Monsoon Sale is Live! Use coupon MONSOON to get a 15% Discount


What Causes Swirl Marks On Car And How To Remove It?

Do You Know What Those Marks Are On Your Car?

Swirl marks are exactly what we’re talking about, right?

What exactly are these “swirl marks”? Who or what is responsible for the swirl markings on the car, and how can we get rid of them?

Swirl markings are a common source of frustration for both experienced detailers and vehicle owners. Professional detailers have the skills and ability to know exactly what to do with them and how to care for them. Light a FIRE under them! We’re kidding!

Scratches of an extremely fine nature found on the surface of your vehicle are known as swirl marks. More information will be provided in a moment.

Well, how does it happen? Even though the weather and the elements, including rain and snow, can cause some damage, the vast majority of swirls occur when the vehicle is being washed. There are microparticles in a dirty mitt, a dropped cloth, and automatic carwashes with enormous squeegees. These microparticles generate micro-marrings that build up over time. This causes the clear coat to haze over time, which lowers the shine, clarity, and overall aesthetics of the vehicle!

Are you able to make a guess as to what the primary causes of swirl marks are?


A side-by-side examination of swirl markings (on the right) and a surface that has been rectified (left)

A side-by-side examination of swirl markings (on the right) and a surface that has been rectified (left)

Swirl marks are sometimes difficult for the untrained eye to see. In the absence of a light source that reflects the defects, the majority of swirl marks might not be visible enough. Marks that look like swirls are also more simpler to spot on flat surfaces, such as the roof, the hood, or the trunk of the automobile, as opposed to curved surfaces and the sides. And as any detailer will tell you, swirl marks have a tendency to appear “like magic” on darker-coloured automobiles, in contrast to lighter-coloured automobiles, when they are not properly maintained! Because of this, working on a black car can be particularly challenging for inexperienced detailers.

What is a Swirl Mark, Exactly?

Oops, spoke too soon

Swirl marks are essentially microscopic abrasions that appear in the clear coat of a vehicle and can be caused by a variety of factors. The primary reason for the swirl marks?

  1. The improper use of the washing process
  2. When washing, one should use a firm sponge.
  3. drying using the incorrect sort of cloth, or
  4. The use of dry rags without water washing

When you perform any of the aforementioned things to your vehicle, what you are essentially doing is grinding dirt and grit directly into the surface of the vehicle. Even though the mud and bird excrement have been removed towards the end of the process, you have just left swirl marks all over your clear coat.

Before you start scrubbing away at the tree sap that’s stuck to your automobile, make sure the larger impurities have been removed first. You should always remove the larger particles before you start washing your vehicle.

The Reasons Behind Swirl Marks

As was just discussed, swirl marks can be caused by a wide variety of different factors. The environment, the car wash in your neighbourhood, a metal brush, the leaves and branches of nearby trees all brushing up against the surface, and more!


Who could say no to a carwash when faced with faces like these young men’s?

On the other hand, the most significant cause of swirl marks is… you guessed it! when your car is washed in the most inefficient manner possible!

But do you have any idea when that will take place?

For a beginner, swirl marks are their best friend. And the majority of the time, they are the result of improper detailing practises, such as dry wiping, using dirty towels or rags as cloths, utilising scouring pads, sponges, or brushes, and the like.

The following are the top nine particular causes of swirl marks: Now let’s count up how many of those you got right!

  • Towels that are rough and an application cloth

using towels made of improper materials, such as denim, linen, or scratchy cotton, for example

  • Dry wiping

Utilizing only a dry towel and avoiding the use of any lubricants (soaps, enhancers or quick details)

  • Contaminated Channels!

utilising soiled wash mitts, towels, or sponges that are contaminated with various particles, including sand

  • Unsuitable polishing pad and application method

If you apply too much product or your pads get clogged up, you could end up doing more damage than corrections!

  • Tools that have bristles of an exceptionally high density

The likes of brooms, toilet scrubbers, and coconut-husked brushes are overly abrasive and difficult to use. In contrast to the gentle brushes that are purposefully created for details,

  • Automatic Car Washes are available.

It is quite rare for car washes of the conveyor or tunnel variety to have their spinning bristles cleaned or replaced. Does this suggest that each brush (or squeegee) contains an enormous amount of dirt, pollutants, or sand? in addition to continually striking your vehicle. Yikes!

You will receive five points for every correct answer you provide. How much did you end up getting?

Congratulations, you are an expert detailer if you achieved more than 40 points on this quiz!

You’re probably here because you obtained a score of 15 or lower, is that right? We never stop expanding our knowledge! And here are some additional nuggets that will help you spot it!

How to Recognize Swirl Marks on Your Vehicle

Contrary to popular belief, swirl markings are not necessarily depicted in a circular form. The reflection of light on the scratches gives them an almost Van Gogh-esque appearance, giving them the appearance of being spherical. (Perhaps he was suffering from a severe attack of the swirls!)

Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting

Can you spot the parallels?

However, a paint job that has a lot of swirls in it is hardly an example of good art! At the very least, we don’t believe that…

Swirl mark holograms (left) and without (right)

Shine a strong light (a torchlight or LED lights would work) onto the surface you are inspecting. Being outside in the sun also makes a difference. Take a more in-depth look at the paint, please.

If, on the other hand, it resembles a nice round sun, then you can consider the paint job a success.

You’ve got the Swirls if you start to see holograms, reflections that appear like the milky way, or a Van Gogh painting in the making!

It is a common misconception that swirl markings are simply “circular,” however this is an ancient wives’ tale. Although they most frequently manifest as circles, they are also capable of taking on both horizontal and vertical forms.


The issue is, you can see these swirls from pretty much any angle because they reflect back to your eyes in the light or angle that is reflecting them.

And while aggressive polishing with either a wool or foam pad is responsible for the circular scratches that are inflicted on paint, the remainder of the scratches are caused by the tiny debris that is embedded in your microfiber cloth (that you might have, at some point, dropped without realizing). Does that sound familiar to you?

But don’t worry, we’ve got you!

Keep your car’s paint from becoming drab by avoiding swirl marks.

Treatment is not as effective as prevention. Therefore, Danny suggests several changes you may make to your routine for caring for your car in order to prevent swirl marks.

1:Use Pressure Jet on Contaminants

Always start by removing the larger pollutants! Everything from bird poop to asphalt to the guts of insects. It is recommended to make use of a pressure jet in order to effectively eliminate the pollutant without having to scrub it. Before you begin cleaning the paint with a sponge and soap, this will get rid of the majority of the pollutants that are on the surface of the paint.

2:Use a Car Shampoo That Is pH Neutral

In addition, you should always wash your hair using pH-neutral shampoo and a special sponge. Watermelon Foam Wash, manufactured by Motor Headz, is an effective shampoo that has zero volatile organic compounds and is designed specifically for cleaning vehicles. It is designed to work on coated as well as uncoated surfaces. Our one-of-a-kind combination of surfactants not only cleans thoroughly but also supplies adequate lubrication for the removal of dirt and helps the vehicle’s cleanliness last for a greater amount of time.

3:Cover the vehicle in ceramic.

A ceramic coating applied to the vehicle would, of course, be the most effective way to prevent swirl marks from appearing. With Motor Headz 10H ceramic coating, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is protected from damaging environmental elements no matter where you go. With a coating composition that contains 100% active ingredients, it produces a thick layer of protection that, in addition to offering unrivalled protection and smoothness that lasts 12 times longer than waxes, emits a rich and natural shine that is reminiscent of bespoke wax. The end effect is a radiance that is breathtaking and jaw-dropping for up to four years.

The Impact of Swirl Marks, as well as the Harm They Cause!

Swirl marks are pits and scratches on the clearcoat that range in size from microscopic to bigger (or coating).

The craters and markings become noticeably deeper and wider as time passes. This causes a decrease in the surface’s clarity as well as its reflection (or gloss). The photographs that follow demonstrate the pitting that is caused by swirl marks, which results in uneven surface areas. If it is not addressed, it will get more severe, eventually penetrating the paint or base coat, and resulting in the formation of oxidation and water stains.


Swirl markings are indicators of deterioration to the clear coat.

Should I Ignore the Swirl Marks, and at What Point Should I Get It Fixed?

It is totally common for light swirls, scratches, and etches to appear on the body of your vehicle as a result of routine use over time. Swirls that are only modest won’t do much damage and can be quickly rectified with the right tools and solutions. Swirls are considered typical wear and tear.

When do you think you should get it fixed?

Here are some of the top warning indications that your appointment with the detailer in your area has to be rescheduled:

  1. When people start referring to your black car as “the grey car,” it’s time to get a new moniker.
  2. You don’t see your reflection (And you’re not a Vampire)
  3. You have just emerged from a sandstorm. Congratulations!
  4. The exterior of your vehicle has the texture of sandpaper.

We’re kidding! However, you should never let your vehicle approach any of the four scenarios described above. Please, we beseech you..

Here’s what we recommend: Get it checked out by a trained specialist as soon as you possibly can; they will determine the extent of the damage, how they may repair it, and how it can be safeguarded against further harm.

For Help Removing Swirl Marks, Consult A Professional Detailer.

Through the process of paint correction, swirl marks and other flaws on the clear coat can frequently be corrected and eliminated.

The paintwork on your vehicle can be restored and rejuvenated through paint correction, which involves removing any defects that could potentially harm or dull the finish. It calls for expert tools and polishing compounds, both of which are standard equipment in the toolkits of most professional detailers.

However, doing too much paint correction might eat away at the clear coat, which will result in the clear coat being thinner.

Ceramic coating is what we propose for protecting the original paint and preventing harm to the clear coat at the same time. This not only serves the function of a sacrificial layer, but it also helps protect against damage and makes maintenance much simpler. Because there is such a wide variety of coatings available on the market, you should choose the one that best meets your preferences and specifications. 

Avoiding the Formation of Swirl Marks

The unfortunate reality is that every person who owns a car will, at some point in their lives, be subjected to the experience of swirl marks.

Having a decent wash method, on the other hand, is surely going to help you cut down on them. One or more high-quality microfibre cloths (note the plural here!) and some liquid soap are all that are required. There is a requirement for specific types of rags to be used in the various locations, as well as for washing and drying.

A helpful hint is that you shouldn’t use the same cloth to clean the top and bottom of the car. The bottom of the car has a higher concentration of particles, sand, and other pollutants, which can lead to an increased number of swirls. It is easier to loosen and remove with water if you use a pre-wash beforehand.

Also, be sure to use a high-quality wash that serves as an excellent lubricant and can remove grime without leaving behind microscopic marrings. If you haven’t already, give our foam wash a try. It’s our pH-neutral exterior wash that’s safe, low-sudsing, and high-lubricating all at the same time.

To avoid getting anything contaminated twice, you should always utilise a two-bucket wash. Also, in order to lessen the likelihood of leaving unsightly swirl marks, you should avoid using soiled cloths (especially if they fall onto the road).

So, that wraps things up! everything you need to know, and then some, about swirl markings Enjoy what you’ve read so far? Leave a comment below and tell us some of the things that are bothering you; we might just write a story on it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free all India shipping

On all orders above ₹500

Easy 7 days returns

7 days money back guarantee

100% Secure Checkout

PayPal / MasterCard / Visa