Difference between rubbing compound and polishing compound? (The answer is found)

Rubbing compounds basically targets the uneven car’s surfaces caused by scratches while on the other hand; polishing is preferably used for adding smoothness and shine to the car paint. Both will help in improving your car’s quality but in a different way.

Can rubbing compound used as polish?

A polishing compound is used to clean and shine, as well as removing small imperfections on the vehicle’s paint surface. It can be used to: Remove light scratches. Remove watermarks from paint or in some cases glass (if the window cleaners have failed to work)

Is car polish the same as rubbing compound?

Polish is similar to cutting compound but much less abrasive. For best results, apply polish to restore shine and then apply a good quality wax to seal in the paintwork and maintain the shine. Bonus: Read our guide to polishing a car at home.

Is rubbing compound bad for car paint?

Using rubbing compound will dull the finish wherever you use it. So in a way, you will damage your finish. Probably best not to use it unless your finish is rather severely oxidized. Having said that, you can bring the shine back after using rubbing compound by polishing with progressively finer polishing agents..

Should I use polish or compound?

Polish acts like finer grit sandpaper than compound. Polishing a vehicle can reduce the appearance of scratches and get rid of remaining contaminants, oxidation, and other minor imperfections that compounding did not remove. With polishing, you can keep your car shiny longer than waxing it alone can.

Is polish same as wax?

Car wax and car polish are two very different things. While car polish is used to remove defects from a car’s ‘coat’, car wax protects that coat. Many people use polish to remove grease, dirt and light scratches from paint (to reveal undamaged paint underneath).

Will polishing compound damage clear coat?

Compound doesn’t remove clear coat. A compound uses abrasive substances suspended in a paste or liquid. The abrasive will eat away a very thin surface of the clear coat to remove blemishes and damage without removing the coat. Unless your car coat gets deep scratches and cuts, most of the damage is on the clear coat.

Which is more coarse rubbing compound or polishing compound?

Rubbing compound works in a similar manner to polishing compound, but is more abrasive. This means that the rubbing compound will remove more paint and is used for smoothing out larger scratches and other significant damage to the vehicle’s painted surface.

What is the difference between buffing and polishing?

A. Finishing processes that utilize abrasive belts are referred to as polishing, and processes that use cloth wheels with compound applied is buffing. Polishing generates a brushed or lined finish, where buffing removes the lines and creates a bright luster finish.

What is car polish used for?

Car polish is a mildly abrasive liquid compound designed to clean, smooth and enhance the sheen of automobile paint. Over time, the paint and clear coat on your car develops small scratches, marks and microscopic roughness from oxidization. This makes the once-shiny paint look dull, old and unattractive.

Is rubbing good for car?

It removes a fine layer of your car’s paint to get rid of scratches and other imperfections. It is recommended for use to remove scratches and oxidized coating for all types of automotive paint finish. The compound abrasives the surface smooth and peel free and makes it suitable for polishing.

Is it necessary to polish a car before waxing?

Polish should be used before wax, as it helps to restore auto paint that has lost its shine due to oxidation. Car polish does this by removing a very fine layer of the paintwork so the appearance of scratches is minimized as they settle into the coat. Car polishes vary in terms of their levels of abrasiveness.

Does polish damage car paint?

Is Polishing Bad for the Paint? If you polish your car properly, and don’t cut away too much paint, then it’s not bad for your car. You are in a sense, damaging the clear coat by removing a layer of paint, but the purpose is to remove any scratches and flatten the clear coat.

Does polishing a car remove scratches?

Buffing an area with polishing or rubbing compounds removes scratches and blemishes, but they also remove wax. Your preferred wax method will restore shine and protect the paint.

Can wax get rid of scratches on car?

Waxes do not remove scratches and swirl marks. To remove a scratch, you need to use polish or compound if it’s in the clear coat, or respray the area if it’s gone into the colour coat or primer. Waxes can make very minor scratches and swirls look less severe but they will not hide deeper scratches.

Rubbing vs Polishing Compound: Is There a Difference?

The most recent update was on August 30, 2021. Even though many people equate both a rubbing compound and a polishing compound with sprucing up their car to make it seem better by getting rid of scratches, the key distinction between the two is the degree of abrasive material that each compound provides. Rubbing compounds have a higher amount of abrasion than polishing compounds and are thus more aggressive. As a result, each compound is effective for a different stage of polishing, cleaning, and repairing flaws in car paint, depending on its composition.

Polishing Compound: What is it For?

The use of polishing compounds is less abrasive than the use of rubbing compounds, and they are thus more appropriate for mild cleaning and polishing of a vehicle’s finish. It is not only that they typically require less preparation prior to use than rubbing compounds, but they also require fewer and less complicated application procedures, as well as less and less complicated equipment, and fewer and fewer finishing procedures, all of which contribute to their overall simplicity. They provide a variety of important functions.

Removing Hard Water Stains and Other Surface Materials

Cleaning up water stains and minor surface flaws as a result of acid rain is a simple task that may be accomplished using polishing agents. Water stains can be difficult to remove, and in some cases, they are hard to remove completely even after a brief wash. The act of washing quickly is frequently the source of remaining water stains. Vehicles that are left out in the open are subjected to the impacts of the sun and the weather. Over a lengthy period of time, acid rain may eat away at paint finishes.

These sorts of materials may be removed by polishing chemicals since they are just minimally abrasive, which means they will not do substantial harm to the paint.

Removing Light Scratches and Imperfections

Polishing chemicals can also be used to remove minor scratches and other minor flaws from a surface. Because their abrasion levels are not as high as those of rubbing compounds, they are not effective at removing deep scratches. In essence, they function by softly scratching the paintwork itself. They are able to properly eliminate these sorts of flaws by scraping away scuff marks and the tiniest piece of the paint surface (clearcoat). Scratch removers are readily accessible at automotive retail shops, and they are simple to use if you follow the directions on the label of every bottle.

Helps Paintwork Shine

The most obvious application for a polishing compound is to enhance the luster of your vehicle’s paint. This normally occurs after a thorough cleaning, and it should not be done as frequently as many people believe it is necessary. Polishing compound treatments should be limited to one or two per year, according to industry experts, in order to minimize paintwork damage.

Washing and polishing your car may be a pleasurable experience; but, because polishing chemicals are slightly abrasive, excessive usage can result in clear coat damage and additional degradation of the vehicle’s paintwork.

Rubbing Compound: What is it For?

The first stage is the application of the rubbing compound. Rubbing compounds have a substantially higher abrasive content than polishing agents. As a result, they are employed for more extensive repainting repair. They are not so much utilized for polishing as they are for repairing numerous paintwork defects that might arise as a consequence of accidents, negligence, aging, and other significant variables such as the sun. Their installation is often carried out by specialists rather than by the ordinary vehicle owner.

There are two primary applications for polishing chemicals.

Removing Moderate Scratches and Imperfections

Compared to polishing compounds and scratch removers, rubbing compounds can remove larger flaws and deeper scratches from a vehicle’s paint than polishing compounds and scratch removers. This is because the grit level of rubbing compounds is higher than that of polishing compounds. This is performed by physically removing a portion of the clear layer and then leveling the surface with the coarse material included within the compound to get the desired result. The reason that rubbing compounds are used more frequently by experts than by typical fans is because there is a larger risk of harming the paintwork and removing too much of the surface when they are handled improperly.

It is also more time-consuming to use a rubbing compound, which is necessary because it is intended to repair more significant and potentially widespread paint damage.

Restores Old Paintwork From Oxidation

Compared to polishing compounds and scratch removers, rubbing compounds can remove larger flaws and deeper scratches from a vehicle’s paint than polishing compounds and scratch removers. This is due to the higher grit level of rubbing compounds compared to polishing compounds. With the coarse material included inside the compound, it is possible to physically remove a portion of the clear layer and level the surface. This is due to the increased risk of harming the paintwork and removing too much of the surface when using rubbing compounds, which makes them more popular among specialists than even regular car enthusiasts.

It is also more time-consuming to use a rubbing compound, which is necessary because it is intended to correct more significant and potentially widespread paint damage.

Additional Information Concerning Polishing Compounds

Polishing chemicals are available in two different forms: liquid and paste. Liquid compounds are often the least severe polishing or rubbing compounds available; nonetheless, more liquid polishing compounds are available than liquid rubbing compounds due to the fact that they are unable to achieve the thickness levels required for rubbing and leveling. Always start with the least harsh compound possible and work your way up to a more abrasive compound whenever you undertake any sort of polishing or rubbing work on a vehicle or other surface.

Therefore, a thorough car wash should always be performed before applying a polishing chemical to the surface of the vehicle.

It is usually recommended that you follow up the application of polish with the application of auto wax.

Despite the fact that it is not a long-term protection option, it does assist to keep the vehicle’s paint looking good for a short while. This will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor for a much longer period of time than you would otherwise have had you not taken precautions.

Additional Information Concerning Rubbing Compounds

The fact that rubbing compounds are more abrasive than polishing compounds leads to the fact that they are more usually available in paste form rather than a liquid formulation. They are also available at most automotive retail outlets, however any instructions on the container should be carefully followed to ensure that your vehicle’s paint is not damaged. While polishes can be applied many times or in layers, rubbing compounds can be applied multiple times or in layers since they have the ability to level deeper scratches, remove traded paint, and remove heavier substances.

It is possible to do both polishing and rubbing by hand, although polishing is more readily accomplished by hand and with lighter equipment due to the fact that it is not an aggressive technique.

Use a microfiber towel to wipe down the surface of the table.

More costly solutions, such as ceramic coating or clear coat film, can help you maintain the job you’ve done yourself or with the help of a professional, allowing you to keep the paint looking as good as new for as long as possible.

Final Thoughts

Essentially, the distinction between rubbing compound and polishing compound boils down to the amount of abrasion each compound has. Compared to rubbing compounds, polishing compounds are less abrasive, and they are used for lighter paint restoration tasks such as eliminating surface scratches, water spots, mild oxidation, and other unwanted filth. Because rubbing chemicals are more vigorous than polishes, they are significantly more successful at leveling major scratches, recovering paint after moderate oxidation, and removing traded paint than polishes alone.

Rubbing Compound Vs Polishing Compound – The Difference

Tsukasa Azuma is the author of this piece. Comments were last updated on February 18, 20210. Have you made your decision between rubbing compound and polishing compound? If you own a car and are concerned about keeping it in top shape, this would be the most troubling question for you to answer. Without a doubt, both polishing and rubbing compounds are used to address separate automotive difficulties, but they are frequently used in conjunction with one another.

Most automobile owners, to their astonishment, believe that there is no difference between rubbing compound and polish; nevertheless, are you sure? If you are likewise concerned about the difference between rubbing compound and polishing compound, then this information will be of great use to you.

Difference Between Rubbing Compound Vs Polishing Compound

What if I told you that after using rubbing compound, you should always choose to use polishing compound? This will make your automobile appear more gorgeous and gleaming as a result. Didn’t realize it till now? Following on from that, here are some other crucial information concerning the distinction between rubbing compound and polishing compound. On the one hand, rubbing chemicals are mostly used to smooth out the uneven surfaces of automobiles produced by scratches, whereas polishing is primarily used to improve the smoothness and sheen of automobile paint.

See also:  Top 3 reasons your car’s AC isn’t blowing cold air? (Solution)

Let’s obtain a clear understanding of the difference between polishing compound and rubbing compound by looking at some specifics.

What Are Rubbing Compounds?

To be more exact, when it comes to rubbing compounds, the difference between polishing compound and rubbing compound is that these compounds are used to level uneven spots on the car’s paint. Due to the fact that it evens out the uneven surface generated by the strains, it is sometimes referred to as ‘leveling compound.’ It might also be referred to as the first stage of handling and caring for the car’s paint, which can be followed by the use of polishing compound and the application of wax.

  • (Photo Source: youtube) Are you looking for a pre-owned vehicle from Japan?
  • The rubbing compound will shave down the paint and level it by smoothing out the harsh and rough edges of the stretch that have been created.
  • You can select a rubbing compound with a grit range of 1000 to 5000 according on the demands and specifications of your vehicle.
  • In this case, if you want to minimize the effects of strains on the paint of your automobile, you may select rubbing compounds from the polishing compound vs rubbing compound comparison.
  • The following are some of the advantages of rubbing compounds:
  • Simple to use
  • It quickly corrects the unevenness caused by the scratches. There is very little cleaning required. Restores the appearance of vintage painting
  • Scratches on the automobile are either eliminated or concealed. Given that it is an abrasive substance, it may be found in a number of different grits. The car’s old paintwork is given new vitality by this product.

The following are the disadvantages of rubbing compound:

  • In order to get better outcomes, it is necessary to employ the right technique.

What Is Polishing Compound?

Polishing substances are moderately abrasive and are often used to smooth the surface of painted surfaces. A shine and smoothing effect may be achieved on the paint surface using polishing compounds, as well as the removal of light scratches from the paint with these compounds. Painting will not remove any scratches or faults from the surface of the paint, but polishing will remove the dullness from the surface of the paint without fail. Compounds for Polishing (Photo Source: keralapool) MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT:

  • How often should you wash your automobile
  • How to preserve your car from sun damage
  • And other tips and tricks.

In layman’s terms, polishing compounds perform the same functions as rubbing compounds, but at a much finer level. It is the polishing compound, as opposed to the rubbing compound, that assists to make the paint color stand out and shine. As a result, polishing compounds are applied to the paint after the rubbing compound has been applied to it. Aside from this, the polishing compound will not be sufficient to preserve the paint for an extended period of time. Furthermore, they are restricted in their ability to provide a long-lasting sparkling look on the car’s paintwork.

It is possible that you may need to apply paint protectant in order to keep the luster of your car’s paint for an extended period of time. The following are the advantages of polishing compounds:

  • Provides a natural appearance to the car’s paint
  • Provides the necessary shine and gloss to the paint
  • And is environmentally friendly. It provides a long-lasting finish. There is no need to strip them
  • It is possible to apply it with a low-speed machine
  • It’s not something you do every day. Used on a regular basis

The following are the disadvantages of polishing compounds:

  • This necessitates further cleaning efforts. It is only possible to do this task with the appropriate sorts of equipment.

It might be difficult to decide between rubbing compound and polishing compound; thus, the following pros and disadvantages of both methods will assist you in making an informed decision. Watch the video to learn when to polish, when to compound, and when to wetsand:


So, the next time you find yourself in a bind about whether to use rubbing compound or polish, make certain that you are well informed on all of the pertinent facts. Both methods are vital in their own right and should be employed independently of one another without any misunderstanding. The benefits of the rubbing compounds can be complemented by the use of a polishing compound to provide a smoother and shinier surface after they have been applied. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments section below and our specialists will respond as soon as possible with the most accurate information regarding rubbing compound vs polishing compound.

Continue to follow us for additional auto maintenance advice that is updated on a daily basis.

Difference between rubbing compound and polishing compound

A common question from do-it-yourselfers is what
the difference is between rubbing compound and polishing compound. Think of rubbing compound as a coarse grit, similar to the kind of sandpaper you’d use to smooth out a scratch in a piece of wood, and compare it to polishing compound. Consider polishing compound to be a fine-grit sandpaper, similar to the kind you’d use to smooth off wood before painting it.

What is automotive rubbing compound?

Rubbing compound is a thick paste or thick liquid that contains a coarse abrasive in the form of a powder. It is intended to remove scratches from clear coats and paints by removing material from the surface of the vehicle’s surface. Applying rubbing compound by hand is preferable unless you have a lot of experience with buffing tools. This will prevent you from losing too much clear coat and paint.

When to use rubbing compound?

You can erase scratches from your car’s clear finish using rubbing compound if you’ve done so accidentally. What is the best way to tell if you have scratched the clear coat or the paint? Simple. A scratch in a transparent coat appears white or milky in appearance. Following the use of rubbing compound, polish the surface to a mirror-like gloss with polishing compound. To begin, use a lower grit polish and gradually increase the size of the polishing compound until it reaches 2,000 grit. After that, use a synthetic car wax to protect your automobile.

Use a wax remover to repair a scratch that large and complicated.

Use rubbing compound to level and integrate the touch-up paint into the surrounding paint once the paint and clear coat have dried and hardened completely.

After that, polishing chemical should be used to bring out the sheen. The year is 2019. Rick Muscoplat is a professional musician. Rick Muscoplat posted a blog entry on

Rubbing Compound Vs. Polishing Compound

Photograph by Steven Husk from Fotolia.com of a new white car’s taillights and spoiler. Despite the fact that they are used in the same way, rubbing compound and polishing compound are not interchangeable. Each one is used to repair a particular type of automobile finish issue. Car owners should be aware of these distinctions in order to make the best option for their vehicle’s requirements.

Polishing Compound

An abrasive compound, such as polishing compound, is a material that is gentle in nature. It is used to remove impurities from paint and will also smooth the paint by removing a little bit of paint from the surface of the painting. A polishing compound can be used to remove minor scratches from the surface of an automobile’s finish.

Rubbing Compound

Rubbing compound functions in a similar way as polishing compound, however it is more abrasive in nature. This implies that the rubbing compound will remove more paint and will be more effective when used to smooth out major scratches and other serious damage to the painted surface of the car.

Tips for Use

Given that polishing compound is less abrasive than other types of polish, it should be used first to fix faults with a vehicle’s finish. If the polishing compound does not produce a suitable outcome, the more abrasive rubbing compound can be applied to achieve the desired effect. After using rubbing compound to smooth off the paint, it may be necessary to apply a polishing compound to finish the job. References Biography of the Author Originally from New York, Jay Motes began writing in 1998 and sold his first essay the following year.

He graduated from Fairmont State College in Fairmont, West Virginia, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science, with a double emphasis in history and political science.

More Articles

Although the phrases rubbing compound and polishing compound are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same substance. It’s important to remember that using rubbing compound when you shouldn’t might cause irreparable damage to the paint and appearance of your vehicle, so proceed with caution. Between rubbing compounds and polishing compounds, the fundamental difference is the amount of abrasion they generate. Applied abrasive chemicals take material from the surface they are applied to, whereas applied wax adds material to the surface they are applied to.

This answer, on the other hand, strikes me as ambiguous and unhelpful in terms of application.

If you’re going to polish paint, you should make sure you have the correct equipment for the task and that you conduct at least one test run on something that isn’t as precious as your automobile.

Understanding Car Paint

You would believe that vehicle paint is simply a single layer applied to a piece of metal, but it is far more complicated than that. Prior to painting, a coating of primer is applied to the raw metal in order to provide a more adherent surface for the subsequent base coat to adhere to. Because of the lack of priming, the paint will smear, water down, and have an inconsistent appearance throughout. The base paint coat is sprayed onto the primed surface after it has been prepared. Colors for this coat are primarily shiny, while some manufacturers still provide matte color options.

In addition to the clear protective coat, the final and most critical coat is the clear protective coat.

Corrosion will occur if a scratch is deep enough to pierce through the primer, thus it is critical to repair the damage as quickly as possible.

However, current nickel-plating is not as heavy-duty as it was in the past, resulting in a significant boost in the vehicle’s resistance to corrosion.

How To Determine The Depth Of Scratches By Eye

If you’re considering using a rubbing or polishing compound on your car, the most likely reason is because it has some scratches on the surface. These might range from large scratches caused by a parking lot accident to tiny abrasions that develop over time when the car comes into touch with dust, sand, and insects flying through the air. Deep scratches caused by a parking lot accident are the most common. The initial evaluation of damage is straightforward: the greater the whiteness of the scratch, the greater the amount of damage has been sustained.

The next step is to evaluate the depth of the hole with a fingernail.

Minor scratches do not create as much resistance as larger scratches, allowing you to glide your fingernail more easily through them.

Measuring Scratch Depth With A Coat Thickness Gauge

Gauging damage by sight is not a good idea since you may easily underestimate the degree of the damage and cause the protective clear coat to be destroyed. When determining the depth of a coat, it is advisable to employ a coat thickness gauge. Product pricing and availability were obtained from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:Product prices and availability were obtained as of the date/time specified and are subject to change without notice. This product’s price and availability information will be presented on the product’s purchase page at the time of purchase.

Nonetheless, it is sufficient for determining the extent of the injury and assisting you in determining which chemical to employ.

How To Use The Coat Thickness Gauge

Clean the car and check the device’s calibration. Use it to measure coat thickness at numerous locations where the paint seems to be in perfect condition, then average the numbers to obtain the original depth. The procedure should be repeated on the interior of the B-column, between the driver’s and rear passenger’s doors. Manufacturers use a bare minimum transparent coating on the portions of the product that are not exposed to direct sunlight in order to save production expenses. You may estimate the thickness of the clear coat by subtracting the value of the column’s coat depth from the value of the external panel’s coat depth.

The Significance Of Clear Coat

The clear coat is extremely crucial for the overall appearance of your car since it protects the paint below from abrasion and UV rays, which may cause the paint to fade fast if not protected. Polishing, rubbing, or sanding the coat will lessen its thickness, but that is exactly what you must do in order to remove the scratches from it. However, removing too much of the coat will do more harm than good, so proceed with caution. Using a coat thickness gauge is essential because, once you’ve identified the base thickness of your clear coat, you can use the gauge on scratched areas to measure how much of the clear coat has been removed.

See also:  Buick Axle Nut Torque Specifications? (Best solution)

By polishing it out, you’re basically removing a clear layer from a bigger region, which has the potential to expose the entire surface to UV rays in the process.

The expert has years of knowledge and understands how much power, time, and compound are required to remove the scratch without going any further into the skin.

Polish Compound vs Rubbing Compound vs Wetsand

All of that being said, we can now move on to discussing what each of the compounds performs and when it is most appropriate to employ them. If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you to go back and study the preceding parts to have a better understanding of what happens when you use compound solutions on paint.

Polish Compound

Polishing compound brings out the sheen and restores the color of the automobile by removing a tiny quantity of clear coat (about 0.5mm) from the surface of the vehicle. However, it is not designed for use on significant scratches, but it will do an excellent job of polishing away the little defects. Generally speaking, polishing compound is referred to as simply ‘polish’ in the detailing industry. Price and Benefits of the Polish Compound may be found here.

  • This product brings out the color of the car
  • It removes tiny scratches
  • And it leaves the clear coat with a high degree of clarity.

The Polish Compound Has Some Drawbacks

Rubbing Compound

The rubbing compound, sometimes known as simply compound, may be thought of as a fine liquid sandpaper of varying fineness. It has abrasive properties that allow it to remove more of the clear coat and, as a result, buff out more severe scratches.

What most people don’t tell you is that after applying the compound, you must follow up with a coat of polish to get the desired appearance; otherwise, the paint will remain foggy. Price and Benefits of the Rubbing Compound may be found here.

  • Removes scratches without removing too much of the clear coat
  • Does not discolor the clear coat.

The Negative Aspects of the Rubbing Compound

  • The product generates heat and must be followed up with a polish


As a third alternative, I’ve opted to include wetsand because it’s the most successful method of eliminating damage and restoring the vehicle’s original appearance. It’s normally done in layers, with a compound applied first, followed by a polish to complete the project. The biggest disadvantage of wetsanding is that it removes a significant amount of the clear coat, which means that if you’re not cautious, you might permanently harm the paint. Check for a Discount The Advantages of Wetsanding

  • Does not create heat, but does result in showroom-quality paint restoration
  • Completely removes all flaws and conceals deeper scratches.

Does not create heat, but does result in showroom-quality paint restoration; it removes all flaws and conceals deeper scratches.

  • Out of all the procedures, this one removes the most quantity of clear coat. It is necessary to follow up with a compound and a polish.

How To Determine Which Method To Use

Making the decision on whether to polish, compound, or wetsand a surface is not straightforward since it is dependent on the amount of wear and the effect you want to create. Although wetsanding followed by compounding and polishing will produce the greatest appearance, it is not the best long-term option. Because the majority of the paint does not require a complete wetsanding treatment, you will unavoidably weaken the discomfort. In the long run, this will prohibit you from wetsanding when you actually need to, because there will not be enough clear coat remaining to do so.

However, while wetsanding will remove more of the clear coat, it will not produce any heat, which might damage the paint if done incorrectly.

Polish is the safest of the three procedures since it has the least amount of abrasive material.

How To Apply Polish, CompoundWetsand

The final outcome will alter depending on the tiny variances in how you polish, add compound, or wetsand, despite the fact that the technique is mostly the same. In this part, we’ll go through the tools you’ll need and how to put each of the ideas into action in order to get the greatest potential outcomes. Each of the approaches requires a clean and cool exterior as a precondition for operation.

How To Use Polish Compound

Title Price Buy
Top Ginour Polisher, 900W 6-inch Variable Speed Dual-Action Random Orbit Car Buffer Polisher with D-HandleSide Handle, 6400RPM, Packing Bag, 5 Foam Disc for Car Polishing and Waxing
Top RUPES D-A Fine High Performance Fine Polishing Foam Pad 2-Pack
Top Meguiar’s G19220 Ultimate Polish, 1 pt.4 fl. oz.
Top FIXSMITH Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – Pack of 8, Size: 12 x 16 in, Multi-Functional Cleaning Towels, Highly Absorbent Cleaning Rags, Lint-Free, Streak-Free Cleaning Cloths for Car Kitchen Home Office.

Price data was retrieved from the Amazon Product Advertising API on the following page: step by step instructions

  1. A liberal amount of polish should be applied on the pad and dispersed throughout. Once the pad has absorbed the majority of the solution, apply a few additional drops to it. Make sure the polisher speed is set to the lowest or second-lowest level possible. In 15 to 30 seconds, work over a 1 sqft area several times, passing over the same locations each time. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly clean the area when you have finished the operation.

How To Use Rubbing Compound

Price data was retrieved from the Amazon Product Advertising API on the following page: step by step instructions

  1. The rubbing compound will be absorbed by the microfiber pad, so apply a generous amount and spread it over
  2. Using the second-lowest speed level, add more drips on top of the existing ones. Work a 1 sqft area for up to 30 seconds, ensuring that the compound is distributed evenly. Using a microfiber cloth, clean the affected area. Make sure you follow all of the processes outlined in the polishing section

How To Use Wetsand

Price data was retrieved from the Amazon Product Advertising API on the following page: step by step instructions

  1. Attach the 1000-grit pad to the polisher and adjust the speed setting to anywhere between 1 and 3
  2. Cold water should be sprayed on the area you’re polishing, and the paper should be used for 15 to 30 seconds. Clean the area with a damp cloth and re-spray it with water
  3. Using a 2000 grit abrasive pad, polish the surface once more. Proceed in a same manner using the 3000 grit pad
  4. After thoroughly cleaning the area, proceed with the techniques outlined in the rubbing compound portion. To finish, use the procedures outlined in the polishing section.


Yes, rubbing compound is more abrasive and removes a thicker layer of coating than sandpaper. Consider it more like a very fine liquid sandpaper than a polishing solution in terms of texture.

Is rubbing compound bad for car paint?

Rubbing compound is technically harmful to automotive paint since it removes a little percentage of it when used.

In order to repair the damage caused by scratches without having to repaint the entire body panel, this procedure is required.

Can you buff with rubbing compound?

To be honest, the rubbing compound is just too aggressive to get a smooth, shining finish on the painted surface. In order to do this, you will always need to use a polishing product after the paint.

Do I need compound or polish?

If you are not dealing with serious damages and are only concerned with restoring the original appearance, a polish will suffice in most cases. If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with scratches and damage, you’ll need both, because the compound should always be followed by a polishing procedure.

Does polish damage car paint?

Polish does cause little damage to automobile paint, but only on a minor scale. A number of rounds of polishing would be required to create sufficient wear to the clear layer and expose the base coat to ultraviolet radiation.

Will polishing compound remove scratches?

However, while the polish can erase extremely slight scratches and diminish the visibility of more apparent damage to a certain amount, it is not appropriate for the work at hand. If you want to thoroughly erase the scratches, you should start with either a rubbing compound or a wet sanding compound.

Does compound remove clearcoat?

The chemical does dissolve clearcoat, but not to the extent that it has an impact on the protective properties of the coating. Given that clearcoat is at least a few millimeters thick, the removal of a fraction of a millimeter will not make a significant effect.

Will rubbing compound remove touch-up paint?

Due to the fact that touch-up paint is not followed by a protective clear coat, rubbing compound will be necessary to remove it.

Can I just polish without a compound?

It is quite OK to polish without the use of a compound. Even while it is the safest method for restoring the paint’s sheen without causing harm to the clear coat, it will not remove scratches completely.

What to use after rubbing compound?

To eliminate the haze and make the color more brilliant after rubbing, it is required to use a decent polish compound after rubbing.


Although rubbing compound is more abrasive and effective at dealing with scratches, the most essential lesson to take away from this essay is that rubbing compound should always be followed up with polishing. Polishing the automobile, on the other hand, will suffice if all you want to do is restore the paint color to its original state. Wet sanding is not as unpleasant as it appears, but it must be done with great care and patience to avoid damaging the surface.


What is the reason for not allowing a compound to dry on a paint finish? The presence of water and oils in a compound is essential for the lubrication of the compound’s cleaning components. When a compound dries, it may be difficult to remove or it may be excessively harsh to the finish when it’s being stripped away. To ensure safe performance, always apply a compound using a moist applicator or cloth and remove it as soon as possible after application. Is it OK to use Rubbing Compound to remove scratches off my brand-new automobile?

  1. New automobile finishes should not be treated to a rubbing compound before to being driven on the road.
  2. What is the best way to fix deep scratches?
  3. This product is intended for use in scratch repair and sealing applications.
  4. Use whenever there are unpleasant scratches or imperfections.

Once the surface has been restored using clear coat resin, it is ready for the application of vehicle wax to return the finish to its like-new luster and protection.

Polishing vs Compounding: The Differences Explained

For those of you who are interested in removing swirl marks and scratches from your vehicle’s paintwork, it’s important to grasp the difference between polishing and compounding. Both of these processes are intended to remove paint imperfections, but they operate in distinct ways and should be utilized in different contexts. In this post, I’ll explain the differences between polishes and compound liquids, in order to assist you in deciding which product to use. So let’s get this party started.

The Quick Answer

Polishing and compounding are both ways of repairing a car’s paint that include removing a layer of clear coat from the surface of the automobile. When compared to polishing, compounding eliminates scratches from the paint more rapidly, whereas polishing refines the finish by gently cutting through the paint. Compounding is frequently followed by polishing in order to completely fix the paint.

Paint Correction 101

Before we can get into the exact distinctions between polishing and compounding, we must first define what paint correction is and why it is necessary. Paint correction is intended to flatten the clear coat in order for it to reflect light more uniformly, resulting in a glossier appearance. That is all there is to it. Even on a fresh new automobile, the clear coat is rarely entirely smooth, and this is especially true for older cars. In many cases, faulty wash technique is the primary source of scratches and swirl marks, which generate unevenness in the paint and lead it to appear duller overall.

Polishing and compounding are two techniques for removing the clear coat and making minor corrections to the paint that are used in automotive repair.

Compounding vs Polishing

It is the speed with which a compound and a polish remove the clear layer that is the most crucial differential between them. Polishing removes the clear coat slowly, whereas compounding removes the clear coat rapidly. There are two distinct processes involved in compounding and polishing. If you wanted to make minor adjustments to the painting, you would either ‘compound’ or ‘polish’ it. Products such as compounds and polishes are distinguished. Make no mistake, this is an essential distinction.

On the other hand, when you buy a ‘polish,’ you should anticipate it to cut through the paint more slowly.

So, what is it about the pace at which the paint is removed that is so important?

Important Terms

In certain circles, the phrases ‘rubbing compound’ and ‘polishing compound’ are used interchangeably. What exactly do these terms mean and how do they function? A rubbing compound, which is another word for a typical ‘compound,’ is a paint thinner that cuts through paint fast.

Essentially the same as a ‘polish,’ a polishing compound is more gentle on the paint and cuts the paint more slowly. To keep things as simple as possible, I’ll just use the terms ‘polish’ and ‘compound’ from here on out.

Which Should Be Used When?

In certain circles, the phrases ‘rubbing compound’ and ‘polishing compound’ are used interchangeably. What exactly do these terms mean and how do they work? In addition to being referred to as ‘rubbing compound,’ it is also referred to as ‘compound.’ In the same way as a ‘polish’ cuts paint, a polishing compound cuts paint more slowly. To make things as simple as possible, I’ll only refer to polish and compound from here on out.

  • It is recommended that compounding be used to remove clear coat damage, such as scratches. It is necessary to employ polishing to perfect the paintwork, such as to obtain a mirror finish.

This refers to a basic difference between the two products, namely the pace at which they remove the paint off the surface.

The Paint Correction Process

I believe that providing various instances and thoroughly detailing the process of paint repair will assist in making things a little more obvious. Consider the following scenario: you have a car with several clear coat scrapes that can be seen pretty clearly in direct sunshine. Clear coat damage would be the term used to describe this. It’s possible that you’ll reach for a compound in this situation. This is due to the fact that it would be a more cost-effective approach. Yes, you can remove the same amount of paint with both a polish and a compound; but, removing the same quantity of paint with a polish would take far longer.

An alternative would be to use a nail polish in this situation instead.

Using a compound is not recommended in this circumstance because it will remove an excessive amount of clear coat and may also remove several layers that are not affected, in addition to the slight damage.

Preserving the Clear Coat is Essential

Whenever you’re undertaking any paint repair procedures, this is the most crucial thing to keep in mind: Always keep the clear coat until last. Why? The clear coat, on the other hand, is applied on top of the base coat (the color), and its primary purpose is to protect it. It shields it against corrosion, ultraviolet radiation, and impurities such as iron, tree sap, tar bugs, and so on. With out the clear coat, the base coat would fade extremely rapidly, and the finish would be matte rather than glossy and shining, which would be undesirable.

  • It goes without saying that there is a limit to how many times this can be done until you run out of paint.
  • Although it is possible to run out of clear coat completely, this is not the only issue you should be concerned about.
  • This is accomplished by the use of ‘UV inhibitors’ in the clear coat.
  • Instead, the majority of them are located at the very top of the clear coat.
  • This is why you should never remove more clear coat than is absolutely necessary to effectively remove the damage, and never more than is absolutely essential.

It is significantly less necessary to have immaculate paint than it is to have a clear coat that is useful. Check out this post I wrote about how frequently you should fix the paint to learn more about this subject matter.

Compounding Can Leave Hazing

When I talked about polishes and compounds previously, I stressed the need of distinguishing between the two. Polishes enhance the paint, whereas compounds erase clear coat damage. Because compounds cut through paint more quickly, they are more abrasive and, as a result, more aggressive. As a result, they often do not leave a totally honed finish on the surface. Instead, they might leave little ‘scratches’ on the surface of the ground. It is necessary to polish these scratches in order to make them more refined.

  • Consider it to be similar to sanding.
  • Then you use a finer grade of sandpaper to eliminate the scratches left by the coarser grade of sandpaper you used before.
  • Some chemicals have the ability to leave an extremely smooth surface in their wake.
  • It is very dependent on the items that you are utilizing.
  • To the untrained eye, this hazing will most likely not even be discernible as a haze.

One Step Products

There are also one-stage or one-step polishes/compounds available for purchase. Designed to provide the best of both worlds, they are a hybrid of sorts. The goal is to eliminate clear coat scratches and swirl marks while still leaving a mirror finish behind, without any of the haze that a compound would most likely leave behind on the surface. These goods are not in fact ‘too good to be true,’ and they can be really effective remedies in some cases. However, there are certain disadvantages to using them.

  • Although they are capable of removing deeper clear coat scratches, they are not always effective. You should expect that they will not always leave a flawlessly honed finish.

It’s essentially a matter of trade-offs. When you use a two-stage paint correction procedure, you’ll frequently receive superior overall results (compounding followed by polishing). It does, however, take twice as long. The effects can be virtually as excellent as if you use a decent all-in-one solution, but they can be achieved in half the time. In the event that you’re short on time and aren’t concerned with ‘pursuing perfection,’ they might be a fantastic solution to consider.

Back to an Example

Let’s go back to the previous illustration. A automobile with significant clear coat damage, such as the one seen below (scratches and swirls). So you might take a look at this and immediately think about getting into a complex since the damage is fairly extensive. After that, you’d probably polish it to a mirror finish to make it look even more polished. But remember what I stated before about the need of clear coat preservation? It’s conceivable that a polish will be sufficient to eliminate the damage entirely.

By reading thus far, you’ve definitely expressed an interest in paint correction and the desire to get the greatest finish possible while also ensuring that your automobile is adequately protected (has plenty of clear coat left).

compounding in greater detail.

You’ve undoubtedly realized by now that the situation is not straightforward, and there are a plethora of elements to take into consideration. Consequently, let’s take a look at a few of the most crucial ones:

The Polish or Compound Liquid

The majority of polishes and chemicals are not made equal. It is possible to obtain a moderate compound as well as an aggressive polishing compound. And it is at this point that the line becomes a little blurred. Some polishes are quite effective at removing swirl marks, but others will just slightly modify the paintwork in order to get the last 1 percent of shine. Likewise, some compounds are quite aggressive, but others may merely remove paint at a rate comparable to that of a ‘aggressive polish’ produced by another manufacturer.

Instead than only having one of each product, you may have multiples.

How Soft is the Paint?

This is a significant development. Some automobiles have ‘softer’ paint than others, and some have ‘harder’ paint. This implies that the clear coat will be removed more quickly as a result of this. Keep in mind that not all automobiles have the same ‘paint softness,’ and that it won’t make much of a difference in terms of ‘paint softness.’ In fact, it is just as vital as the type of polish or compound you are using to get the desired results. It varies significantly across automobile manufacturers.

  • Manufacturers like as Toyota, Honda, and Porsche, on the other hand, create automobiles with ‘softer paint,’ which is a relative term.
  • An Audi, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to remove the same quantity of clear finish with the same polish.
  • Just because you drive a BMW does not imply that your vehicle has ‘hard paint’ and that you need use a chemical to clean it.
  • It’s just another aspect to take into account.

Man vs Machine

You should also think about whether you want to adjust the paint by hand or if you want to use a machine. It is possible that a compound applied by hand will be significantly less harsh than a polish applied by machine. Additionally, there are two primary sorts of machines to consider. If you aren’t familiar with the differences between rotary and dual action polishers, you should read this article immediately. I’ve produced an article on the distinctions between dual action and rotary polishing machines so that you can properly understand the differences.

This introduces yet another extremely crucial variable into the equation.

Because they cut more forcefully, rotary polishers are also significantly more likely to leave hazing than other types of polishers.

As a result, you should never use a polish and a rotary tool in the same application with the goal of ‘refining’ the paintwork to a mirror sheen. Rotaries, on the other hand, should only be used when there is severe clear coat damage to be removed.

Pad Type

Another issue to consider is the type of pad being used. Pads are generally classified into two categories: foam and microfiber. Microfiber pads, on the other hand, are often more forceful and cut the paint more quickly. Thus, it may be feasible to remove the same amount of clear coat with a microfiber pad and polish as it is with a foam pad and compound in some situations. a microfiber pad and polish Foam pads, on the other hand, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are various distinct varieties available from the manufacturer, some meant for ‘compounding’ and others suited for ‘polishing.’ In general, the harder the pad, the more forceful the pad will be in its application.

Other Variables

So, just in case you weren’t already perplexed enough, there are a slew of other things to consider. But don’t worry, I’m simply going to list them in bullet points to save you from being even more stressed.

  • The machine’s rotational speed (how fast the pad rotates). Rotations at a quicker rate result in speedier paint removal. The speed with which you move your arms (how quickly you cover a specific sized area)
  • How much pressure is applied to the polishing machine (i.e., how hard you press down on the polishing machine when using it)
  • And

So Should You Polish or Compound?

So I sincerely hope that I haven’t given you too much pause or discouraged you from attempting any paint correction procedures in the future. I just wanted to emphasize that it’s a complicated process, and that there’s a lot more that goes into it than simply choosing a compound or finish to use. In order for you to know where you’re going from here, I thought it would be a good idea to really just round things out and simplify everything. So here’s what I’d do if I were a complete newbie who couldn’t decide whether to use a compound or a polish.

  • A dual action polisher is a good choice
  • But, if you aren’t confident enough to operate a machine, you can try paint correction by hand. Use of a rotary polisher is not recommended. Obtain two goods from a single producer (a polish liquid and a medium-grade compound liquid). First, try using a ‘polishing liquid’ on a foam pad to polish the surface. If this does not eliminate the damage, apply a ‘compound liquid’ to a foam pad and scrub the area. If this does not eliminate the damage, apply the same ‘compound liquid’ on a microfibre pad and repeat the process. Continue to repeat the same part until the damage has been repaired

This is the procedure that I originally utilized, and it is the procedure that I still use today. Yes, it will take some trial and error, but it is the most effective technique to get a high-quality finish while still preserving the clear coat. If you’re interested in learning more about the items I use, you may visit my suggested paint correction products page, where I give my personal favorites and recommendations. You don’t have to make things too complicated for yourself. Keep things as basic as possible, and you’ll get excellent outcomes.

Related Questions

Finally, I wanted to go over some of the most often asked questions to make sure that any confusion you may still be experiencing was resolved.

Should I always polish after compounding?

After compounding, it is not always necessary to polish the surface. It is dependent on the finish that the compound has left behind. If there is any haze or swirling in the finish, a polish can be used to improve it. The use of a compound that leaves a glossy and smooth finish eliminates the need to polish the surface further.

What’s the difference between buffing and polishing?

Buffing is used to add compounds like as waxes and sealants to the clear coat in order to protect it. Polishing is the term used to describe the process of removing a layer of the top finish in order to eliminate scratches and defects from the surface. Buffing does not remove any clear layer from the surface.

What is wet sanding?

Sanding with water is yet another popular paint repair process. It is a more severe step than compounding, and it should only be utilized by persons who are extremely knowledgeable in their fields. Take a look at the essay I wrote on the differences between polishing, compounding, and wet sanding to understand more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope you find this information to be of assistance. More information about automobile cleaning procedures and recommendations may be found throughout the rest of the website.

  • Is it really worth it to invest in snow foam cannons? Make Your Tires Look Like They’re Brand New
  • Is it harmful to wash your car too frequently?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *