What Causes Swirl Marks And How To Prevent & Fix Them

by Sudarsan Chakraborty

Swirl marks are small and fine scratches on the surface of the car. Mostly, these marks are a result of your detailing technique. The marks are not very visible under the shade but when the car gets into the sunlight, you can see these marks at a close-up. Swirl marks are more noticeable on dark-colored vehicles than they are on bright-colored cars. Here are the causes of swirl markings and how to avoid and fix them.

Causes of Swirl Marks

The main cause of swirl marks is the towel you use to dry the car after a wash. It only takes a micro-particle to graze off the paint. For example, after cleaning the car,  your microfiber towel may have a bit of dirt or tiny particles that may cause scratches. A clean towel is not a guarantee that you cannot get swirls. Generally, improper detailing of the car or using the wrong tools and techniques can create small scratches. Other causes of swirl marks are:

  • Lack of proper washing before drying
  • Polishing the car after applying a product with the wrong cloth
  • Using towels with the wrong weave type
  • Using a dry towel to wipe dirt or dust off the car
  • Using the wrong polishing products or paint cleaners
  • Not cleaning the car before washing

Even though there is no 100% solution to preventing swirl marks, there are ways you can minimize them. It begins with using the right practices when detailing the car.

Start with Buying the Right Products

As stated above, using the wrong polishing and washing products can cause swirl marks. The best way to minimize this is by purchasing quality products based on the type of your car. Look for the right finishing products like The Last CoatNexgen ceramic spray,  or Torque Detail for ceramic coating the car after washing and drying.

Top-to-Bottom Rinsing Before Washing

Before you start washing the car, make sure you rinse it thoroughly from top to bottom. This will remove the heavy dirt and debris and reduce the chances of contamination. This way, you lessen the chances of scratching. When washing, use the tow-buckets method.

Use a Quality Microfiber for Drying

After washing the car, ensure you use quality and clean microfiber towels to dry the surface. You will also need lubrication to minimize scratches. The pros recommend using a leaf blower to remove water on the surface without any physical contact.

Fixing Swirl Marks

The only known way of fixing the swirl is by applying to polish. Before you apply a ceramic coating, make sure you know how to do it to eliminate the chances of scratches. You may cause swirls if you involve a lot of scrubbing, wiping off, and rubbing.

What is ceramic coating? Before coating the surface, you need to understand what ceramic coating is all about and how to go about it the right way. You also need to know the ceramic coating cost to see if it is worth your investment.


Swirl marks can ruin the beautiful look of your car with time. Therefore, it is vital to use the right techniques and products when detailing your car. Make sure you rinse it first before washing it to remove the dirt particles. You also need to ensure you use a clean and soft microfiber towel for the surface and avoid a lot of scrubbing and rubbing.

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