What is Cutting Compound and How to Use it at Home?

To bring back the luxury appearance of a scratched car, drivers often apply the cutting compound. What is cutting compound, and how to use it at home?

The compound is an abrasive material for smoothing a car's surface. You can apply it to your vehicle by hand or with a polisher.

To discover how this solution works for cars and how to use it safely at home in detail, let's follow our post!

What Is Cutting Compound?

Car pounding is the technique of utilizing compounds to repair damaged vehicle paintwork surfaces.

A cutting/ rubbing compound is a paste that contains an abrasive substance for recovering the paintwork.

The paste can remove old rusted paint and polish scratches to reveal a newer painting layer underneath.

How does it work?

Your car has three layers of paint: the primer, the color, and the outer the projective coat. All of them cover the automobile's body.

When something scratches the paintwork, the projective coat is the first to suffer from damage.

The paste works to remove the paintwork's top layers. You can use it in different ways to renew the paint, such as:

  • Removing scratches and swirl patterns with a polishing cloth.
  • Getting rid of overspray.
  • Removing streaks and spots on your painted surface.
  • Blending in the parts of new paintwork.
  • Restoring the paint that has become dull and worn.
  • Flattening and smoothing the paintwork finishes. 
The product can treat the scratches on your vehicle

Liquid vs. paste 

The paste rubbing solution is best for heavy-duty cleaning and on rough, heavily oxidized surfaces. 

This solution is ideal for oxidized fiberglass and traditional finishes that have degraded or formed a thick white rusty coat.

Before applying a sealing wax, a second, gentler paste polishing solution or swirl remover may eliminate haze in the clearcoat and revive the gloss.

Compared to paste compounds, liquid compounds are gentler and easier to apply. However, it's less common since it can't work as powerfully as the paste. 

When To Use The Cutting Compound? 

The detailing product required to remove the scratch and swirl marks depends on the severity of the surface damage.

A detailer's role is to completely or partially fix painting damage such that it is unnoticeable.

Here are some examples of when you should opt for this method.

  • Scratches: The compounds can shove off a thick part of the topcoat when trying to smooth the surface. However, if the scratches are too deep, you can't completely remove them. 
  • Oxidized paintwork: They eliminate the damaged area, exposing a newer paint coat.

This method is not advisable for brand-new or well-maintained cars. The outer layer on these autos should remain untouched.

Applying a cutting compound might result in unwanted thinning of an otherwise flawless topcoat.

The compounds are only for automotive paintwork that becomes extensively worn, corroded, or scratched.

In some cases to use the cutting compound

In some cases to use the cutting compound

How to use cutting compounds at home? 

There are two ways to apply the compounds to your car: by hand and with a polisher. Please check and determine which works better for you. 

By hand

Scratches, color transfer, corrosion, and watermarks are among the typical problems you can solve by hand. Here is how to do it:

  • Step 1: Access the paint

Use a polishing compound if your paint has moderate oxidation, swirls, small scratches, or watermarks. This product is a mild to medium cleanser with less abrasive effects.

  • Step 2: Wash and dry your car

To prevent any damage to the paint and to simplify the application process, be sure to wash and clean the area using a car wash solution with powerful cleansing power.

  • Step 3: Test the product

Before applying your selected product to the body of your car, we recommend trying it on a tiny area.

Because certain compounds are harsher than others, it's advisable to test before applying them, especially if you're dealing with a new item.

  • Step 4: Apply the paste

Apply the paste on a clean, cool surface that is not in direct sunlight.

Use a moist applicator cloth or a cotton swab to apply the solution to a tiny area at a time.

Then, rub the paste into the surface in a back and forth motion.

  • Step 5: Remove excess paste

Remove the substance with a microfiber towel or clean cotton before it hardens and wipe lightly.

Observe the results and reapply as necessary and be careful not to use too much pressure, particularly if employing abrasive chemicals.

  • Step 6: Apply the polish

To get the greatest results, use a wax or polish product after the treatment to regain the lost gloss.

For even more excellent results when fixing black car paintwork, apply a polish that has a pigment.

You can use a wax product to polish the surface

You can use a wax product to polish the surface

With a polisher 

Hand application of compound may be difficult sometimes, especially when handling tougher paint or a wide surface.

In this case, a dual-action (DA) polisher could be an excellent choice, helping you treat the damage nicely.

If you are new to this method, we suggest taking extra precautions and testing an old hood before moving to your vehicle.

  • Step 1: Choose the polishing pad

Start by choosing the polishing pad based on the severity of the damage and the region involved.

You should be able to use various pad sizes and roughness levels if the DA arrived with an attachment kit.

Product performance varies depending on pad selection, affecting how much scratch elimination, gloss, and brightness the product provides.

  • Step 2: Work on a small area

Work on a tiny area (about 20" x 20") at a time. Distribute the substance to the surface using the applicator pad without switching on the polisher to spread the paste.

  • Step 3: Turn on the polisher slowly

Slowly turn your polisher and run it across the affected area in how the metal runs. Remember to apply very little pressure and set the medium speed.

To treat the affected area from a wider angle, adjust the direction and continue the process horizontally.

  • Step 4: Remove the excess paste

To treat the affected area from a wider angle, adjust the direction and continue the process horizontally.

Observe the results after wiping away any excess product with a microfiber towel. If necessary, reapply the paste. However, avoid applying too much stress, especially if you have heated the surface before because of the abrasive properties.

This method is quite hard to follow. For a visual explanation, please check out this video:

Car Polishing for Beginners: one-step compounds and polishes by Auto Fetish Detail

Final Words

The cutting compound works to treat the damaged layer of the paintwork. However, each treatment will remove a layer of the coat. Hence, we don't recommend using this product often. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. Remember to take notes and apply the product to your precious car correctly.

Thank you for reading!

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