9 Best Swirl and Scratch Remover| Autodetailinglab

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Choosing the best swirl and scratch remover can save you hours of time by getting it right first time.

With so many variations and grades it is important to use best one for the current condition of the car in regards to the amount of swirls, severity of scratches and amount of oxidation.

Using too light a compound may remove swirls but have little effect on scratches. Correspondingly using too aggressive a cutting compound could result in damage to your paintwork.

Therefore this post will aim to give you the information to make the best choice by splitting the best swirl and scratch removers into three sections.

You will then need to assess the vehicle to make an informed decision on the current state and which grade is required.

By grades we mean:

  1. Light Swirl Removers/ Finisher polishes
  2. Medium Swirl Removers/ Medium Polishes
  3. Cutting Compounds/ Aggressive Polishes

We will start with the lightest and more through to the most aggressive.

Bonnet of car having best swirl and scratch remover applied polish applied

Best Swirl and Scratch Remover by Grades

Light Swirl Removers

These are the gentlest of the swirl removers suitable for vehicles with the lightest of swirls and no scratches that are deeper than the clear coat.

Best Swirl and Scratch Remover being used on a blue car hood

Best Slight Swirl Remover Reviews

1. Meguiar's Cleaner Wax

Best Swirl and Scratch Remover

First up in the best slight swirl remover section is Meguiar's Cleaner Wax. A real classic that often out performs many more expensive counterparts.

Meguiars Swirl Remover is described as a "One stop liquid wax that cleans and protects". This about sums it it up as it really does clean up the paint work, but in the gentlest way.

Describing it in as a "Cleaner" rather than an abrasive polisher is accurate. It is abrasive enough to remove the very fine swirls but nothing more. Any scratches below the the clear coat will not be improved.

A Rich Conditioner

It is described as containing rich conditioner oils that polish the surface. Again this emphasises that it makes the paint corrections gently. The mention of conditioner oils could suggest correction is done with chemicals rather than abrasive substances.

We must also comment on its great value as you get a quality product at a reasonable price to lightly and safely correct and project you cars bodywork.

This would be the ideal choice for a first attempt on a car just needing oxidation removing.

What's to like about the ProductName

This product gives great value based on it bottle size and quality of finish. It is easy to apply and does three jobs in one. Corrects, shines and protects in one application, saving hours of time.

What's not to like about the ProductName

With this being such a gentle paint corrector it can hardly be classed as a paint corrector and it title "Cleaner" wax is a better description. Do not expect it to correct anything more than the slightest of scratches.


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    Good Value
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    Gentle on paintwork
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    Removes traffic contaminants
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    Easy to use


  • Can only correct slightest of swirls

2. 3M One Step Cleaner Wax

9 Best Swirl and Scratch Remover bottle or 3M One Step Cleaner Wax

Here we have the 3M cleaner wax. Named again as "Cleaner wax" like our last featured product, which is a correct label for these fine swirl removers. But this product goes a step further in claiming to remove scratches as well as fine swirls.

The ease of application is a well noted feature along with good durability. Built-in cleaning agents help to remove oxidation and paint contamination to improve the shine.

Corrects, cleans and protects

This like our previous product saves time by way of depositing tough layer of protection that compliments the paints gloss shine.

Just one application gives your vehicles bodywork fine scratch correction, deep shine and long lasting protection.

What's to like about 3M One Step Cleaner

This fine swirl and scratch remover is effective and safe on all types of paint finish. Its is gentle in that it uses an oxidation remover rather than abrasive components. And it saves time by doing three jobs in one.

What's not to like about 3M One Step Cleaner

Tends to not work so well on cars with a good clear coat and gives better results on a direct paint layer. Doesn't appear to work as well on modern cars but gives great results on single paint coat older cars..


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    Saves time by doing three jobs in one 
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    Remove slight scratches and swirls
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    Cleans and glosses paint
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    Easy to apply and effective protection


  • Needs to be applied to paint not clear coat for best results

3. Sonax Perfect Finish

Best Swirl and Scratch Remover Sonax Cleaner Wax bottle

The final product in our slight swirl and scratch remover in the Sonax Cleaner Wax. This 2 in 1 cleaner is specifically designed to revive weather damaged paintwork.

Its gentle correcting agents will work well on your weather beaten panels at the end of a harsh winter.

Its very fine abrasive agents allow for smooth application and buffing by utilising Hybrid Polymer Net Technology. This creates a bonded protective layer, effectively correcting your paint work defects and sealing it with a protective coating.

What's to like about the ProductName

 We like its very easy application and the hard protective layer.

Good correction of small swirls by use of its Hybrid Polymer Net Technology.

What's not to like about the ProductName

It can dry quite fast and then become difficult to remove. It is advised not to be used in direct sunlight for this reason.


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    Very easy to apply
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    Hybrid Polymer Net Technology


  • Fast Drying in Direct Sunlight

Best Medium Swirl Removers/Medium Polishes

These polishes are designed to correct more significant swirls and scratches

Sonax Perfect Finish

Best Swirl And Scratch Remover bottle of Sonax Perfect Finish

The first place in the Medium Swirl Remover section is held by Sonax Perfect Finish, This advanced product uses Diminishing Abrasive Technology to correct the paint surface.

The Diminishing Abrasive Technology (DAT) concept is not as complicated as it sounds. It simply means a diminishing abrasive will breakdown over time and slowly become less abrasive but still have a compounding effect.

Therefore, you must work the compound down until all the abrasiveness is fully broken down.

Diminishing Abrasive Technology needs extra buffing

If you buff it for just a few seconds there will still be some very strong abrasive left on the paint which could cause damage as you wipe it away. Ending up with more swirls than you intended to remove!

With a little extra work involved you maybe thinking is it worth it? Well from the results seen have heard and seen it is much more than worth it.

Any complaints seem to be from users who have not buffed enough on the first stage with many people stating this is the best polish they have ever used.

What's to like about the ProductName

Superb finish on all types of paint. Clear coat or direct paint the results shine through.Good abrasive qualities mean it will take out scratches as well as swirls. Easily removes defects of P2000 or finer. 

What's not to like about the ProductName

Can take a little longer with the diminishing abrasive technology to work out properly. Bottle is smaller than other polishes in this division.


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    Diminishing Abrasive Technology
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    Superb finish any surface
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    Removes scratches and swirls
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    Silicon Free Polishing


  • Can take a little longer to buff
  • Smaller bottle than others

Chemical Guys VSS Scratch and Swirl Remover

Bottle of Best Swirl and Scratch Remover from Chemical Guys

Moving on to our next Medium Swirl and scratch remover we have the Chemical Guys product which goes the extra mile on the branding to show actual swirls and scratches on the bottle!

The one stop polish again utilises diminishing abrasive technology to correct your paintwork and provide the finest level of optical clarity.

Innovative abrasives

The innovative abrasives cut fast to quickly remove swirls and oxidation. Then as the particles diminish they polish out to give the real shine you desire

This revolutionary product can be applied by hand, dual action of rotary polishers. VSS swirl and scratch remover will for sure give you the results you desire on moderate scratched and swirled bodywork.

What's to like about the ProductName

Perfect one stop polish that compounds and finishes in one step. 

Specifically designed to deal with medium scratches and swirls this unique product can save hours.

What's not to like about the ProductName

Can struggle with some deeper scratches but we have to remember that it is designed for medium scratches not deep through the clear coat type.


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    Saves time by correcting and sealing
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    Uses Diminishing Abrasive Technology
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    Wax and silicone free


  • Reported to struggle with deep scratches.


Bottle of Meguiars Mirror Glaze to Show it is one of the best swirl and scratch remover

Meguiar's Mirror Glaze is that last in our Medium Swirl Remover class, but it is the first choice if you want a deep, wet look show car glaze on your car.

Its contains grade 7 abrasives that dissolve those annoying swirls and bring out the true shine of you paint. It has even been used to restore the shine on grand pianos!

It is important to note that this product is designed to shine and not protect. So a coat of wax will be needed after polishing.

Polish then wax

This is the accented norm with auto detailing. But with the majority of products previously mentioned in this post being "All in one" solutions we thought it best to mention that here we are talking about a traditional polish only solution.

Maybe this is why it produces such a superb shine, as there are just shine alone components in there!

It is equally effective on all glossy paint including clear coats.and it does not dry out to a white haze.

Interestingly in the ingredients list we can see that clay is included! The actual specifics are with held but it could be why this creates such a deep shine.

What's to like about Meguiar's Mirror Glaze

Depending on you paint color you are almost certainly guaranteed to get a deep wet look shine on your car by using this polish. The clay is an interesting ingredient and we think a unique advantage over similar products.

What's not to like about Meguiar's Mirror Glaze

Needs to be applied evenly, so not as easy to use as other products. Not all in one product needs wax coat to protect.


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    Deep Wet Look Shine 
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    Clay polish additive
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    Safe on all paints


  • Needs a coat of wax after as per traditional detailing

Cutting Compounds and Aggressive Polishes

These are for cars with severe swirls, deep scratches and heavy oxidation.

Chemical Guys Optical Grade Hybrid Compound

Bottle of best swirl and scratch remover from Chemical Guys

Formulated with no silicone or fillers this powerful cutting compound takes care of 1500-2000 grit sand scratches with ease.

This ultra-refined compound is designed for DA and rotary polishers. It is engineered to remove heavy paint damage and leave the surface ready for the final polishing stage.

Made for heavy polishing

This compound will remove heavy scratches, swirls and oxidation that conventional polishes find difficult to shift.

The latest developments in paint technology have given us the best looking shines around and now this compound will bring every cars paint work back to its original glory.

Choose this brilliant product if your car needs a serious make over. It is ideal for cars bought cheaply and need to look the best for resale.

What's to like about Chemical Guys Optical Grade Hybrid Compound

It rejuvenates even the dullest paintwork. Effortlessly removes swirls and scratches.

What's not to like about Chemical Guys Optical Grade Hybrid Compound

Can produce a lot of dust when buffing off. Which can be annoying if used on a black car.


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    Restores even the worse damaged paint
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    Effortless removal of scratches and swirls.


  • Can be dusty when buffing off, especially with a rotary polisher

Meguiar's Ultra Cut Compound

Best Swirl and Scratch Remover Meguiars Mirror Compound

Meguiar's Ultra-cut Compound is a fast acting product. Its super micro abrasives leave the best finishes.

It removes acid rain defects, severe swirls and holograms to leave perfect deep shine ready for waxing,

It is designed to remove 1200 grit scratches or finer and it is safe to use on glossy paint as well as clear coat.

This doesn't have to be applied by a machine polisher as hand application is just as effective. Working a one or two foot square at a time, using a circular action with four or five passes over is what is needed for the maximum effect.

Then just wipe off the residue before it dries to leave an unbeatable shine!

What's to like about Mequiar's Ultra Cut Compound

This super in class product can be as easily applied by hand, rotary or DA polisher. It is easy to use for amateur as well as professional detailing

What's to like about Mequiar's Ultra Cut Compound

Can become difficult to remove if allowed to dry, as it is recommended to be buffed off before fully dry.


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    Superb Cutting compound
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    Prepares any type of surface
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    Easy to use by hand or machine
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    Removes 1200 grit scratches and swirls with ease.


  • Can be difficult to remove if allowed to dry
  • Sometimes dusty when removing


Best Swirl and Screatch Remover by Wolfgang in the well designed labelled bottle

Boasting a unique blend of micro and diminishing abrasives the Wolfgang Uber Compound effortlessly remove heavy swirls, oxidation, water spots and bird droppings.

It is the most aggressive polishing compound in the Wolfgang range. Designed to prepare body work to a show standard with minimal effort.

Wolfgang's combination of abrasives eliminates imperfections and polishes to a high gloss shine.

Aggresive action

Like most aggressive cutting compounds this is best applied in one foot squares as you work around the car. If your using a rotary polisher set it to 1200-1500 RPM.

Once the vehicle is completed for best results go over again with a less aggressive foam finishing pad and a glaze product.

What's to like about Wolfgang Concours Uber Compound?

Good, fast compound breakdown when applying. Aggressive enough to deal with any swirls or scratches. And it easy to remove. Top Quality finish ready to wax.

What's not to like about Wolfgang Concours Uber Compound?

Slightly on the expensive side, but you do get what you pay for. Sixteen ounce bottle seems to be needed for most cars


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    Quick breakdown abrasive
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    Unique blend or micro and diminishing abrasives.
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    Easy application and removal


  • Slightly expensive for size of bottle
  • Needs 16 ounce for most cars


Q. How do I remove oxidation from the paint surface?

A. If it just appears to be oxidation then a cleaner wax maybe sufficient and worth trying first. But if any swirls are present then its worth plumbing for a medium polish.

Q. What is the best method to apply polish?

A. It depends if time is a factor? I you are short on time then an electric buffer is best, but they lack the control of hand polishing. If time is not important then great pleasure and brilliant results can be obtained by hand application.

Q. How should I wash the car before applying the polish?

A. Not washing the car properly can result in adding more swirls and scratches to the paint work. Every effort should be made to minimise human contact in the washing and drying process. Do this by using a pressure washer and snow foam to wash initially, the two bucket method to further clean and finally dry ideally with a car and electric car dryer.


Now you are more informed of the  different types of polish can you understand how important it is to make the correct choice?

Imagine wasting 2 hours using a "Cleaner Wax" on a heavily scratched car and seeing no results!

Or wasting dollars on an expensive "Cutting Compound Polish" when all was needed was a Cleaner Wax!

The polishing stage is probably the most important stage to master in the quest to know How to wax your car

Does it require a cleaner wax? 

A medium polish or a real cutting compound?

The only way to know is to perform a detailed inspection at the start.

Do you initial inspection before washing, then repeat after washing.

Try to make the inspection in many different lights. Or use an ultra violet inspection light.

 And ask your self the following question:.

  • What is the biggest need for attention, oxidation, swirls or scratches?

The answer will tell you which sector of the above mentioned polishes you need to be searching through.

Car hood showing signs of paint peeling and heavy oxidation

If the bodywork looks like the example above then its more of a case for the body shop!

Equipped with the knowledge you now have estimating which type of polish you need will make the whole detailing process more effective

You will be more aware of what the best scenario outcome will be and your detailing results will certainly show benefits from choosing the Best Swirl and Scratch Remover