• Choosing and Using a Swirl Remover

    A swirl remover is to be used when you’re determined to have your paintwork looking as if the car had just emerged from the factory. Those little swirls, which can look like the faint web of a spider on your paint, can be frustrating. Swirl remover can eliminate them. It takes work, but it can be done. Knowing what to use and how to approach the problem is important in car detailing.

    How Paint Swirls Occur

    Paint swirls are minute scratches. What you see as the swirl is light that’s reflected off the edge of the scratch where it cuts partway into the clear coat, or even down to the paint. Usually you’re the person who causes the swirl marks. They generally happen because you’ve used cheap cotton towels to wipe and clean the paint, scratching it. They can also be due to a poor technique when washing the car. This can be the use of a sponge or taking the car through a car wash.

    Filling by Hand

    One way to get rid of swirls is by hand, using a glaze or filler to top up the level in the scratch. There are several different materials that will work, although these tend to be short-term solutions. The filler will begin to break down and fade, and the scratch will return. Proper swirl removal is the long-lasting solution.

    How a Swirl Remover Works

    The best swirl remover is a liquid that contains emollients and cleaners. The particles in it start off large and grow smaller as they’re used. It can also be termed a cutting polish. It starts off by removing some of the clear coat, the rate of removal lessening as it’s worked more and more, until the scratches have gone. You need to keep working until the swirl remover turns powdery. What you’re essentially doing is smoothing down the scratches until you have an even surface. Even when using power tools, this can take a little time, and you need to develop the skill for it.

    You’d use a machine polisher (or a good orbital sander) with a polishing pad. You need to work it in, starting at a low speed then turn the speed up until it’s been fully worked into the paint.

    What to Look for

    Ideally you want a swirl remover that containers good cleaners, but no abrasives, which can worsen the swirls. If you buy a product that you can use by machine or by hand, you’ll have one that can do the job you need. Be aware if you choose to work by hand, it will take a long time and requires plenty of elbow grease.


    Be aware that swirl remover is meant to do one thing one. It will take out the swirls if used properly and leave you with a smooth clear coat. Your paintwork still needs to be protected, so it’s vital that you finish by applying a coat of good wax. If you don’t, all the work you’ve put in can be ruined.