumper accidents.

When you’re applying the rubbing compound, the abrasive material will thin out the pre-existing layer that’s damaged. This will create a newer and restored layer. Thus, the coating of the car will look brand new from afar even though it’s not.

Try to think of it as removing calluses or dead skin on your fingers. You apply pressure and friction to remove the hardened and damaged layer. In turn, by removing it, you pave the way for a fresher layer to emerge.

Using rubbing compounds might sound as if it’s only a patch-up, but it is worth a try given its pocket-friendly feature.

What You’ll Need

Typically, car owners would only use a rubbing compound and a piece of cloth to get the job done. There’s some truth to that since you can remove the scratches by using only those two materials and your hands.

However, for this article, we’re looking to share the best method to remove car scratches and make it seem brand new entirely. Thus, we’re adding a few other optional items below to put a high standard to this procedure.

  • Rubbing compound – there are a lot of rubbing compounds out there in the market. However, there are specific brands that stand out from the rest. Make sure to get the highest quality there is. A good starting brand to try is the turtle wax scratch remover.
  • Two sets of the towel – Get a hold of a microfiber towel and an ordinary towel. The microfiber towel is what you’ll use to apply the rubbing compound. The micro-fiber feature helps in lessening the chances of scratching your car’s surface via a rough cloth. Meanwhile, the ordinary towel will be used for drying purposes.
  • Buffer – A buffer or a polishing machine is a power hand tool that’s useful in finishing a rubbing compound procedure. It flattens out the surface of your car, applying soft grinding to remove unwanted micro-stains. If you use this coupled with the rubbing compound, your car’s guarantee to look brand new!

Some other materials to prepare:

  • Car wax
  • Soap and water (or any automobile cleaning agent)
  • Sandpaper for automobiles

The Procedure

Step 1: Clean the damaged area

Patching up your car is no different than first aid medical attention for wounded people. If you have a gas or a deep wound, it’s mandatory to flush out any dirt first by running it through the water.

Likewise, the very first step to take is to clean the scratched area of your car. Use the microfiber towel along with your cleaning agent of choice. The cleaning mixture that you use for regular car washing should suffice.

By doing this first, you remove any dirt or rough substance sticking to the surface. These rough materials usually slide under your radar, causing further inconvenience to you. This is because if you rub the compound without cleaning the surface, you might further scratch the car instead of helping it recover.

Once you’ve cleaned the damaged surface, don’t forget to grab a dry towel to keep it dry for the next step.

Step 2: Apply the rubbing compound through buffing

As we previously stated, you can just apply the rubbing compound with a microfiber towel. Just wet the towel a bit and put a generous amount of rubbing compound on it.

However, if you want to hide your car’s scratch, using rubbing compounds with a buffer or an orbital polisher is the best method. These polishers have over 20x more force than your hands.

Therefore, you’ll save yourself from getting stressed, and your car will be way better in appearance. These buffers are also a good investment for other areas such as metal crafting, so there’s no loss.

Make sure that your buffer has a wool pad. This pad is what will apply intense friction on your car’s surface, so it has to be smooth. Just use a fair portion of rubbing compound on the affected surface.

Set your buffer in motion and slowly spread the mixture across the damaged area. Hold the buffer firmly but don’t apply a lot of hand pressure on the tool. Use the tool in a circular motion until you see the skid marks disappearing.

On a side note, if you opt to go old-school and use your hands and a towel, use a lot of hand pressure to make it efficient. The marks aren’t removed by just the compound. Instead, you’ll need to push the substance until it seeps in the damaged layer.

Once you’re done applying the rubbing compound, get a clean microfiber towel and dry off the surface if it has any moisture to it. It’ll need to undergo to another round of buffing, so a dry surface is necessary.

You can read more: How to Buff a Car Like a Pro

Step 3: Polishing the surface

auto mechanic worker polishing

If you’ve bought a buffer, then might as well utilize it to its full extend. Buffers are not conventionally used as a means to spread rubbing compound. However, they are more commonly used for polishing.

At this stage, don’t forget that you shouldn’t use the same wool pad that you used for the rubbing compound. Use a new wool pad, which isn’t an inconvenience since you buy pads in sets.

Once your new wool pad is ready, you can apply car paint or wax at this stage. It’s really up to you. Personally, I’d like to keep the paint job to the pros. So at this stage, I’ll recommend adding car wax instead. Use the buffer exactly the way it was used with the rubbing compound. This will make your vehicle shine 10x better.

Wrapping it Up

Using a rubbing compound is as simple as it can get. Whether you have an orbital polisher or not, it doesn’t matter. The results will stay almost the same since a good rubbing compound will remove scratches even with just hand pressure.

But of course, treat your vehicle with a lot of respect. With that said, using a professional tool like a buffer and wool pads will always generate the best results for you. Still, at the end of the day, all this hard work can be avoided by safer driving.

It’s time that expensive paint jobs are replaced with a much more simpler and reliable rubbing compound. After all, there’s no lose-lose situation here, since your car’s happy and your wallet’s not empty!

If you found this article informative, be sure to share it with other car owners!