How To Polish Your Car By Hand

October 25, 2021

Hand polishing your car is by far the best method of obtaining a gleaming finish. While no one can pretend that it’s not a labor-intensive process, it’s certainly something that the proud vehicle owner should consider to ensure long-lasting beautiful paintwork.

The following details the important steps you must follow to successfully polish a car by hand.

A Simple Guide to a Perfectly Polished Car

  • Polish car: gather your equipment
  • Polish car: the prep
  • Polish car: the process

Polish car: gather your equipment

It’s important to use the correct equipment, but it’s also crucial to understand exactly what the process achieves. In short, polishing a car is done to correct any imperfections in the paint. This can include swirl marks, tiny scratches, and whirls. 

This is achieved by using an abrasive substance—polish. This comes in different levels of abrasiveness (soft, medium, and hard) and should correspond to the hardness of the paint on the vehicle.

Top tip! Choosing the medium or top level of abrasive polish is only something an expert car detailer should do. For DIY hand polishing, you should always choose the least abrasive polish.

So now we’ve determined this, let’s look at the equipment you need to approach the task at hand.

  • The polishing compound
  • Many microfiber application cloths (you could also use foam ones if you prefer). These should be one use only as no amount of washing gets rid of every speck of residue.
  • Multiple microfiber buffing cloths

Polish car: the prep

Getting the car ready for polishing is a vital step. The paintwork must be squeaky clean. Rinse off any obvious dirt, shampoo with a chemical-free product, rinse, dry, clay bar the paintwork to remove microscopic contaminants, and finish off by buffing with a microfiber cloth. 

Polish car: the process

Once scrupulously clean, your vehicle is now ready to be polished. Be under no illusion—hand polishing is a long and laborious process (albeit well worth the effort).

The first step is to work the polishing compound into the paint. Don’t apply the polish to the paintwork directly, instead place a small amount onto your cloth or pad and massage it into the paintwork in small sections using a circular motion. Try to use your whole hand to apply gentle pressure, not just your fingertips. Continue this until only a thin coating remains on the area and then, using your buffing cloth, polish to a shine. 

Ensure that you don’t leave the polish to dry completely as this will then leave the paintwork dull, rather than achieving the gleaming finish you’re aiming for. This is why it’s important to only treat small sections of the paintwork at a time.

Once the whole car has been polished you can then apply wax, paint sealant, or both (yes, more hard work). However, after having gone to all the effort of polishing the car, this final step will add longevity to the wonderful luster you’ve achieved.

Ease the Polishing Process with PPF or Ceramic Coating

Hand polishing and waxing a car is certainly a labor of love. However, wax only provides a certain level of paint protection. By far the ultimate method of protecting a vehicle's outer coating is through the application of either paint protection film (PPF) or ceramic coating. The former is an outer coating of hydrophobic, self-healing invisible film and the latter utilizes nano-ceramic technology to adhere to the paint and provide a rock-hard external covering.

Both are best applied by a professional service and, if done correctly, offer years of protection. At Auto SuperShield, this is all we do. Our passionate team prides itself in the delivery of an exemplary service using the ultimate products. 

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