Paint Defects – Swirl Marks

One of the most common paint defects are swirl marks also known as washing marks or cobweb swirls.

Swirl marks are fine scratches in the paint that are usually visible as circular patterns in bright light ie sunlight. 

The most common cause of swirl marks can be attributed to poor washing or drying technique.

Washing Tips

1. Use quality washing equipment such as microfibre/wool wash mitts and dedicated car wash detergents.

2. Use the two bucket wash method when washing. 1 soap bucket and 1 rinse bucket.  Dip clean mitt into soapy bucket, wash a section of the vehicle then rinse dirty mitt in rinse bucket. Repeat these steps.

3. Avoid excessive wiping during washing and drying process. This will reduce chances of instilling swirls. 

Pro Tip: It won’t take much to loosen dirt so avoid excessive back and forth wiping because you will just be grinding dirt particles back into the paint thus inflicting swirls. 

4. Use microfibre drying towels to dry the vehicle. Believe it or not but chamois are not a good drying tool. A good detailer will not have a chamois in their drying arsenal! 

Pro Tip: Use a spray wax/sealant or quick detailer as a drying aid- this will help the drying towel glide over the paint during the drying process thus minimising the potential of instilling swirls to the paint surface.

The Good News

Well prevention is the best medicine, however if you have a vehicle that is swirled out it can be repaired by machine polishing.

Below is a before and after picture after machine polishing the swirls away.