Paint scratches vary in depth from scratching off clear coats to cutting through to metal – below the clear coat surface. If you are unable to catch the scratch with a fingernail then it’s just a minor scratch or swirl. You can easily remove it by using a polishing compound.
However, if the scratch is getting caught with your fingernails then several scratch removal products exist in the market to handle these. These products differ from polishing compounds in that they are tailored for repair of localized scratches and finish blemishes. On the other hand, use rubbing and polishing compounds if you want to deal with oxidation, dull finish and swirl marks.
Removing scratches using toothpaste
Using Toothpaste to remove shallow surface scratches may or may not work. Toothpaste works as effectively as a 3000-grit sandpaper. Use this method only if you do not have the necessary tools.
Wash the area with soap and water. After drying, take a lightly wet microfiber towel. Put a dime-sized dollop of toothpaste on the towel. Rub the toothpaste in a circular motion over the scratched parts and apply it evenly. If the scratch is still visible after rinsing, repeat the process.
Using scratch and swirl remover
Scratch and swirl removers are used to remove tiny scratches or blemishes from the surface paint. Light swirl marks are usually created by automatic car washes, fingernails, grocery bags, etc.
Wash and dry your car. Then apply the swirl remover product with a soft microfiber cloth. Apply firm pressure and rub in linear strokes for about a couple of minutes.
For a minor local scratch, mark it with masking tape running along the length of the scratch. Place the tape about one inch away from the scratch on both sides. Wrap the microfiber towel around your first two fingers and rub the product along the direction of the scratch. Repeat until the scratch is no longer visible.
For scratches that are bigger in size, use a dual action polisher. If the scratch is still visible using a heavier grit and more aggressive rubbing compound will lead to a better result. Deeper scratches reaching the metal base will need to be filled with a touch up paint and clear coat resin.
If an area is buffed with polishing or rubbing compounds, it also removes the wax layer. Therefore, you will need to reapply it.