How to Polish a Car Yourself

Want to restore your vehicle's dull, unattractive old paint job to near new? Car polish can help. Follow these steps and learn how to polish a car.

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Car polish is a mildly abrasive liquid product designed to enhance the smoothness and sheen of your vehicle's paint. Applied before waxing, it can transform a dull-looking older vehicle into a near-new looking vehicle with a glossy shine. You'll get the best results if you apply polish with a power polisher or random orbit sander with a polishing pad attachment. Learn the steps involved in polishing your vehicle properly.

Tools Required

  • Bucket
  • Car washing sponge
  • Long-handled hose with attached brush
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Orbital polisher or random orbit sander with polishing attachment

Materials Required

  • Bug stain remover
  • Car polish
  • Car washing soap or mild dish soap
  • Heavy-duty shop towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Wash the Car

  • Drizzle a generous amount of car soap into your bucket, then fill it with water.
  • Soak down the entire vehicle thoroughly with your hose-attached brush, knocking loose any large bits of dirt or debris.
  • Wet your sponge and make sure it’s full of soap, then rub it firmly over the vehicle body, one section at a time.
  • Rinse each section after washing so you don’t give the soap suds a chance to dry on the vehicle and leave marks.

Wash the CarRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Step 2

Remove Stubborn Bug Stains

  • Inspect the vehicle after washing for bug stains or other stubborn bits of dirt.
  • Spray these spots with bug stain remover, then use a heavy-duty shop towel to rub them until they disappear.
  • Use rubbing alcohol and another shop towel on tree gum or other spots the bug stain remover couldn’t handle.

Remove Stubborn Bug StainsRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman