Swirl removal is a very important step in proper surface preparation. A swirled (commonly referred to as spider webbed) surface will make even the best waxes appear unacceptable, and often leave the user wondering if he chose the wrong type of polish/wax. Swirls are countless clusters of micro scratches usually caused by improper washing and/or drying. They are much easier seen on darker color cars, and when the vehicle is in direct sunlight.
There are two types of products that will remove swirls,
1. Abrasive Compounds : Compounds use an abrasive type swirl remover. These swirl removers are usually liquid or paste , and designed to permanently remove paint defects such as small scratches, spider-webs, and swirls. They do this by removing a very thin layer of paint that contains the damage and exposing a new layer of defect-free paint. Once this is accomplished, the painted surface will be uniformly flat and reflect light in one direction only. Often several steps are required. It is best to use a compound type swirl remover by machine although mild abrasive swirl removers can be applied by hand. Using abrasive compounds will permanently remove the swirls from the paint.
2. Filler/Resin Type Swirl Removers: The second way swirls are removed are by using a product with no abrasives. These swirl removers use fillers instead of abrasives. They fill in scratches with special resins. This method of swirl remover only works on slight damage and does not permanently repair the damage. It fills in, and hides the imperfections. Some combination polishes (All in One Products) also do the job of a filler type swirl remover, thus reducing the steps required before your final product is applied. Filler/Resin Swirl Removals can be applied by hand or machine.
3. All In One Type Swirl Removers: These products have a combination of abrasives and fillers. It will do some cutting, though not as much as the pure abrasive. If there is some swirls left, they will be filled in with the resin in the polish. Not all all in one products include cutting abrasives. Read the product description carefully before applying. Often this type is recommended for beginners. It will permanently remove some of the damage, and hide what is left. This method can also be used by hand or machine. For more control over the hand application we recommend the handjobber system.
Q: How do I know if I have an abrasive compound or filler/resin type swirl remover?
A: Determining whether or not your product is abrasive or not is easy. Most products will state right on the label or description of the product if it has abrasives or not. When ever a product claims to remove swirls, AND states it is non-abrasive, you can bet it accomplishes this with fillers. Here is the twist, some products actually contain both abrasives AND fillers, these products will always state they contain abrasives but not always mention the fillers. One sure test to check whether or not your products contain fillers is using a 50/50 mix of Isopropyl Alcohol and water. After the application wipe the area with this solution, if the swirls re-appear, then the product does have fillers. All our product descriptions mention which products use fillers or abrasives.
Q: Which type of swirl remover should I use?
A: Deciding whether or not to use an abrasive type or filler type should be based on several factors. Filler type swirl removers usually only work on minor swirls, these filler types are easy too use and require minimal experience; they work very well by hand and do not require a machine polisher. Abrasive type swirl removers will remove heavy and mild swirls permanently, but they require a machine polisher. Each type has its own pros & cons.
Abrasive Compound Type swirl removal
Filler/Resin type swirl removal
Removing Swirls By Hand
Swirls can be hidden by using a mild polish or swirl removal designed for had use. The edges of the swirl will be rounded off drastically reducing their appearance. When the residue is buffed off the fillers will remain in the lower parts of the swirl hiding them from view. Polishes also add gloss enhancers to the surface making it ready for a wax/sealant. In this example we are using our HandJobber Applicator , It is the next best thing to Machine Application! The HandJobber is a Flexible Urethane Ergonomic Handle that accepts 4" Hook and Loop Pads. The ergonomic design greatly reduces hand fatigue and keeps your hands clean. The design also allows even pressure of the polishing/waxing surface, thus eliminating uneven results due to inconsistent pressures from each individual finger. We recommend Filler/Resin type swirl removers , or very mild abrasives by hand. Many mild swirl removers are often also referred to as polishes. Some examples are Klasse All-In-One, Wolfgang Paintwork Polish Enhancer , Optimum Poli-Seal and Menzerna Sealing Wax.
1. It’s best to work in a cool shaded area; this allows the product more time to work in before drying up. When working in direst sun, or on a hot surface the product with harden and make it hard, or impossible to work with.
2. Work with one area at a time. A 24”x24” (Half a door) size is a good area.
3. Apply the product to the applicator. Here we are using Wolfgang Paintwork Polish Enhancer. Wolfgang has great swirl hiding capabilities.
4. Using moderate pressure, work the product in back-forth motions. Switch directions every few strokes mimicking an X pattern,
5. Wipe off residue using a quality microfiber towel.
Depending on what type of product you used, you will now be ready for either polish, or a wax/sealant. If the swirl remover you used was a dedicated swirl remover which only fills in swirls, you will want to continue to the polishing product. Polishing products have the gloss enhancers necessary for that show car shine. If you used an all in one polish with swirl hiding capabilities then you can go right to the wax/sealant stage!
Removing Swirls with Machine Polisher
Removing swirls with a machine polisher is a much more effective permanent solution. Of coarse this will not prevent new swirls from happening but with proper care after this procedure, new swirling can be kept to a minimum. By using an abrasive compound and a Machine polisher, we will remove the layer of paint containing the swirls producing a new defect free layer. Machine removal of swirls often requires several steps depending on the extent on damage. In this example I am using a Porter Cable Random Orbital Polisher. This is a very popular polisher amongst enthusiast detailers. Its random orbital motion makes it nearly impossible to burn paint and can be used by novice detailers.
You are now ready for Polish and Wax! Your swirl free surface will expose the full potential of your polish and wax producing a show car finish that will leave people breathless.
Recommended Abrasive Compounds
Recommended Filler, All in One Products
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