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

Swirl marks are a common issue for car owners and professional detailers. Professional detailers know what to do with them, thanks to experience and talent! These tiny dings can degrade the paint of your car. Well, it may not be that noticeable at first, but you’ll be amazed by how much swirl marks alter your car’s appearance when it’s in direct sunlight.

Untrained eyes may find it difficult to see swirl marks. Without a light source reflecting the defects, most swirl marks might not be sufficiently noticeable. Swirl markings are also much easier to see on flat surfaces like a car’s roof, hood, or boot than on curved or angular ones. Additionally, compared to lighter-coloured automobiles, swirl marks seem to appear “like magic” on darker-coloured cars, as any detailer will confirm. This is why it can be challenging for new detailers to work on a black automobile.

What Causes These Swirl Marks?


Swirl marks, which are essentially tiny abrasions in the clear coat of the car, can occur for several reasons. And the main reason they show up is because of inadequate detailing methods, including dry wiping, using soiled towels or rags, and utilising harsh, scouring pads, sponges, or brushes! The primary causes of the Swirl Marks are as follows:

  • Harsh towels and application cloth: Using towels that aren’t acceptable, including those composed of denim, linen, or scratchy cotton.
  • Use of filthy things– Wash mitts, towels, and sponges that are covered in impurities and even sand
  • Using the wrong polishing pad: This method can lead to more damage than good results. Clogged pads can do more harm than good.
  • Using brushes with stiff bristles: Toilet scrubbers and brushes made of coconut husks are examples of brushes with very stiff bristles. As opposed to soft brushes made especially for details,
  • Automatic Car Washes: In conveyor/tunnel-style car washes, the spinning bristles are hardly ever cleaned or changed. As a result of continuously hitting your car, each bristle (or squeegee) holds a mother-load of dirt, pollutants, sand, and more. Yikes!

Swirl Marks On Your Car: How To Recognize Them!


Contrary to popular belief, swirl markings are not invariably round. Due to the light reflecting off of the scratches, they appear circular and like a Van Gogh painting. You could agree that a splotchy paint job isn’t a work of art, though.

Use a torchlight or LED lights to beam a bright light on the surface. Getting some sun is also beneficial. Focus your attention on the paint. If it resembles a lovely round sun, congratulations—you have a flawless painting!

The Swirls are when you start to see holograms, reflections that resemble the milky way, or paintings by Vincent van Gogh in progress.

Swirl marks are frequently thought to be only “circular,” although this is a common misconception. Although they often appear in circles, they can also be seen in horizontal and vertical planes.

The point is that these swirls may be seen at pretty much any angle by reflecting back to your eyes in the light or angle reflecting them.

And while rigorous polishing with either a) a wool pad or b) a foam pad causes circular scratches in the paint, the remainder of the scratches are generated by the minute dirt embedded in your microfiber cloth.

Swirl Marks’ Effects And The Damage They Cause!

Swirl markings are tiny pits and scratches on the clear coat or larger ones. The pits and marks enlarge and deepen over time. This lessens the surface’s clarity and reflection (or gloss). The pitting caused by swirl marks, which result in uneven surfaces, is visible in the photographs below. If it isn’t stopped, it will advance and penetrate the paint or base coat, finally forming oxidation and watermarks.


How To Prevent Swirl Marks?

Using a Pressure Jet on Contaminants to Prevent Swirl Marks

Remove the larger pollutants first! Everything is dirty: tar, bug guts, bird droppings. To effectively remove the contamination without scrubbing, use a pressure jet. Before beginning to wash the paint with a sponge and soap, this will get rid of the majority of pollutants from its surface.

Make use of pH-neutral car shampoo

Additionally, always wash with a designated washing sponge and pH-neutral shampoo. Use our Motor Headz Hypersud Foam Wash Car Shampoo to thoroughly clean your car. It is designed for surfaces that are coated and uncoated. Our unique surfactant mixture cleans well, offers enough lubrication to remove dirt, and keeps the car clean for a longer time.

Ceramic coat the car

The best way to prevent swirl marks would be to treat the car with a ceramic coating. Your vehicle is shielded from damaging elements wherever you go with Motor Headz 10H Ceramic Coating. 10H ceramic coating provides durable and long-lasting protection for your vehicle. It protects against rain, sun, salt, bird droppings, and debris for over 12 months. One bottle of Nano coating could even cover your bike twice.


Removing Already Existing Swirl Marks

Even if there is already damage, do not panic. Using wax, you can easily remove those swirl markings on the clear coat.

Any swirl marks that have developed on the car’s clear coat can be removed by waxing. With Motor Headz Car Scratch Remover, you can easily remove those swirl marks. This Rubbing Compound is the perfect fix for scratches or other blemishes on painted surfaces. It works quickly and efficiently to restore your car’s shine and leaves it with a clean and polished finish.



  • Does wax remove swirl marks?

It’s true that some car waxes—typically paste car wax—can get rid of swirl markings. Not all car waxes can get rid of them, but our paste wax can in just a few minutes.

  • How to buff off swirl marks?

For best results, apply the product and move your hand with a bit of pressure in a clockwise direction to see the results. One should take a tiny amount of product and apply it. 

  • Should you remove scratches and swirl marks before coating your vehicle?

Yes, definitely. We highly recommend removing those scratches and swirl marks before Coating. Ceramic Coating will highlight the imperfections. So, remove them before applying the Coating.

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