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The Best Rubbing Compound 2020

A rubbing compound uses an abrasive formula that will remove more of the paint than a standard car polish. This is required to help remove larger scratches and other tough defects that a polishing compound will not remove.

The best rubbing compound is the 3M 39060 Perfect-It, which effortlessly removes scratches, light defects and 1,200 grit sand markings.

Before choosing a rubbing compound, it is important that you have tried a less abrasive polish beforehand. Rubbing compound is not a product that you are meant to use on a regular basis otherwise it will remove too much of the paint.

Rubbing Compound Comparison

Rubbing CompoundSand MarkingsBottle Sizes
3M 39060 Perfect-It1,200 Grit16 to 128 oz
Menzerna Fast Gloss 4001,200 Grit20 to 32 oz
3M 05954 Super Duty1,000 Grit16 to 128 oz
The Wax Shop Rebuild2,000 Grit16 to 32 oz
Meguiars Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut1,200 Grit8 to 128 oz
Griot's Garage B110P1,000 Grit16 oz
Chemical Guys V Line Kit1,000 - 3,000 Grit16 oz
3D One Hybrid1,500 Grit8 to 32 oz
Turtle Wax T-4151,500 Grit18 oz
Niteo 08610 Paste1,000 Grit10 oz

Rubbing compound for car scratches are the key to success but in the wrong hands, it can cause further damage. To effectively work the product into your paintwork, it is highly advised to use a car polisher rather than hand application.

Before apply a rubbing compound to your paintwork, its crucial that its completely clean beforehand. Failing this could result in dirt or debris becoming trapped within the applicator or pad thus causing further defects. Using a clay bar kit on the paintwork will provide you with the perfect base to begin your paint correction.

Below is a list of the best rubbing compounds that will effectively remove scratches, swirl marks and other deep paint defects.

The Best Rubbing Compound


1. 3M 39060 Perfect-It Rubbing Compound


The 3M brand is used by professional detailers around the world and they produce a wide variety of detailing products. The 3M 39060 Perfect-It rubbing compound is one of their most popular formulas that is available a 16 ounce, 1 quart or 1 gallon bottle.

Compared to other compounds, the Perfect-It isn’t the most abrasive formulas, which makes it a great option for removing car scratches on the paint.

Other features of the 3M 39060 Perfect-It include:

  • Engineered to work with newer clear coats
  • Cuts fast without heating up the polishing pad
  • Can be used as for headlight restoration
  • Removes P1200 grade and finer sand scratches
  • Easy wipe off formula without residue

The only drawback of this rubbing compound is that it is slightly more expensive than the alternatives. However, it produces excellent paint correction results that is smooth and suitable for waxing. It’s the best rubbing compound on the market that is easy to use and wipe off, which is great for beginners.

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2. Menzerna Fast Gloss 400 Compound


For those that require a strong rubbing compound to tackle tough defects, the Menzerna Fast Gloss is a great option. It has the ability to remove 1,200 grit sanding marks and leave a high-gloss finish in one step.

The brand state that it’s most effective when used with a rotary or DA polisher with either a wool or foam compounding pad.

Other features of the Menzerna Fast Gloss include:

  • Application via rotary or DA polisher
  • Improved formula that eliminates dust
  • Eliminates buffing marks, haze and holograms
  • Can be used for marine products such as fiberglass
  • Removes 1,200 grit sanding
  • No silicone or fillers
  • Made in the USA

It’s another great rubbing compound for car scratches that cannot be removed with a strong polish. It also provides a high gloss shine along with the removal of scratches in one step too. It’s a similar compound to the 3M Perfect-It as they provide similar results.

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3. 3M 05954 Super Duty Rubbing Compound


For tackling deep scratches and tough defects, 3M offer a stronger rubbing compound. The 05954 Super Duty is able to remove 1,000 grit sanding marks thanks to an economical liquid compound formula, which delivers a high rate of cut.

Unlike other heavy duty formulas, the Super Duty will remain wet for longer, which allows you to continue to cut with medium pressure.

Other features of the 3M 05954 Super Duty include:

  • Removes oxidation and deep scratches
  • Can be applied via hand or polisher
  • Remains wet for a longer during application
  • Contains no silicone
  • Suitable for all paint types and gelcoat
  • Wipes off without any mess

It’s the best rubbing compound for oxidation and tough defects that are refusing to remove with other lighter compounds. If you are new to paint correction, we strongly recommend choosing the less abrasive alternatives beforehand. It’s important to note that this is a strong rubbing compound that can cause damage in the wrong hands.

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4. The Wax Shop Rebuild Medium Cut Compound


For those the least abrasive cut, the Wax Shop rubbing compound is suitable for 2,000 grit or finer sanding. This means you are able to tackle scratches, swirl marks and other light defects that require paint correction.

Not everyone will want to use a strong rubbing compound on their paintwork straight away as it will take of a minor layer of clear coat. However, this is where the Rebuild 2000 formula becomes very desirable.

Other features of the Wax Shop 50957 Rebuild Medium Cut include:

  • Easy on and off formula
  • No dusting
  • Leaves a high gloss finish
  • Best applied via DA polisher
  • Silicone free
  • Effectively removes swirls, scratches and other defects

The Wax Shop compound is perfect for tackling light defects such as swirl marks, holograms, buffing marks and much more. The brand state that to achieve the best results, it’s advised to use a DA polisher and then follow up with their finishing compound.

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5. Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut Compound


For those looking for a low cost option, Meguiar’s offers an affordable rubbing compound. It will effortlessly remove 1,200 grit or finer sanding marks thanks to an exclusive micro-abrasive formula that is safe for automotive clear coats.

Unlike many other rubbing compounds, the Mirror Glaze formula can be applied via a polishing machine or by hand application.

Other features of the Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut include:

  • Safe for all glossy paint surfaces
  • Can be applied via hand or polisher
  • Available in 8, 32 or 1 gallon bottle sizes
  • Removes scratches, swirls and other defects
  • Professional grade formula

The Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Ultra-Cut rubbing compound is a great all-rounder that provides excellent value for money. It can also be applied via hand, which is great for those looking to tackle their paintwork without having to purchase a polisher.

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6. Griot’s Garage B110P Fast Correcting Compound


Griot’s Garage are a highly reputable detailing brand in the USA and they produce a range of compounds for cars. The Fast Correcting Cream formula is their most aggressive compound that includes no silicone or fillers.

The brand state that the Fast Correcting formula is engineered to tackle even the most severe of paint defects for the best results.

Other features of the Griot’s Garage B110P include:

  • Easy wipe on and off formula
  • High loads of sub-micron abrasives
  • Fast paint correcting results
  • Dust-free formula
  • Removes 1,000 sand markings
  • Pleasant scent during application
  • Only available in a 16 oz bottle

The Griot’s Garage Fast Correcting Cream is a highly rated rubbing compound for removing a range of paint defects. As the name suggests, it has a faster removal process due to the aggressiveness and it needs to be used with the correct pads to achieve quality results. This formula shouldn’t be used on a regular basis but Griot’s Garage do provides less abrasive alternatives for minor paint defects.

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7. Chemical Guys V Line Compound Kit


The Chemical Guys V Line is a complete kit of compounds and polishes that help you achieve the best possible finish. The kit included formulas that can tackle 1,200 to 3,000 grit sanding markings, which will cover most types of paint correction.

Included within the kit is the Extreme, Gradehybrid, Cutting and Final polishing compound formulas, which can also be purchased separately.

Other features of the Chemical Guys V Line include:

  • Optical grade micro abrasive technology
  • Suitable for use with a DA or rotary polisher
  • More aggressive bottles contain no silicone or filers
  • Removes heavy to light paint defects
  • Easy to use and buff off
  • Nice scent during application

If you require a complete kit of compounds and polishes to tackle your cars paint, the V Line by Chemical Guys is the best option. Everything is included to completely transform your paintwork and all that is required is a car polisher.

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8. 3D One Hybrid Compound For Car Scratches


The 3D One is a high quality 3-in-1 compound that delivers true paint correction in one application. The brand state that it’s suitable for tackling heavy scratches that are equivalent to 1,500 grit sand markings.

In order to achieve the best results, the brand state that it should be applied in shaded areas and using either a dual action or rotary polishing machine.

Other features of the 3D One Hybrid include:

  • Removes 1,500 grit sand markings
  • Water based and all natural
  • Uses nano ceramic alumina abrasives
  • Application via rotary or DA polisher
  • Cutting and finishing compound combined
  • Available in 8, 16 or 32 oz bottles

Many professionals may not like the idea of an all-in-one product compared to specialized formulas. However, if you don’t have hours to spend correcting the paint work, the 3D One rubbing compound is an excellent choice.

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9. Turtle Wax T-415 Rubbing Compound


Turtle Wax are a reputable brand known for their affordable detailing products and the T-415 follows that great reputation. It’s a premium grade formula that is designed to remove heavy swirl marks or scratches by hand or polisher.

The brand state that their rubbing compound is safe to use on all finishes and it can remove 1,500 grit sand markings with ease.

Other features of the Turtle Wax T-415 include:

  • Application by cotton, microfiber or foam pads
  • Removed 1,500 grit sand markings
  • Restores gloss and prepares the surface for waxing
  • Medium cut formula that uses nanotechnology polishing agents
  • Silicone free formula that’s safe on all surfaces
  • Only available in a 18 oz bottle

The Turtle Wax T-415 is an excellent all-round rubbing compound that combines performance with value for money. The brand also offer a variety of detailing products that are ideal for following up with after application of this formula.

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10. Niteo 08610 Rubbing Compound


The Niteo 08610 is a unique rubbing compound as the formula isn’t in a liquid but instead a paste, which is stored in a 10 ounce container. It’s a heavy duty option that cleans and restores the paintwork to remove deep scratches.

Other features of the Niteo 08610 include:

  • Heavy duty cutting qualities
  • Easy to use formula
  • Application via a polisher
  • Cleans and restores the paint
  • Suitable for all automotive finishes
  • Only available as a 10 ounce paste

It’s an affordable rubbing compound that delivers excellent cutting qualities. The Niteo 08610 formula cleans and removes a range of deep scratches or stains in a single application.

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Rubbing Compound Buying Guide

Rubbing compound is an essential detailing product that you will require to effective remove scratches and other defects from your paintwork. Unlike a standard car polish, the rubbing compound is far more abrasive and it will remove a larger layer of the paintwork in order to smooth it out.

Using such a strong compound should only be used when required and not on a regular basis. You do not want to remove too many layers as this could be a costly mistake. Many professionals will use a paint measuring device prior to performing paint correction.

The results from using a quality rubbing compound for scratches or swirl marks are pretty impressive. You can find many people showing off their 50/50 photographs of their paintwork as shown below.

Rubbing Compound For Car Scratches

Defects That Can Be Removed

Rubbing compound is a premium product that is able to remove more defects that the standard car polish. Such defects include oxidation, scratches, hologram/buffing marks, water spots, orange peel effect and much more.

After using a rubbing compound, you will be left with a smooth surface that is ready for waxing. It is important that you use the best car wax you can get your hands on because all the wax would have been removed along with the defects.

Sanding Markings

You are able to see the strength of the compound by the level of sanding markings it is able to remove. The detailing brand offer a wide range of rubbing compounds that are able to tackle anything from 1,000 to 3,000 grit. Wet sanding your vehicle is suited to professional detailers and enthusiasts and not something that you should undertake as a beginner.

How Strong?

Depending upon the type of defect that you are tackling, you may require a strong formula. For example, if you require a rubbing compound for car scratches or heavy swirl marks, you will want a medium cut compound, which will usually be able to correct 1,200 to 1,500 grit sanding markings.

For removing lighter defects, rubbing compounds between 1,500 to 2,000 grit will be able to safely remove the defects with ease.

Application – Hand or Polisher?

When it comes to the application of a rubbing compound, the majority of brand will recommend using a polisher. There are some exceptions that state you can apply the compound via hand application but we recommend sticking to a polisher. If you have gone to the effort of completely cleaning your car with a clay bar, you will want to achieve the best possible results.

Rubbing Compound For Oxidation

Components of a Rubbing Compound

You may notice that on some bottles, the brands clearly state that they contain no toxic ingredients, silicone or fillers. The reason for this is that these components are known to cause issues during application and not provide the best results.

Silicone is the main component to avoid as it can cause paint adhesion, which results in smears appearing on the paintwork.

Trusted Brand

Due to the cutting qualities of a rubbing compound, you want to be sure it does not cause damage. Spending the little bit extra to remain with a trusted detailing brand is highly recommended. Trusted brands include 3M, Meguiars, The Was Shop, Turtle Wax, Menzerna, Chemical Guys and a few others.

Bottle Size

Compared with other detailing products, rubbing compound is fairly expensive by the ounce. Therefore, to get the best bang for your buck, it is recommended to purchase a larger bottle size in order to get better value for money. On top of this, the last thing you want to happen is to run out of product and not be able to complete the paint correction.

Proper Usage

The best rubbing compound will be able to remove the majority of defects effortlessly. Some manufacturers suggest specific directions of use and its important that you follow them in order to get the best results. However, not all bottles will explain the steps you need to take, so below is a brief guide.

Prepare the Paintwork

Before using the compound on your paintwork, you must ensure that it is completely clean. This means using a suitable car wash soap to remove loose debris and then a clay bar to remove further dirt clinging onto the paintwork.

Check Thickness

You will want to check the thickness of the paint before using a rubbing compound. This can be achieved with a coating thickness gauge, which will provide you with an instant reading. If the reading is too low, you may want to ask a bodywork specialist for a second opinion.

Application of the Compound

Whether you are correcting a targeted car scratch or the whole car, you will firstly need to begin with a fine sand paper. Using the sand paper, you will want to lightly rub down the scratch until its level with the paintwork. Once it has reached this stage, you are then ready to apply a rubbing compound.

Using a rotary or DA polisher is our recommended form of applying a compound. You will want to use the correct pad and use a small amount of the compound and work it into the sanded area. Once complete, buff the area of any residue and check that the result meet your expectations.

Ease of Use

The preparation and methods described above are fairly brief and you should take steps to make the process easier. For example, when it comes to paint correction, you should always avoid direct sunlight and heated surfaces. This can cause further defects to appear on the paintwork.

We highly recommend that you use detailing tape to cover edges or plastic trim. These compounds can cause permanent marks to trim, which may require a plastic restorer in order to rectify the markings.

Conclusion

When the sun shines on your paintwork, it can often bring out all the defects and flaws, thus ruin its appearance. However, investing in a quality rubbing compound can effortlessly remove these defect and provide the perfect surface ready for waxing.

All of our recommendations cover a range of different abrasive formulas, budgets and brands that will provide great results when performing paint correction on your car. They will all remove car scratches, swirl marks, water spots and other defects.

For tackling deep scratches in small areas, you may want to check out some car scratch remover kits. They will provide you with everything need to tackle deeper scratches that the rubbing compound was not able to correct.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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