Polishing and buffing out swirls, scratches and marks on your car’s surface can be a challenging task. With the right tools and compounds at your disposal, you’ll be able to buff out those problem spots with ease.

Polishing your car’s surface is usually one of the earlier steps in the detailing process, and can include using clay bars to remove contaminants from your paint or using cutting compounds to reduce oxidation, swirls, and scratches. We’ve covered some of our favorite products from this year to help you get the job done right the first time. Here are the 10 Best Car Polish & Rubbing Compounds of 2019.

10. Paint Cleaning Clay 8oz by Griot’s Garage

Preparing your car’s surface for polishing is essential, and the Paint Cleaning Clay by Griot’s Garage will work hard to remove tree sap, dead bugs, bird droppings, iron deposits, and other contaminants from your paint. This is a vital step before polishing so that you don’t further scratch the layer of paint on your car’s surface. Regular use of this paint cleaning clay will also help to prevent oxidation.

Before using any clay products, it is recommended to thoroughly wash your car. Then utilize the paint cleaning clay to remove any impurities, tree sap, tar, road salt, iron, and other contaminants and prepare your car’s surface for proper polishing. The surface of your car should be completely smooth after using this paint cleaning clay, making it ready for the next step, polishing.

9. Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound by Meguiar’s


This Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound by Meguiar’s is an ultra-fast compound that will cut your top layer to remove 1200 grit or finer sanding marks. This micro-abrasive compound is specially formulated to be able to be used by hand, rotary buffer, or dual action polisher with an appropriate soft foam applicator pad. This cutting compound is superior at removing defects, swirls, scratches, holograms, acid rain, and other defects from the surface of your car.

This product is an abrasive compound and great care should be used when applying this product. Before use, thoroughly wash and clay-bar your car’s surface in order to prepare it for polishing. Use as directed, and you’ll be left with an extremely smooth polished mirror-like gloss finish. Once you’ve finished polishing, wipe off any remaining residue with a quality microfiber towel before it fully dries. We recommend following up with a finishing polish before applying a sealant. 

8. Speed Clay 2.0 by Mothers


The Speed Clay 2.0 by Mothers will dig deep in order to bind to tree sap, dust, dirt, oil, bird droppings, oxidation, brake dust, road grime, water spots and overspray so it can be rinsed away easily. This will restore your original brilliant shine to your car’s paint. This will also work great on chrome, glass, and smooth plastics as well as any painted surface.

This long lasting product can be reused a number of times in order to do multiple cars in a fleet or the same car to keep it free of debris and contaminants all year round. The red surface shown is how you grip the product, and it is a sturdy sponge. The surface below is the actual clay. We recommend using a high quality lubricant of some type to make sure that the clay functions properly. The result will be an incredibly smooth surface free of defects.

7. Clay Bar & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit, Light/Medium Duty by Chemical Guys


Offered in your choice of light, medium, heavy, and original, the Clay Bar & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit by Chemical Guys provides your choice of light to heavy polishing compound. Wash your car thoroughly before applying the clay bar, and make sure to use plenty of the synthetic lubricant to let the bar rub smoothly across your car’s painted surface. This bar is incredibly easy to use and will give your car a smooth as glass feel by attaching and binding to contaminants, overspray, pollution and more, allowing them to be easily removed.

This clay bar and lubricant kit offers flex-clay technology and is effective on glass, plastic, paintwork and metal surfaces to work to get them ultra smooth. The clay bar is of adequate size and has been claimed to last longer than the lubricant itself. When storing the clay bar, make sure to store it in a secure, clean place as contaminants will bind to it and essentially ruin the clay bar. If you end up dropping the clay bar, it is recommended to discard it. It is possible to cut off the dirty parts of the clay and continue on, but if there are any contaminants left on the clay bar when you apply it to your painted surfaces, it may end up scratching the surfaces.

6. Premium Grade Rubbing Compound – 18 oz. by Turtle Wax


This Premium Rubbing Compound by Turtle Wax offers professional results when you need precision cutting power. This rubbing compound will make quick work of swirl marks, surface blemishes, scratches and sanding marks. This compound is safe for all car finishes and be applied with either a orbital polisher, rotary polisher, or by hand. This rubbing compound is silicone free and safe for use in autobody, paint shops, and by professional detailers.

This rubbing compound will restore the gloss to your car’s painted surface by cutting and taking out those blemishes, scrapes and swirls. This will restore the reflective gloss surface of your paint and will get you ready to seal or wax the surface. If applying by hand, it can be used with microfiber, cotton, or foam pads. This will take care of old oxidized paint and leave your car with a decent shine. 

5. Black Color Magic Car Polish by Turtle Wax


Polishing black cars can be tricky to bring out that deep, dark original black shine. The Jet Black Polish from Turtle Wax is advanced blend of dyes, pigments and polishes that will fill in swirls, scratches, and make your black car, truck, or SUV look as good as it was when it first drove off the lot. This polish will help restore and bring back old, faded, neglected finishes and make your car look great again.

This polish will cover up surface scratches and swirl marks. If the scratch is deep enough to feel with your fingernail, it may not be able to be filled in with this. This won’t magically fix chips, but for minor abrasions, paint swirls and scratches, it will take care of it with ease. This will bring out a nice, impressive shine on your black car though. 

4. Perfect-It Rubbing Compound by 3M


The Perfect-It Rubbing Compound by 3M is what many professionals in the detailing business use for restoring and breathing life back into an old paint job. This rubbing compound is an abrasive cutting paste that will let you grind down the surface layers of a dull or damaged paint so you can apply a new top coat. This rubbing compound is safe for fiberglass, gelcoats, paint and for compounding cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, and trucks. This special compound is formulated to remove defects and oxidation from automotive and marine surfaces quickly and easily.

This rubbing compound will prep your surface and get it ready for polishing. When polishing your vehicle, you would use this rubbing compound after sanding and before polishing. The sticky paste will stick to your pad, preventing runoff and excess compound from getting everywhere when you’re working on those troublesome spots on your paint.

3. California Gold Clay Bar System by Mothers


The California Gold Clay Bar System by Mothers includes 2 clay bars, a microfiber towel, and Mothers Instant Detailer. When washing and polishing fails to get out the contaminants from your paint, the clay bar will work its magic to dig out those pesky problems. For iron particles, environmental buildup, tree sap, embedded dirt, grime, and bugs, the clay bar will help you free those from your paint so they can be easily removed.

The instant detailer spray will help lubricate the clay bar for proper use to help you deal with incredible troublesome spots like stuck-on bird droppings, sap, dirt, and other embedded elements in your paint. Any excess instant detailer can be wiped clean with the included microfiber towel.

2. Clay Bar Kit by TriNova


When it comes down to removing contaminants from your car’s paint, a good Clay bar is vital. This Clay Bar Kit by TriNova includes two clay bars, a microfiber towel, and a Quick Detailer lubricant spray to help the clay bars slide across your car’s surface. This includes everything you need to get started to properly detailing your car. Start with a good car wash, then follow up with a good clay bar treatment before moving onto further polishing, sealing, and waxing.

This clay bar kit will work to take contaminants out of your paint’s surface, binding to dirt, oil, and anything else stuck in the scratches and marks on your car’s surface. These clay bars are to be considered medium clay bars, so be careful if you don’t have any experience with these as they can scratch your surfaces if used incorrectly. Be liberal with the lubricant spray and allow the clay bar to do the work. If you try to move too fast, you may accidentally scratch your paint unnecessarily. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be happy with how smooth your car’s surface is after claying it properly.

1. Ultimate Compound, 20 oz by Meguiar’s



Ultimate Compound by Meguiar’s is the best paint cleaner we found that utilizes an exclusive micro-abrasive compound to clean up and fix surface defects, water spots, scratches, oxidation, and even surface stains. Removing bonded contaminants like tree sap, gunk, road tar, overspray or anything else has never been easier. Even better, this ultimate compound won’t leave any fine scratches or haze behind. If your car has been abandoned, neglected or abused, this can remove paint defects from your paint job, recovering and restoring it.

Before use, make your car has been washed and dried properly. Using a foam applicator pad, apply a small amount and work it in with a little pressure in a circular pattern to work out the defects. Clean it off with a microfiber towel and you’re ready to move on to waxing, having removed all those pesky paint scratches, surface stains and other various blemishes.