How to Remove Any Deep Scratch from Your Car!

No matter how hard you try to keep your car scratch-free, a little mishap is bound to happen. Someone might accidentally scratch your car in a parking lot, a tree branch may fall on your car roof, or perhaps an unattended shopping cart could leave a nasty mark. A deep scratch may cause further problems later on if left untreated, so you need to do something about it. Fortunately, we’re here to teach how to remove a deep scratch from your car without resorting to spending a lot of money to get the job done.


What Is Car Cutting?

Car cutting is the process of using a car cutting compound to remove scratches from your car’s paint. A cutting compound contains an abrasive material which is suspended in a soft paste and is often used by professional detailers to restore and repair car paint. This is especially helpful in the process of removing a deep scratch from cars.


To give you an idea of how a cutting compound works, let’s talk about your car paint. There are three layers of paint that cover your car — the primer coat, color paint, and protective clear coat. When your car gets scratched, it’s the top coat that gets damaged. To repair the scratch, a cutting compound removes a very thin layer of paint — about ten times thinner than a sheet of paper. A cutting compound acts like liquid sandpaper and smoothens out the scratch — making it disappear.


A cutting compound should only be used for scratches that are not only visible but are deep enough to be felt. Why? Because cutting compounds remove a thicker part of the clear coat in order to level the surface. It can be a very effective tool in the process of how to remove a deep scratch from cars. A cutting compound may also be used to remove oxidized paint to reveal a fresh layer of paint. It can also be used to remove tar, sticky sap, or spray paint.


However, it is not advisable to use cutting compounds for brand new cars or for cars that are still in good condition. The clear coat for these types of cars should remain untouched — using a cutting compound will lead to the unnecessary thinning of the clear coat.


Differences Between Compounds and Polishers

A cutting compound is not so dissimilar from a rubbing compound. The difference is in the type of abrasives. Rubbing compounds have relatively finer grit as compared to cutting compounds, which have coarser and harder abrasives in them. In general, compounds have more abrasive power as compared to polishers.


man car washing

How to Remove Minor Car Scratches

If your car has some minor scratches, it might not even require the use of a cutting compound. There are a variety of household items (such as toothpaste, shoe polish, candle wax, and nail polish) that you can use to remove the scratch if it’s light enough. The first thing you need to do is to check how deep the scratch (or scratches) are. Run your fingernail over the scratch. If it does not catch on the scratch, then it means it’s a minor one and you can try one of these remedies:

Method 1: Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a home remedy that’s commonly used in removing minor or surface scratches. To use this method, follow these steps:

  1. When your car is clean and dry, wet a clean microfiber towel until it is damp enough, then apply a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a quarter) to the towel.
  2. Using circular motions, rub the toothpaste on the scratched area while pushing down on the microfiber cloth with a bit of pressure. This action will buff out the scratches. Make sure to distribute the toothpaste evenly on the scratched surface.
  3. After the scratches have been buffed out, rinse off any excess toothpaste from the affected area and dry off with a clean microfiber towel.
  4. If the scratches are still visible, you may repeat the process, but only up to two times. Anything beyond that might damage the protective clear coat.

Method 2: Shoe Polish

  1. Apply the shoe polish on the scratched surface until it spreads out and fills in the dent or scratch.
  2. Using fine sandpaper, gently sand down the paint in surrounding areas to level the surrounding panel with the scratch. Doing this will make the scratch disappear, but be careful not to sand too deeply as it could damage the next layer of paint and will make things worse. 
  3. Use the shoe polish as your guide so you don’t sand too much. Sand lightly until all the shoe polish is removed.
  4. Buff the area with a clean cloth to see if the scratch has disappeared.

Method 3: Nail Polish

Most people don’t know that nail polish is capable of removing visible minor scratches with a quick and easy fix. There’s no buffing or sanding involved — all you need to do is use the nail polish to cover up the scratch. Choose the closest color and shade to match your car’s paint. However, make sure that the affected area is thoroughly clean first before evenly applying the nail polish until the scratch is no longer visible.


Method 4: Super Glue

Because super glue is transparent, it can be used as another easy cover-up solution for minor scratches. Apply thinly onto the scratch and buff lightly with fine sandpaper, if necessary.


Method 5: Candle Wax

Use candle wax to cover up very light scratches. Keep in mind though, that this method is not a long-term solution. Make sure the affected area is clean before rubbing the candle wax gently on the scratched surface. Doing so will cover up and seal the scratch.


Method 6: Car-Color Spray or Touch-Up Paint

This is a better option as compared to using nail polish, but it’s still a quick and temporary fix. Find the color that matches your car paint. It will also involve sanding using fine-grit sandpaper. Applying touch-up paint requires focus and hand control, so make sure to practice first before applying the paint on the scratch. After doing the touch-up, finish it off with a clear coat and then wax.


Method 7: Scratch-Removal Product or Kit

Nothing beats using the proper tools to remove scratches from your car. While home remedies work, they are not quite as effective. Scratch-removal products and kits are readily available at auto supply stores, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to purchase one. A scratch-removal kit usually includes a scratch-removal solution and a buffing pad. 

  1. Squirt a quarter-sized dollop of scratch-removal product onto the buffing pad or microfiber towel (you may use a little more, depending on the size of the scratch). Make sure that the product is distributed evenly on the pad or towel. Fold the pad or microfiber towel, then work the product around the affected surface.
  2. Using circular or back-and-forth motions, apply the product with light to medium pressure on the scratched surface and the areas surrounding it. Keep in mind to use only one type of motion all throughout.
  3. Wipe off product residue with a clean microfiber cloth or towel in circular motions. You may want to check the manufacturer’s specific instructions on removing the product to ensure that you’re doing it properly.
  4. Check if the scratches are still visible. If they are, you may repeat the product application 2-3 more times.

How to Remove a Deep Scratch From Cars

If your fingernail catches on the scratch, you might be dealing with a deeper scratch. If the above-mentioned methods and remedies don’t work, then the scratch is probably is deep enough to require a better fix. Here are some effective methods and steps involved in how to remove a deep scratch from cars.


Method 1: Repairing and Touch-Up

Before doing this method on how to remove a deep scratch from cars, it is important to give your vehicle a preliminary wipe down, especially if it’s been waxed or resealed recently.


Repairing Deep Gouges

  1. To remove dirt or wax, clean the scratch and the surrounding areas with a soft cloth or sponge that’s been dampened with rubbing alcohol. Make sure that the areas are spotless and free of dirt or debris.
  2. If you can see the bare metal, fill the scratch with glazing putty by squeezing a blob (the size of a dime) onto the surface beside the affected area. Using a small hand squeegee, spread the putty into the gouge.
  3. Allow the putty to cure and harden for 2-3 minutes (or refer to packaging instructions for exact curing time). 
  4. Remove the excess putty by wiping the scratch with a liquid paint leveler. The paint leveler only removes the excess putty but won’t affect the putty that has hardened inside.

Touching Up Repaired Scratches

After repairing the scratch, you can now paint over them. Look for the exact match to your car paint by referring to the paint code that’s listed on the label inside the driver’s side door. You may also speak with the original dealer to find out the exact color for the touch-up paint.

  1. Using a fine brush, apply a thin and light coat of paint to the repaired scratch by dabbing into the gouge. Do not brush or wipe the paint on. 
  2. Work on the scratch carefully until it’s concealed completely. If your touch-up paint does not come with an applicator, use a micro detailing brush instead.
  3. Let paint dry for 8-12 hours (even overnight). Do not do any further modifications to the paint.
  4. If the scratch is still visible after the paint has dried, add 1-2 more thin coats by dabbing them on as you did on the first coat. Allow the additional coats to dry overnight.
  5. Use a clear coat applicator to seal the touched-up and repaired scratch. Just make sure that the clear coat covers the new paint entirely. Let dry for 8 hours (even overnight).
  6. After the clear coat has dried completely, wet a sheet of 1500-2000 grit sandpaper with clean water. Make sure that the sandpaper you’re using is designed for wet-sanding. Place the sandpaper on the elevated ridge created by the sealant, then apply gentle pressure by using light and swirling motions. Sand the clear-coated surface until it levels and blends in with the surrounding areas.

Method 2: Painting Over Deep Scratches

This is another method on how to remove a deep scratch from cars. As always, wash and dry your car thoroughly before doing anything. All dirt and debris must be removed to avoid creating more scratches. 

  1. Start by stripping away the top layers of paint with a 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a sanding pad. Sand for 10-15 seconds each time and in the direction of the scratch. 
  2. Rinse and check if it still needs for further sanding. For scratches that are deeper than the clear coat, use 1500-grit sandpaper first to level the surface then follow through with 2000-grit sandpaper to remove the scratches created by the 1500-grit sandpaper.
  3. When you’re satisfied with the sanding, rinse away the debris and then wipe the surface with a clean microfiber cloth to dry
  4. Cover the areas around the affected spot with paper and blue tape. Make sure to work only on the sanded areas. Using a sandable primer in a spray can (choose the closest color to your car paint), spray a few coats of primer on the areas you’ve sanded with back-and-forth motions. Allow the initial coat to dry for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Paint over the primer with the exact color of paint that matches your car. Before purchasing the paint, make sure it’s the exact shade by checking with your manufacturer.
  6. After the paint has completely dried, apply high-quality carnauba wax (about the size of a quarter) on a microfiber cloth or buffer pad. Using circular motions and medium pressure, buff the painted and primed area with the cloth or pad to seal it.


The steps for how to remove a deep scratch from cars are relatively easy and doable. However, make sure you’re purchasing the right materials and tools before embarking on repairing and retouching the damaged surface. If you want an effective and long-term solution, buy the best and highly recommended products to do the job. Remember, it is very IMPORTANT to clean off all dirt and debris from your vehicle before starting on the scratch removal process.


By knowing how to remove a deep scratch from cars, you’ll save yourself a costly trip to the body repair shop. 

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