What Polish To Use After Wet Sanding

Wet sanding is a technique used to smoothen the surface of painted materials, particularly vehicles, by removing imperfections such as scratches, swirl marks, or orange peel texture. Once the wet sanding process is complete, it’s essential to choose and apply the right polish to achieve a smooth and glossy finish. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which polish to use.

In this blog post, we will explore different aspects of choosing the perfect polish after wet sanding. We’ll cover topics like what grit to use for Meguiar’s compound, whether you should sand paint to make it smooth, the process of polishing wet sanded paint, and the suitable polish to use after Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. We’ll also discuss the use of rubbing compound, good polishing compounds, and buffing compounds. Additionally, we’ll tackle common questions like whether you should wax after polishing or if polish is necessary after compound. So, if you’re ready to learn about the best polish for post-wet sanding, keep reading!

What Polish To Use After Wet Sanding

What Polish to Use After Wet Sanding

Wet sanding is a vital step in achieving a smooth and flawless finish for your paint job. But once you’ve completed the wet sanding process, you might find yourself asking, “What polish should I use now?” Fear not, my fellow car enthusiasts, for I have the answers you seek!

The Perfect Polish Match: Cutting to the Chase

When it comes to choosing the right polish after wet sanding, you need to consider both the level of abrasive action and the type of paint you’re working with. It’s like finding the perfect dance partner – you want someone who can keep up with your moves without stepping on your toes.

Medium-Cut Polish: The Versatile Charm

For the majority of situations, a medium-cut polish will be your knight in shining armor. It strikes the perfect balance between cutting power and finesse, making it suitable for most paint finishes. This polish can effectively remove any hazy or dull spots left after wet sanding, bringing back that brilliant shine we all love.

Heavy-Cut Polish: The Muscle Car of Polishes

If you’re tackling severe paint imperfections or working with older, neglected finishes, a heavy-cut polish will be your best friend. This powerhouse of a polish packs a punch, removing deeper scratches and swirl marks with ease. Just be cautious – like a muscle car, this polish can be aggressive, so use it sparingly and with a gentle touch.

Light-Cut Polish: The Fairy Godmother of Paint Correction

For those lucky enough to have minimal imperfections or newer paint jobs, a light-cut polish will work its magic. This gentle polish is perfect for adding that final touch of perfection, enhancing the glossiness of your paint and erasing any slight haze left after wet sanding. It’s like having a fairy godmother for your paint!

The Paint Type Puzzle: Solving the Mystery

Now that you know the different polish options, it’s time to decode the mystery of paint types. Understanding your paint’s composition is crucial in selecting the appropriate polish, just like deciphering an ancient treasure map.

Clear-Coat Finishes: The Smooth Operators

Most modern cars feature clear-coat finishes, which provide a protective layer over the colored base coat. These finishes require a polish specifically formulated for clear-coat paints. Look for products labeled “safe for clear-coat” or “clear-coat compatible” to ensure optimal results without any damage.

Single-Stage Paint: The Vintage Enchantress

For classic car enthusiasts who have the pleasure of working with single-stage paint, rejoice! You have the freedom to use any polish suitable for your desired level of correction. Just remember to take extra care while sanding and polishing, as single-stage paint lacks the protective clear coat.

Matte or Satin Finishes: The Rebels of the Paint World

If your ride boasts a rebellious matte or satin finish, step away from the traditional rule book. These finishes require special polishes designed specifically for matte or satin paints. Regular polishes can leave glossy spots or even damage the finish, so be sure to choose products labeled “matte-finish friendly” or “satin-finish compatible.”

Polish Application Tips: Mastering the Art

Now that you’re armed with knowledge about the right polish to use, let’s talk about applying it like a pro. Remember, polishing is an art form that requires finesse and precision. Here are some tips to help you achieve that showroom-worthy shine:

Less is More: The Polishing Paradox

When it comes to polish application, remember the old adage: less is more. Start with a small amount of polish and gradually increase as needed. This prevents excessive product buildup and ensures even distribution, allowing the polish to work its magic more effectively.

Even Pressure: The Balanced Hand

Maintain a consistent and even pressure while applying the polish. Too much pressure can lead to uneven results, while too little may not yield the desired correction. Find the sweet spot that allows the polish to do its job without bruising your paint’s delicate surface.

Patience, Young Grasshopper: The Waiting Game

After applying the polish, resist the urge to wipe it off immediately. Give the product time to bond with the paint and work its magic. Read a car magazine, practice some dance moves, or simply take a break and let the polish do its thing before gently removing it with a clean microfiber cloth.

In conclusion, choosing the right polish after wet sanding requires careful consideration of the polish’s cutting action and the type of paint you’re working with. Keep in mind that medium-cut polish is ideal for most situations, heavy-cut polish tackles deeper imperfections, and light-cut polish adds that final touch of perfection. Additionally, understanding the paint type is crucial in selecting the appropriate polish. Clear-coat finishes, single-stage paints, and matte or satin finishes all require specific polishes tailored to their needs. Armed with the right polish and application tips, you’ll be ready to achieve a flawless and breathtaking finish worthy of envy.

What Polish To Use After Wet Sanding

FAQ: What Polish To Use After Wet Sanding


Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ guide on what polish to use after wet sanding. If you’ve recently taken on a paint restoration project or encountered some scratches on your vehicle, wet sanding can be an effective technique to smooth out the imperfections. However, after wet sanding, it’s crucial to follow up with the right polishing compound to restore that glossy finish. In this FAQ guide, we’ll answer all your burning questions and help you choose the perfect polish for your needs.

What grit is Meguiar’s compound

Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is a versatile product known for its ability to remove light to moderate defects on automotive paint. Unlike traditional compounds that use specific grit sizes, Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is formulated to break down while polishing, providing a controlled cut that doesn’t harm the paint. Instead of focusing on grit, this compound is designed to be safe and effective on various paint types and clear coats.

Can you sand paint to make it smooth

Absolutely! Wet sanding can be a great technique to smooth out imperfections in the paintwork. By using progressively finer grit sandpaper and water as a lubricant, you can carefully remove unevenness, orange peel texture, swirl marks, and other minor defects. Just remember to exercise caution, as aggressive sanding can damage the paint. Always start with a coarser grit and gradually move to finer grits to achieve a smooth and glossy finish.

How do you polish wet sanded paint

Polishing wet sanded paint is the essential step to bring back the shine after sanding. Here’s a straightforward process to follow:

  1. Start by thoroughly rinsing the sanded surface to ensure it’s free from any debris.
  2. Apply a small amount of your chosen polish compound directly onto a clean and soft polishing pad.
  3. Work the polish into the paint using a dual-action polisher or by hand, applying light to medium pressure.
  4. Move the polisher in overlapping motions, working on a small section at a time.
  5. Keep the surface lubricated with a spray bottle of water to prevent the pad from drying out.
  6. After polishing, wipe off any residue with a clean microfiber cloth.
  7. Repeat the process if necessary, depending on the level of gloss and clarity desired.

What do I do after Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound

After using Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound, you should follow up with a polish to enhance the shine and refine the paintwork further. This additional step will bring out the paint’s clarity and depth, giving it that showroom-worthy finish. Choose a polishing compound specifically designed to work after a cutting compound like Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. This will ensure that you achieve the best results and maximize the paint’s gloss and smoothness.

Do you use rubbing compound after wet sanding

While some people use rubbing compound after wet sanding, it’s not always necessary or recommended. Rubbing compound is a more aggressive product designed to remove heavier defects, oxidation, and scratches. If you’ve already wet sanded the surface and achieved the desired smoothness, using a rubbing compound may be excessive and could potentially damage the paint. Instead, consider using a fine polishing compound to refine the finish and bring out the shine.

What is a good polishing compound

Finding a good polishing compound can be overwhelming due to the multitude of options available. However, a few popular and trusted choices include:

  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish: This non-abrasive formula is perfect for adding depth and maximizing gloss. It’s designed to enhance the shine and clarity of the paintwork.

  • Chemical Guys V36 Optical Grade Cutting Polish: The V36 delivers excellent results by eliminating light to moderate paint imperfections while restoring a high gloss finish. It’s also suitable for use by hand or machine.

Remember, the right polishing compound for you ultimately depends on the specific needs of your paintwork and the level of correction required.

What is buffing compound

Buffing compound refers to a paste-like substance used in combination with a buffing pad or cloth to remove defects, scratches, or oxidation from the surface of various materials, including automotive paint. Buffing compounds are available in different grades, ranging from coarse to fine, depending on the severity of the imperfections and the desired outcome. These compounds contain abrasive particles that, when applied correctly, help restore a smooth and glossy finish.

Do you wax after polish

Yes! After polishing your freshly wet-sanded paintwork, applying a wax or sealant is an essential step to protect and preserve the restored finish. Waxing provides a protective barrier against UV rays, contaminants, and environmental factors that can damage the paint. It also adds depth and shine, amplifying the overall appearance. Choose a high-quality automotive wax or sealant and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Do you have to use polish after compound

While it’s not mandatory to use polish after a compound, doing so can significantly enhance the final appearance of your paintwork. Compounds are primarily designed to remove defects and provide initial gloss, but they may leave some haze or micro-marring on the surface. By following up with a polish, you’ll effectively refine the paint, eliminate any remaining imperfections, and achieve a higher level of depth, clarity, and gloss.

Can you polish out 2000 grit

Yes, it is possible to polish out the scratches left by 2000 grit sandpaper. However, the level of success depends on various factors, including the paint type and its overall condition. Finer grits, such as 2000, leave smaller scratches that are easier to remove through polishing. By using a high-quality polishing compound, along with the correct technique and sufficient effort, you can effectively restore the gloss and clarity to the paintwork.

Does wet sanding cause scratches

Wet sanding, when done correctly, should not cause additional scratches. The purpose of wet sanding is to remove existing defects and imperfections from the paintwork. By using water as a lubricant and employing the proper sanding technique, you minimize the potential for scratches. However, it’s vital to ensure that you use the correct grit sandpaper and progress through gradually finer grits to achieve a smooth result without introducing new scratches.

What compound is after 2000 grit

After using 2000 grit sandpaper, it’s recommended to follow up with a medium to fine polishing compound. Opt for a compound that is specifically designed to remove light to moderate paint imperfections. Examples include Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound, which works well after 2000 grit sanding, or other similar products available in the market. These compounds are formulated to refine the paint and restore a high level of gloss without causing damage.

How do you get scratches out of wet sanding

To get scratches out after wet sanding, you need to employ a two-step process involving compounding and polishing. Here’s a brief summary of the process:

  1. Start by using a cutting compound or rubbing compound and a suitable buffing pad or cloth. Apply the compound to the pad and work on the scratched area using a dual-action polisher or by hand. The compound will remove the deeper scratches and gradually improve the surface.

  2. After compounding, switch to a fine polishing compound and a clean polishing pad. Apply the polish to the pad and work it into the paint in the same manner as the compound. The polishing step will refine the finish and remove any haze or micro-marring left by the compound.

Remember, proper technique, suitable products, and patience are key to successfully removing scratches after wet sanding.

Should I use compound or polish

The decision to use a compound or polish depends on the specific needs of your paintwork. If you’re dealing with deeper scratches, heavier defects, or oxidized paint, starting with a rubbing or cutting compound is recommended to remove these imperfections effectively. Once the defects are eliminated, you can follow up with a polishing compound to refine the finish, restore gloss, and achieve a showroom-worthy shine. If you’re working with minor imperfections or just looking to enhance the paint’s appearance, you can skip the compound step and go straight to polishing.

What grit is Turtle Wax rubbing compound

The Turtle Wax rubbing compound doesn’t have a specific grit rating, as it is formulated differently from conventional compounds. Rather than relying on specific grit sizes, the Turtle Wax compound is designed to break down while being used. This self-breaking down feature helps prevent excessive paint removal or damage, making it safe and versatile for various paint types and clear coats. It effectively removes light to heavy scratches, oxidation, and other defects while leaving a smooth finish.

What is a wet polish

A wet polish refers to the application of polish on a wet or damp surface. This technique allows the polish to emulsify with the water, forming a thin slurry that aids in polishing. Wet polishing can provide smoother and more controlled results compared to dry polishing, as it helps to reduce heat buildup and friction. It also minimizes the chance of pad clogging and allows for longer working time without drying out. Wet polishing can be done using a dual-action polisher or by hand with a clean microfiber cloth.

Does wet sanding damage paint

When performed correctly, wet sanding should not damage the paint. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution, as aggressive sanding or using the wrong technique can result in paint damage. To minimize the risk, always start with a coarser grit sandpaper and progress through finer grits. Keep the surface well-lubricated with water or a suitable lubricant to reduce friction and prevent excessive heat buildup. Additionally, avoid applying too much pressure and maintain a consistent sanding motion. By following these guidelines, you can achieve excellent results without causing harm.

Can you hand polish after wet sanding

Yes, you can hand polish after wet sanding. Hand polishing is a viable option, especially for smaller areas or when access with a machine polisher is limited. Applying a small amount of polish to a clean microfiber cloth, you can work it into the wet sanded paint using circular or back-and-forth motions. Hand polishing requires a bit more effort and time compared to machine polishing but can still deliver excellent results. Just ensure that you choose the right polish for the level of correction needed and follow the correct technique.

Is Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound permanent

No, Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is not permanent. It is a temporary solution designed to remove defects and imperfections by cutting into the clear coat and paint layers. While it provides excellent results, the effect is not permanent. Over time, the clear coat can naturally wear down, exposing the imperfections again. To maintain the improved appearance, regular maintenance and proper protection, such as waxing or applying a sealant, are necessary to ensure long-lasting results.

Does wet sanding scratch paint

Wet sanding can potentially scratch paint if not performed correctly. The key to avoiding additional scratches is to use the appropriate sandpaper grits, employ a gentle sanding technique, and keep the surface well-lubricated with water or a suitable lubricant. Starting with a coarser grit sandpaper can help remove the deeper scratches, followed by progressively finer grits to refine the finish. By being vigilant and taking the necessary precautions, you can minimize the risk of scratching the paint during the wet sanding process.

How do you polish after sanding

To polish after sanding, follow these simple steps:

  1. Thoroughly clean the sanded surface to remove any debris or leftover sanding residue.
  2. Choose a suitable polishing compound based on the level of correction needed.
  3. Apply a small amount of the polish directly onto a clean polishing pad or sponge.
  4. Spread the polish evenly on the paint using a dual-action polisher or by hand, applying light to medium pressure.
  5. Work on small sections at a time, using overlapping motions to ensure even coverage.
  6. Keep the surface lubricated by misting water onto it with a spray bottle.
  7. After polishing, wipe off any residue with a clean microfiber cloth to reveal the restored shine.
  8. Repeat the process if necessary to achieve the desired level of gloss and clarity.

Can Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound remove scratches

Yes, Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is specifically designed to remove light to moderate scratches, swirl marks, and other paint imperfections. It’s an excellent choice for restoring the gloss and smoothness of the paintwork. The compound’s unique formula ensures controlled cutting, resulting in an effective removal of defects while being safe for use on various paint types and clear coats. Remember to follow the instructions and use the compound correctly to achieve the best results.


In conclusion, choosing the right polish after wet sanding is crucial to achieving a smooth, glossy finish on your paintwork. Whether you opt for Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound or other trusted polishing compounds, following the correct application techniques will help you bring out the best in your paint’s appearance. By combining sanding, compounding, and polishing, you can restore your vehicle’s paint to its former glory and enjoy a showroom-worthy finish. Be patient, follow the correct steps, and enjoy the rewarding process of transforming your paintwork. Happy polishing!

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