How to Use a Drill As a Polisher

Updated February 21, 2017

Turn your electric drill into a powerful polishing tool by adding a polishing head. Polishing heads and polishing compounds are available to polish metal, glass, plastic and wood. You can remove shallow scratches from glass, polish the chrome on your automobile, or give your kitchen countertops a shiny new look. When using an electric drill as a polisher, less is more. Don't overpolish; the drill, polishing head and polishing compound do the work quickly and effectively.

Thoroughly clean the surface to be polished. Dry well.

Attach the polishing/buffing head to your electric drill the same way you attach a drill bit. Follow any special instructions by your drill manufacturer and the manufacturer of the polishing apparatus.

Apply polishing compound to the surface to be polished. Use a soft rag and spread a thin coat of compound. Use the correct compound for the surface to be polished. For example, metal, plastic, glass and wood all require different polishing agents. Use aluminium polish for most metals except chrome. For glass, use Cerium powder. Use a polish specifically formulated for plastic, preferably one containing mineral spirits and/or petroleum jelly, to guard against damaging the plastic surface. On stained or painted wood, use paste wax. Use paste car wax to polish painted surfaces on your automobile.

Set your drill to operate between 800 to 1000 RPM. Move the polisher slowly across the surface to be polished. To avoid damage to the surface, don't let the polisher rest on any one area; keep it moving at all times. It should take only a couple of minutes to polish several square feet.


Avoid overpolishing with an electric drill polisher; it could cause damage to your item.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill
  • Polishing head insert for electric drill
  • Polishing compound
  • Soft rags
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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.