Five Causes of Swirl Marks on Your Car Paint

Five Causes of Swirl Marks on Your Car Paint

Swirl marks are the bane of car owners and car enthusiasts alike. They make even the best paint job ugly quick! Read on to find out what the normal cause for these swirl marks are. Also learn how to avoid them to give your car the best finish for as long as possible.

Dirty Cleaning Cloths

Surprisingly the number one cause of swirl marks on your car paint is dirty cleaning cloths. This includes filthy chamois, dirty terry cloth towels and cheap micro fiber fabrics. Often to save money people use old clothes or towels to clean their cars. This leads to swirl marks appearing on your car sometimes as soon as your dirty fabric touches the paint!

Remove this risk by cleaning your cloths before and after using them. Also you can use 100{ab662c498d58e1b7b34d33fa34ec831686a9fe77d0ca7e950f839577e113f39a} cotton towels that haven’t worn down too much. As for chamois towels try to use them by tapping them into wet areas instead of wiping the car with it.

Car Dusters

Car dusters have gone the way of the dinosaur. Old car dusters with feathers for cleaning your paint were very harsh on dark clear coat painted cars. However newer products that feature waxed cotton strands do a much better job.

However they still cause much damage because most people do not follow directions on applying zero pressure to them while they glide across the surface of the car. Another swirl causing habit is using dusters on cars which are too dirty. The effect is that the duster is met with particles way bigger than dust particles that get dragged along the surface.

Washing Improperly

Not enough people wash their cars properly. They often just dip their washing mitts on a pail of detergent and start scrubbing away. This habit destroys the paint and destroys it fast. The proper way to wash so avoid getting swirl marks is to hose down the car first with water to loosen large particles that may otherwise mar the surface when shampooing it.

After shampooing it is also best to hose it down again before drying it to make sure that the particles removed by the shampoo are taken away from the car. A film of water from a bucket is also a great way for the water to remove particles that were not removed from the first hose down.

Filthy Car Covers

Car covers meant to protect cars often are the cause of swirl marks. This is because car covers are seldom cleaned. Most are just tucked neatly with all sorts of mold and mildew growing on them. As soon as cars get under the covers they rubbed against the particles trapped on the car covers inside.

Without proper maintenance car covers will damage your paint more than it will protect it.

Improper Use of Strong Polishing Compounds

Polishing a car should be a rarely done activity. As polishing is an abrasive process it eats up precious clear coat that protects your cars paint. Because of the abundance of polishing compounds on the market most people think that they need to polish their cars as often as they wax it.

Polishing compounds with strong abrasives will eat up your paint fast if done more than twice a year. To be safe try to use it only once a year. A properly cleaned and waxed car will not need to be polished more than that.


Swirl marks are easy to get and hard to remove. It is important to realize that sooner or later any car will get swirl marks. Your job as a car owner is to avoid getting them fast. Some cars get swirl marks five days after they roll out the dealership. While others which are well taken cared off don’t get swirl marks well into their fifth year.

Avoiding the five causes of swirl marks above will give you a swirl free car for years to come.

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