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How to Remove Swirl Marks From a Car By Hand

Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by

Removing Car Swirl Marks by Hand

Swirl marks are frustrating; we get it. They don’t look great, and they’re even worse ​in dark colours of paint. Luckily, you don’t have to live with them. Here’s how to remove your swirl marks easily.

How Swirl Marks Form

Swirl marks come from cleaning your car with the wrong chemicals, tools and techniques. They’re easy to remove, but you should still learn how to avoid them in the first place. You’ll save time and money, plus you will prevent more problems later that are caused by using the wrong techniques repeatedly.

A quick list of things you shouldn’t do includes:

  • Covering your car with a dirty cover
  • Using polyester towels
  • Applying harsh chemicals and cleaners
  • Wiping off dust with a dry towel
  • Drying your car before it’s thoroughly washed
  • Washing your car before rinsing it off

Microfibre towels are gentle, so they’re perfect for cleaning because they will never scratch. They’re also incredibly absorbent, so they are the best companion for drying. They’ll do a thorough job. Lastly, make sure the cleaner you use is meant for cars. You’d be surprised what some people use to clean their car.

What You Need

Get ready to remove the swirls by gathering:

  • A water hose
  • Paint cleaner
  • Polisher
  • Car wax
  • A microfibre towel

Removing Those Swirls

This is an easy four-step process to ensure you remove the swirls and leave your car as reflective as a looking glass.


Find some shade and use the hose to rinse your car. Starting from the top and working down is the best practice.

Apply Paint Cleaner

Don’t let your car dry before applying the paint cleaner. Use your microfibre towel to rub the paint cleaner back and forth, not in circles. Repeat this step until the paint is smooth.


Polishing your car breaks down what is making the swirl marks. Apply polisher on your car while it’s still wet. Use something less abrasive, so you don’t make the surface even hazier. Follow the instructions on your polisher exactly. Apply a small amount slowly and in a circular motion. Remove any excess polish with a clean cloth. Too much polisher, even a less abrasive one, can also cause the haze you’re trying to fix, so use caution.


Some will say you can stop at polishing, but waxing is also essential. Apply wax on your dry car a little at a time using a microfibre towel. Wait for it to dry, and then remove it by rubbing with a clean towel.

The process can be time-consuming, but once you’re done, your car will look shiny and new. In cases where the swirl marks won’t come off, it’s best to seek professional help to prevent further damage to your paint by using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard.

Following safe practices for cleaning your car in the future will prevent you from having to do this again. Plus, if you wax your car after washing, it prevents your car from getting as dirty and makes it much easier to clean the next time.