How to Choose Between the Polishing Vs Rubbing Compound?

5/5 - (1 vote)

Scratches and swirls on cars are unavoidable. No matter how careful you are, scratches make their way to the cars somehow. Whether you are washing a car with just water or wiping a car with a cloth, one wrong move and you end up with nasty-looking swirls on the exterior of your car. But what is more difficult is to choose between the polishing compound and the rubbing compound, to get rid of such scratches.

What do you use when you get a scratch on your vehicle? Whether you be careful or not, this is something you must have gone through at least once in your life. The polishing and the rubbing compounds with their similar results have confused many people around the world leading them to wrong decisions.

Polishing Vs Rubbing Compounds? Which One Should be Used to Revamp the Car’s Paint?

Polishing compounds and rubbing compounds are both used to correct defects and swirls in car paint but they differ in terms of working. Both can be used to revamp the car paint but in different conditions which are as follows:

  • If you have got a large or a deep scratch on your vehicle, be it a car or a motorbike then rubbing compound is the best option as it removes impaired paint layers and smooths it out to wipe out scratches.
  • Polishing compounds on the other hand act like fine grit sandpaper and are effective for light swirls and scratches. In case you have got a light scratch on your car then this is the perfect option as it lessens the scratch appearance and wipes out contaminants that are left on the surface of the vehicle to restore its smooth surface.
  • For fine results, it is recommended to use a rubbing compound on your vehicle followed by the polishing compound to get rid of all the scratches in turn getting a smooth shiny surface like a glass in the end.

Is There Any Other Thing Besides the Polishing and Rubbing Compound That Can Be Used to Eliminate Scratches?

Yes, there are many other things that one could use to eliminate scratches from their vehicles but out of all the other things, the most commonly used thing is wax. It is a protective coating that fills the scratches and the marks on the surface of the car, making it less visible. Not only that, it protects the car’s paint from other environmental hazards including acid rain, tree sap, etc., and enhances its appearance by making it more sparkly and shiny. Wax, however, doesn’t work for a long time as it can be washed away easily.

The best way to restore your car’s paint and remove all the swirls and scratches is to use a rubbing compound followed by the polishing compound and wax. The rubbing compound and polishing compound would eliminate the scratches and give your car a shiny look while the wax would act as a protective layer for the upcoming future. The wax might be removed but polish would make sure that your car sparkles for a long time and looks like a new one.

Can the Scratches Of the Car Be Removed By Yourself Or Any Expert Required to Do the Job?

Maintaining the exterior of the car is a very delicate process that requires extra care and attention which not everyone can provide with. Hence, it is recommended to consult a car detailing expert every time you want to remove a scratch from your car. The professionals having all the tips and tricks up their sleeves will revamp your car just the way it was before. If you are searching for a professional in car detailing St George Utah might have just the right expert to meet your needs.

Don’t try to do it yourself unless you know the correct way to apply the polishing and the rubbing compound or you would mess it up more than it was before.

Which One Is The Best Rubbing Compound Out There?

Out of all the rubbing compounds out there, 3M rubbing compound is leading the industry with its remarkable scratch-removing features along with the removal of stains and surface marring, giving the cars their deserved shiny finish.

It can only be used by car detailers having adequate knowledge unless it is specified in the product that anyone can apply it by themselves. Misuse of the 3M product can result in severe health consequences leading to injury or sickness hence it is better to be careful and always consult a professional when using such a product.


Selecting between the polishing and the rubbing compound is a tough choice considering both are used to correct the vehicle’s surface blemishes. The only logical thing to do after getting a scratch is to consult a car detailing expert and let him decide the right choice for your car based on the severity of the scratch.

Moreover, the application of the rubbing compound followed by the polishing compound does wonder when it comes to sparkly and shiny outcomes.


What if there is no car detailer available at the time of need?

In case if there is no car detailer available when required then still it’s better to wait and get the work done in the right way rather than messing it up some more. Or, if you have any prior experience with car detailing and the scratch is not deep then you might give it a try, just be careful.

Which one is easier to use between the polishing and the rubbing compound?

Rubbing compound requires suitable techniques to apply which is not something that everyone knows of. Polishing compound however, is somewhat easier to use so incase you are to remove the scratches for yourself then make sure you use polishing compound.

Sharing Is Caring:
Suanne Klahorst

Hello, my name is Suanne Klahorst and I'm the writer and Editor on CarDetailingDIY. I love to write and tell people what they need to know about car detailing and make sure they get good information to do the detailing by themselves.