Best Scratch and Swirl Remover for Car

Learn how to fix car paint blemishes using these scratch repair kits.

Which car paint remover works best?

Scratches and swirls are a real eyesore on your car’s paintwork. Rather than rush your car to the body shop, you could try fixing these defects using a good scratch and swirl remover.

Most car scratch removers can fix light to medium depth car scratches. Also, they are an inexpensive option compared to a paint job, so you might end up saving a load of cash. However, if scratches are deep, you will need a more premium deep car scratch remover or even the expert help of your auto detailer.

Car swirls, scuffs, and water spots are just as easy to get rid of – if you have the right scratch repair kit.

We tested waxes, paint scratch removers, rubbing compounds, and polishes to find the best way to remove scuff marks from cars

Here are our top picks, but scroll deeper for more buying info and deeper reviews.

Things to consider

Here are a couple of factors you want to consider when buying a top car scratch remover.

Depth of Scratch

Typically, scratch remover products indicate the depth of scratches you can expect to remove with their compound. For instance, certain scratch removers can only restore light or surface scratches, while others can repair deeper damages. So, the type of scratch on your car should guide your choice of remover

Dual Purpose

Some formulas have polish or wax integrated into the formula. Some can be used on any paint color, including black paint. Choose a versatile compound that is will give you good value for your dollar.

Level of Abrasiveness

Mildly abrasive compounds, like scratch removal polishes, are not likely to remove deeper scratches. Some jobs will require more abrasive rubbing compounds. Other abrasives include sandpaper or sanding blocks.

Ease of use

Some of the best car scratch removers don’t really require expertise. However, consider how much time and physical effort is required of you before buying a kit. For instance, there are some one-step process removers that act fast. Others may need a buffing machine for the best results.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound

Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound

This is one of the best rubbing compounds on the market.  Its advanced formulation and micro-abrasive technology deliver a super quick and impressive restoration to the surface of your car.

It works well for both clearcoat and basecoat defects, so you can use this swirl mark remover to buff out scratches or restore shine to degraded or rusty surfaces of your car.

Overall, this car scratch remover is safe, works fast, and has impressive results. The best way to remove scratches from car is to carefully follow the instructions and not leave the compound on for too long. Works both by hand and dual action polisher

Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover

Chemical Guys Scratch and Swirl Remover

This car scratch remover from Chemical Guy is a complete all-in-one product with a remover compound, a polisher, and cleaner.  Thus, it is super easy to use; simply apply and it will simultaneously remove the scratches and polish your car.

The Chemical Guys’ powerful formula removes medium to heavy surface damages, including oxidation and swirl marks. It can be applied to all colors and leaves a smooth, mirror finish.

However, for the best results, you need dual action polisher as application by hand may be time-consuming. Overall, an efficient car scuff remover that is a favorite among DIYers.

Turtle Wax Polishing Compound and Scratch Remover

Turtle Wax Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover

This heavy-duty paste is more of a polishing compound than a scratch remover.  Among the best wax to hide swirl marks, Turtle is great at restoring oxidized or faded surfaces. It does remove light scratches too and works on any color or paint finish. 

A multi-purpose product, you can use Turtle Wax polishing compound to clean your discoloured headlights, panels, and tire rims. Plus, you don’t need any special tools, just your hands and a clean piece of cloth. 

All in all, this inexpensive scratch repair wax is perfect for light scratch removal. It also acts as a protectant to your car’s paint job.

3M 39044 Scratch Remover

3M Scratch Remover

If you are looking for a less abrasive scratch remover, this is a good option.  3M is a fine abrasive and finishing compound in one bottle.  A little goes a long way – so you don’t have to apply a lot of the product to an area. Simply use a drop of this light scratch remover on each problem area to blend the scratches out.

Designed to repair surface scratches, the automotive scratch remover’s polisher function works on surface blemishes like oxidation, water spots, light stains, and swirl marks to give your car a fresh shine.

For application, you can either use a power tool or your hands, either of which will give you good results. The package includes a microfiber cloth, an abrasive square, and a foam applicator.

3M 39071 Complete Scratch Repair Kit

 3M 39071 Scratch Removal System

This advanced 3M kit comes with all the tools you need to restore your cars flawless appearance.  

It is designed to remove surface defects using an easy 3-step system; – sanding the scratch area using the 3000-grit sandpaper included, then applying the rubbing compound, and finally polishing using the polishing pad and the scratch remover compound.  

This single-use product is packaged in1oz sachets, so budget for multiple packs if you want to repair a large surface area.

So, if you are looking to eliminate blemishes like fingernail scratches on your car doors, car wash scratches, vegetation scratches, this paint repair system is a good option. Plus, the polish will add both a shine and a protective coat to your paintwork.

Overall, a good product for small detailing jobs.

Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover

Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover

Here is another one-step scratch removal formula that both repairs light scratches and polishes your car to a mirror finish. The process is easy; – simply use the included buffing pad to rub the compound onto the problem areas, then wipe it clean with a soft cloth.

Carfidant’s remover kit will also remove swirl marks, water spots, oxidation, and other light damages on your car. And luckily, it is safe to use on any paint or colour.

All in all, an affordable formula that is super easy to use and has multiple functions of removing and polishing. This easy-to-use car scratch remover comes with a free buffer pad.

Formula 1 Scratch Removing Paste

What makes this product different is its non-abrasive formulation, which provides a gentler action on your car’s paint. Instead, the liquid wax contains micro-polishers that remove light scratches and provide a shiny gloss.

This wax-based scratch remover works by filling in – not polishing out – the minor scratches. So, for deeper scratches, check out the stronger removers on this list. But if you are concerned about oxidation, watermarks, fine scratches on your car, this will work just fine. Plus, the F1 Scratch Out gives your car a nice wax coating for that protective and glossy finish.

Overall this non-abrasive scratch remover for ideal for clearing clearcoat paint scratches and swirls.

Barrett Jackson 9965 Scratch Remover Polish

Barrett-Jackson Car Scratch Remover

This premium paint job repairer promises an ‘almost new’ look to your car’s paint. Using its unique polishing formula, you can hide superficial scratches on your car while also polishing the paintwork to a smooth and even finish.

It is a bit pricey, but fortunately, the Barrett Jackson Scratch remover can be used on any type of paint. You can even use it to remove scuff marks off your tire rims. And, it is super easy to use, simply apply the compound on a cloth and rub down the problem spot.

Mothers California Gold Scratch Remover

 Mothers 08408 California Gold Scratch Remover

This is a great scratch remover polish to have in your car for regular touch-ups of your car’s paint. Its mildly abrasive formula means it is gentle on your car. So, you can use it often to repair minor scratches and swirls on the more used surfaces of your car such as door handles, keyholes, and trunk lids.

To eliminate medium-depth scratches, you may require more than one application. Luckily, this easy to use 8oz bottle is inexpensive enough not to hurt your pockets.

Another plus is that multiple uses of this product add a protective layer of polish on your paintwork and prevents future damage to your car’s paint.

And, it is safe to use on metal, chrome, and some plastic surfaces, like vinyl.

TriNova Scratch and Swirl Remover

TriNova Scratch Swirl Remover

One of the best scratch repair kit, this formula comes in a 12oz package which will last you a while longer compared to the others. The dual-action product from the trusted Trinova brand bundles the compound and polish together. Meaning you remove the surface scratches and polish your car all at once.

For the best scratch repair, simply apply the formula on the buffer (included in the package) and rub it on the paint blemishes. You can do this by hand or use an orbital polisher to remove light scratches, oxidation, swirls, watermarks.

Unfortunately, the package does not include wax, so you may have to purchase it separately. It does come with a buffing pad.

How to Buy the Best Car Swirl and Scratch Remover for Your Car

Read on for more buying info on the different types of paint swirl removers, how to fix a car scratch, and what type of car paint blemishes can be fixed.

Types of Scratch Removers

Scratch and swirl removal kits

These often have multiple items to complete the job. They typically come with the car scratch remover compound and an applicator or polishing pad. They offer value and convenience, as the formula often contains both a compound and polish or wax for buffing.

However, you also have the option of buying just the best scuff remover compound and then separately buying your own applicator.


Some of the products on this list are designed for light scratches and are in fact, more polish than scratch removers. They are not the best product for deep scratches on car, but are good for surface damage and a good shine.

The Best Way to Remove Light Scratches from Car Paint

How to how to remove deep scratches from car at home. You can also use this method to remove scratches from car bumper.

Step 1

The first step is to assess the damage. How deep is the scratch?

You can tell the depth by running your fingernail along the scratch. Light or surface scratches feel smooth, but if your fingernail catches in the scratch, then it is considered a medium scratch. If the scratch looks white, it is deep and may need more aggressive treatment.

Once you have bought the appropriate scratch remover, you are ready for the next step.

Step 2

Clean and dry the problem area, and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions. These differ from product to product. For instance, light scratches may require just one step – application of the remover using a buffer or microfibre cloth.

The best way to remove medium scratches from car paint involves sanding using fine sand-paper or rubbing compound. Once the paint begins to look dull, wipe off dust, and apply the scratch remover.

Step 3

The next step is polishing, which restores the smoothness and gloss of your paintwork. Some of the formulas contain polish as well, so you can skip this step. Otherwise, get yourself a good buffer and polish for this task.

Finally, it is a good idea to apply a coat of wax to seal in and protect your paintwork.


Final thoughts

Whether you prefer a quick one-step procedure or the more thorough rub-polish-wax 3-step scratch removal process, you will likely find a suitable product on this list.

Here is another DIY project that will save you some bucks; restoration of your headlights. Check out our review and how-to article on headlight restoration kits for some tips.