This entire article is about rubbing compound and how you can use it to restoring your car’s look. It is the best way to bring back the alluring look of your car after several scratches without spending a fortune.

When I got my car, the major headache I have was how to keep it neat and alluring at all times. So, I know I have to ensure there are no scratches on it. But how can that be possible? Even if you choose to drive safely and cautiously, some drivers will still find their way to leave marks or scratches on your car.

Today, I give more time to dealing with scratches because the more I try to avoid and not think of it, the more it gets the best part of me. The only effective way to deal with scratches or marks on cars is to rub compounds.

A quick application of brake oil to scratches doesn’t have a lasting solution than rubbing compound. So, on this page, you will get to know the types and methods you can use in bringing back the appearance of your car you love to see.

How to Properly Use a Rubbing Compound

Get all Essentials Available

If you are doing the task of removing scratches on your car yourself, you need to get some essentials available. They are important to help you through the process. They include an abrasive material that you will use to grind your car’s damaged paint surface that got affected.

It would help if you had a wool pad for the application of an orbital polisher. You might have to consider an ultrafine dry or wet sandpaper that you can purchase anywhere online or in any local auto repair shop for the best performance.

It would help if you also had a black or white shoe polish, soapy water to get rid of the stain completely, and a dry towel you will use to apply the compound and wax. You use it to clean off the affected surface when you are done with rubbing the compound.
The last one is adding the car wax, which will help give the final touch needed to bring back your car’s look.

Clean Up the Car Surfaces

Clean Up The Car Surfaces
Clear up space which has the scratches before applying the rubbing compound

Now that you have all the essentials needed for the work available, you must go ahead with the first task, cleaning the car surfaces. Doing any refurbish work on a dusty surface might affect the outcome of the work.

You need to do all you can to wash the surface using a clean cloth and soap. Wash the surface and ensure it is clean. It would be best if you got a dry towel to dry the surface, and then you can easily get to see the areas that got affected with scratches or marks so that you can work on them accordingly.

Sanding the Scratches Layer

If you notice that the paint on your car is from the other car that hit you, you need to get rid of any strange paint. You can do that by sanding the defective area. It would help if you scrubbed gently until you notice the paint is peeled off totally.

Also, if your car’s paint is peeled off, you might need to apply white or black polish to reveal the extent of the scratches so that you can know the length at which you are going to apply the rubbing compound.

Adding Filler

If the scratch on your car is much that some part of the car got damaged, which requires you to do push or hit any part, you might have to apply filler to fill those areas up before applying any rubbing compound.

Once that is done, you can go ahead with other steps.

Applying the Rubbing Compound

To apply the rubbing compound on the part of your car you are trying to fix, you should get an orbital polisher. This will help make the work easier and give perfection to whatever you are doing on your car. However, if you do not have one, you can use your hand while you use a towel and the rubbing compound.

Pour the rubbing compound on the towel while you rub it on your car. You just have to apply enough pressure while doing that to get the best result.


To finish up the task, you need to do some other things such as painting, polishing, and waxing the areas or part of the car you’ve worked on. These three will help to give a professional look. They will help to ensure your car gets the desired look you always find joy with whenever you look at your car.

FAQs About Rubbing Compound

Since rubbing compound is quite unfamiliar with many new drivers, this article will cover some of the most common questions around this incredible item: 

When should you use a rubbing compound?

We recommend using the rubbing compound for more severe damage to the car’s paint, which cannot be removed using milder formulas. Some of these include:
– Removing stubborn stains and severe oxidation
– Removing paint transfer
– Smoothing out deeper scratches and scuffs

Recommendation: Avoid using a rubbing compound for new car paintwork restoration.

Should I use a rubbing compound or polishing compound?

It totally depends on the purpose of car owners since both of the compounds serve different purposes. While rubbing compound restores the paintwork and hides the scratches, polishing compound focuses on recovering the shine and smoothness of the paint. Long story short, they are both helpful to your automobile, but they are quite different in the way of using.

Do you need to polish after compounding?

The polishing step depends on the work after the compounding stage. With the proper lighting, you can do the final checking to decide whether to polish or not. If there is any hazing or micro-marring, car owners are recommended to polish again. 

Can rubbing compounds be used on headlights?

Yes. Both rubbing compound and polishing compound can be used on headlights. The proper way of using it is the same as covering the scratch on the car body: Apply on a clean microfiber cloth, then spread in a circular motion to the headlights. 

What goes first compound or polish?

Drivers should definitely compound before polish. The purpose of adding compound is to remove stubborn stains, bird droppings, oxidation,… And then we polish the surface in order to provide shiny and reflectivity for the automobile.

Can I Use Rubbing Compound on a Windshield?

This depends on the abrasiveness of the particular product you are using. The heavy-duty or highly abrasive types can be too harsh on the glass and hence leaving it with unsightly scratches. But, most light-duty rubbing compounds are safe and effective for use on windshields.

Do I Need to Clean Surface Before Applying Rubbing Compound?

For the best results, you will need first to clean the surface. While some products can still provide good results even on dirty surfaces, dirt and other contaminants often reduce most rubbing compounds’ effectiveness significantly.

Why shouldn’t a compound be allowed to dry on paint finish?

Water and oils in a compound provide key lubrication to the compound’s cleaning ingredients. A compound that dries may be difficult to remove or be too aggressive to the finish during removal. Always apply a compound with a damp applicator or cloth and remove it immediately to assure safe performance.


Scratches on cars are inevitable, some are small to overlook, and some thus disfigure the car and then demand repair. However, not all the time will you have to drive to the auto shop to fix it when you can do some tasks yourself. So, we have on the page the rubbing compound trick and tips for you to look into if you ever decide to take up the task yourself.