How to Remove Swirl Marks from Black Paint

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It is easier to work on cars with black paint or dark color finish – you can easily find DIY auto kits for such vehicles. Swirl marks are the commonest imperfection that distorts car paints. Thus, in this article, we will discuss how to remove swirl marks from black paint.

These marks are unpleasant, and no car owner would love to see them. However, unlike scratches that tend to remove some part of your car paint’s coating, swirl marks are finer and cannot be felt with hands. To fix this defect, you need a swirl removal formula and your DIY toolkit.

What Causes Swirl Marks To Appear?

Before we discuss removing swirl marks, it’d be good to highlight the causes of such marks and how you can prevent them.

Mostly, swirl marks are caused by car washes. Yes, how you wash your car often can cause these marks to appear. If you often wipe down or dry your car with regular towels after a wash, there’s the possibility that swirl marks will appear on your car’s paint over time.

Also, having your car pass through automatic car washed can cause these marks to appear. Why? This is because the brushes used in automated car wash centers are not always properly maintained, and they are also harsh (to some extent).

Furthermore, certain compounds and gears used in car waxing or detailing can bring out swirl marks. Hence, we’d advise that you pay more attention to how you wash your car and choose your waxes carefully.

Note: irrespective of your car paint color, these actions mentioned can cause swirls to appear on the body.

Now, having known the causes of swirl marks, let’s get down to the main focus – how to remove swirl marks from black paint. However, this guide may also work for dark-colored vehicles, not just cars with black paint.

How to Remove Swirl Marks from Black Paint

What Causes Swirl Marks To Appear

Here are the things you need to remove swirls from your black-colored vehicle.

  • Waxing compound
  • Paint Cleaner
  • Car washing gears
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Polisher

1. Wash The Car

You need to wash the car manually and not using any automatic car washing technique. Yes, the wash should be done by you – park the car in a good spot and get your car wash gears to carry out a thorough wash.

It is safe to use a pressure washer for this activity; however, ensure that you’re using the right nozzle because not all pressure washer nozzles are good for a car wash.

Alright, you also need to ensure that you’re washing the car with clean (if possible, distilled) water and you’re using a good car wash detergent.

After the wash, rinse the car and dry with a microfiber towel instead of regular towels to avoid further stains. Then, you’re set for the swirl marks removal practice.

Note: the car should be parked under a shade or inside your garage for better results.

2. Inspect The Paint

Take your time to inspect the car’s paint to point out the places that have swirl marks. This check is important, and you should mark out these places using tapes.

If you’re unable to see your car’s body clearly due to the shade where you parked, use a flashlight for this inspection or open the garage doors for sunlight to penetrate. With all the swirl marks locations pointed out, you’re ready for the next step.

3. Apply Paint Cleaner

This is the point where you will apply a paint cleaning compound to your car. The essence of this compound is to help clean your car’s paint, and by doing that, it also removes minor impurities from your car’s paint.

However, it is strongly advised that you read and adhere to the instructions written on the paint cleaner you choose to use. Some of these cleaners are to be applied when the car is wet; so, it implies that you’ll be applying such paint cleaners a few moments after washing the car.

In contrast, there are other paint cleaners that should be applied to a dried car. For such cleaners, you will need to apply them after washing and drying your car with a microfiber cloth. Paint cleaners that are best for this practice are the non-abrasive chemical-based options.

The basic way to apply a paint cleaning compound is to pour out a little to a detailing foam or microfiber towel, and then rub it on the affected parts of the car’s body where you can see swirl marks. If there’s a special way to apply the one you bought, the instructions will be provided in the pack/leaflet.

4. Polish and Wax

Firstly, you will polish the car and then apply wax. Polishing your car after removing swirl marks with a paint cleaner is very important. It would help to restore shininess and transparency. Also, polishing will help to cover up the remnant swirl marks that could be removed by the paint cleaner.

Auto polishing compounds also help to hide minor scratches that affect the clear coat layer. So, applying this compound would help to restore your car’s beauty and make it appear like new. There are lots of car polishing products out there; you should be careful in making a choice.

Also, ensure to read the instructions on how to use the polishing compound you bought. Basically, the application is to pour a small quantity into a microfiber cloth and rub it on the car following a circular motion.

After polishing, waxing should be done, too. Yes, waxing is done to add an additional, transparent layer to protect your car’s paint.

Some people use sealants, but we’d advise that you use waxing compounds. Waxing can prevent swirl marks from appearing on your car’s body – it generally protects your car paint from lots of damages.

What More?

In some cases, paint cleaners may not be able to efficiently remove those swirl marks on your car’s body. If you experience that, try using a rubbing compound.

However, when choosing a rubbing compound, go for the one that’s less abrasive to avoid scraping your car’s pain while trying to remove swirl marks.

Polishing and waxing are also required after treating your car with a rubbing compound. In fact, you should polish and wax your car after a DIY practice.


This article has explained how to remove swirl marks from black paint. However, as said earlier, this guide can also work for cars that are painted in other colors. You only need to choose a polishing and waxing compound that’d work perfectly on your car’s paint.

More so, we’d advise that you adhere to measures that’d help to prevent these marks from appearing on your car.

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