Learn How To Get Scratches Out Of Your Car For A Neat Look

Just a walk down the road and we’re sure that you’re going to see dirt, debris, swirl marks, scuffs, and water spots in almost every car. Is your car among them? Fortunately, most of these blemishes need just a wash and rinsing to disappear. But, there’s something that is so frustrating and ruins the total look of your car. Scratches! First on your phone, then on your plastic items and now this!

A sad man holding his head while observing the scratches on his car

Whether you own an old or a new car, scratches are irritating and need special treatment to get rid of them. Well, thankfully, there’s a way to do that! And it’s not only for fine scratches but also deeper ones. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to get scratches out of your car for a neat look.

Using toothpaste for surface scratches

Before starting repairing your car, you need to check how deep the scratches are. How can you do that? With your fingernail. Pass your fingernail over the scratch. If you catch on them, they are deep scratches, and you’ll need a professional car scratch remover. But, if you don’t catch on them, then they’re light scratches, and you can use toothpaste as an option to remove them.

Some white toothpaste on a toothbrush ready for cleaning

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the scratched area is clean and dry. If it’s dirty, then debris and dust will make scratches worse while rubbing. Thus, wash your car before applying the toothpaste. You can do it yourself, or you can take your vehicle to a car wash. If you choose to wash it yourself, then wet it all over to remove most of the dirt and debris and with a large sponge or car-washing brush, wash it using soap for cars. Apply the soap to all the car surface and rinse it very well. Finally, dry your car with a towel. Once you have cleaned and dried your car, you can proceed to remove scratches using toothpaste.

Needed supplies and tools
  • Toothpaste
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Water
  • Microfibre towel

Having all the tools and supplies on hand, you can follow the below steps:

  1. First, apply a small amount of the toothpaste (more or less depending on the scratch size) into a damp microfibre cloth or a clean toothbrush. The cloth you are going to use needs to be soft and clean. Otherwise, you may cause more damage.
  2. Using a circular motion, rub the toothpaste into the affected area. Push the cloth and move it in small circles to buff the scratches. Keep it up until the toothpaste is evenly applied.
  3. Once you finish, rinse the area to remove the toothpaste residue. Or else, you can wipe it with a wet microfibre cloth.
  4. After rinsing the car, dry it with a microfibre towel.

You may need to repeat the whole process. You can do it up to 2 more times.

Using sandpaper for surface scratches

There’s also another DIY scratch removal method you can apply for small scratches and scuffs. This method, like the toothpaste, works well on shallow scratches, plus it works as a polishing.

A piece of sandpaper ready for usage

You’re going to need:

  • Cordless drill
  • Polishing compound pad
  • 3000-grit sandpaper
  • Microfibre towel
  • Polishing compound
  • Rubbing compound

Now, it’s an easy process. You don’t have to do much. Just follow the two steps below:

  1. First, you need to wet the scratches and the sandpaper and start working lightly until the scratch is no longer visible. Afterwards, wipe the scratched area with a microfibre towel.
  2. Pour rubbing compound onto the pad and spread all over the surface. After that, run the polisher or the drill at 1,200rpm until you have a light layer of the polisher. Then, add the polishing compound to bring back the lost shine of the car’s paint clear coat.

Applying polishing compound with a cloth to a black car

Using scratch remover

In case there’s a deep scratch that has reached the base coat, the previous might not work. If that’s the case, you may need to use a scratch removal product to repair your car’s paint. You can purchase special scratch removal kits consisting of a scratch removal solution and a buffing pad. You can find these scratch repair kits at auto supply stores or large one-stop stores in the auto supply section.

The first step you need to follow is to wash your car and dry it focusing on the affected area. Next, you can use warm soapy water, rinse it and dry it with a clean, dry microfibre towel. Once you clean it, you need to gather the following supplies:

  • A scratch removal product
  • A buffing pad or a microfibre cloth
  • A clean, microfibre towel

A smiling man wiping his white car, afrter applying a scratch remover

Now, do as follows to remove the scratches from your car’s paint successfully.

  1.  Apply an amount of the scratch-removal product to the applicator pad or microfibre cloth, depending on the scratch size. Fold the cloth in half and start applying the product to the scratched area.
  2. Work the product not only into the scratch but also the surrounding areas. You can use either a circular or back and forth moves. Whatever motion you choose, don’t switch until you finish applying the product.
  3. As soon as you finish buffing the entire area and before the product dries on the car surface,  remove any excess product with a clean, microfibre towel.
  4. Check the car to ensure that scratches have gone. If they’re still visible, repeat the procedure 2 to 3 times. Don’t apply the product more than 3 times because you may damage your car’s clear coat.

Important: Read the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure about the right usage of the product. 

Fixing deeper scratches

Minor scratches are easy to be repaired. Unfortunately, deeper than the clear or base coat, into the primer or bare metal body might appear out of the sudden. The first thought that might occur is to take your car to a mechanic and let the professionals deal with the scratches.

But, before you start looking for paintwork specialists, give us a moment and let us share with you some information on how to fix these deep scratches yourself. Of course, prior to anything, wash your car and dry it not to scratch it even more with the dirt and debris accumulated on the surface.

Needed tools and materials

  • 2,000-grit Sandpaper
  • Sanding pad
  • Polishing pad
  • Automotive primer
  • Paint
  • Microfibre towel
  • Masking tape
  • Paper
  • Car wax

A woman choosing the best colour to paint her car

Steps to follow

  1. Start working on the area with wet/dry 2000-grit sandpaper wrapped on a sanding pad. Sand for about 10-15 seconds at a time. To prevent more scratches, you need to follow the directions of the existing scratch.
  2. After 10-15 seconds, rinse the area to check if you need to sand more. If the scratch is a bit deeper than the clear coat, first use 1500-grit sandpaper to level the surface and then a 2000-grit to get rid of the scratches completely.
  3. Once you finish drying and you’re sure that you have removed the scratches, rinse the area from the debris and dry with a microfibre towel.
  4. After rinsing and drying, mask the area with paper and masking tape to prevent the primer are paint from spreading to the surrounding.
  5. Get the automotive primer closest to your car’s paint in an aerosol can, and spray it onto the sanded area.  Use a back and forth motion for better application.
  6. Let the primer dry for 5-10 minutes, and then repeat 2 more times. You should end up having sprayed 3 primer layers.
  7. Then, spray the same colour paint as your car to the area where you applied the primer.
  8. Let the paint dry for 5-10 minutes, and apply one more paint layer.
  9. Once the paint has dried, apply car wax to seal it.  You can also use car wax to get scratches out of kitchen worktops. Apply a high-quality wax and buff the area with a pad or microfibre cloth using a circular motion. Continue with the wax until you remove all the polish.

A woman looking at her black scratched car while talking on her phone

Having said all this, we hope we’ll help you get these unwanted scratches out of your car. You don’t need much! A little toothpaste can work miracles on fine scratches. So don’t be afraid of using it. It won’t damage your car’s paint job, as long as you don’t apply too much pressure and follow the existing scratches’ directions. What’s more, even if your car has deeper scratches, you can get rid of them on your own.

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