How to Polish a Black Car

Updated March 23, 2017

There are a couple of real challenges when it comes to polishing a black car. A deep black paint job seems to magnify every scratch, every ding, every imperfection in the paint. Also, polish by its very nature, scratches your paint. The whole concept behind a polish is to remove a microscopically thin layer of old paint, revealing a shiny new layer. The problem is, the very act of removing that microscopically thin layer of paint can leave swirl marks in the paint. For those car enthusiasts who are adamant about perfection, there are several steps to the perfect polish job for a black car.

Wash car with a mild dish soap and sponge. Thoroughly rinse. Pat dry using a clean 100 per cent cotton cloth or cotton diaper.

Inspect the paint job for any scratches, dings or nicks. Run your fingernail over any defects. If you can feel the defect with your nail then proceed to Step 3. If you cannot feel the imperfection with your fingernail, then go to Step 4.

Use a fine-grade rubbing compound if you can feel scratches with your nail. If scratches are deep use a medium rubbing compound. Each manufacturer has slightly different directions for application of their particular product--read all label directions and follow carefully. Err on the side of too little rather than too much.

Use a fine-grade car polish. Read the label and follow the manufacturer's directions for application and removal. Do not polish your car in direct sunlight. The purpose of the polish is to remove a microscopically thin layer of dull paint and reveal a shiny coat of new (un-oxidised) paint. This is the point that the shine is given to your vehicle.

Apply a final coat of ultra-fine polish. Rub gently. You should see almost no black paint on a clean white polishing cloth. This coat is designed to smooth out any microscopic scratches left by the first coat of polish. An excellent product for this final stage is Super Glaze. Apply in a light circular motion with a clean polishing sponge. Allow it to dry. Buff in a light circular motion with a 100 per cent cotton polishing cloth. Use gentle pressure.

Apply a LIGHT coat of pure carnauba wax. Do not use any wax products that contain the words "abrasive," "polish," "one-step," "all-in-one" or anything similar. You want 100% pure Carnauba car wax. Apply with a dampened (not wet) clean sponge. Wax a small portion of your vehicle and then wipe off within 3 minutes. Continue until the entire car is protected. Do not wax in direct sun.


Wax does not add shine to a properly polished black car. If your car looks shinier when you wax it, then you did not do a proper polishing job. Wax only protects the shine. Always use 100 per cent cotton car polishing cloths. Never use a terry cloth towel for polishing or waxing. A 100 per cent cotton diaper can also do a fine job.


Never use a real sponge for polishing or waxing your car. Always use a synthetic sponge.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish soap
  • Sponges (clean)
  • Fine-grade rubbing compound
  • Fine-grade polishing compound
  • Super-fine grade polishing compound
  • 100 per cent pure carnauba car wax
  • 100 per cent cotton car polishing cloth(s)
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About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.