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Rubbing Compound Vs Polishing Compound – The Difference

Rubbing compound vs polishing compound, have you made your choice? If you own a car and likes to maintain it in an excellent condition, this would be the most concerning question. Without a doubt, both polishing and rubbing compound target different car issues but somehow they are often inter-linked.

As a surprise, most of the car owners think there is no difference between rubbing compound vs polish but are you really sure? If you too also relate rubbing compound vs polishing compound, then this information would surely be beneficial for you.

Difference Between Rubbing Compound Vs Polishing Compound

Do you know you should always prefer using polishing compound post the rubbing compound? This will make your car look more stunning and shinning. Didn’t know this? Just like this, here are some of the other essential facts about the difference between the rubbing compound vs polishing compound.

Rubbing compounds basically targets the uneven car’s surfaces caused by scratches while on the other hand; polishing is preferably used for adding smoothness and shine to the car paint. Both will help in improving your car’s quality but in a different way.

Let us get a clear picture with some detailed information about polishing compound vs rubbing compound.

What Are Rubbing Compounds?

Talking about specifically the rubbing compounds from polishing compound vs rubbing compound, these compounds are used to level the uneven surfaces on the car’s paint. It is also called as ‘leveling compound’ as it levels the uneven surface caused due to the stretches. It could also be referred to as the beginning level of handling and taking care of the car’s paint, which can be followed by polishing compound and waxing.

Rubbing compound vs polishing compound
Best rubbing compounds to buy

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The rubbing compound will shave down the paint and will level it by smoothing the sharp and rough edges of the stretch. As the rubbing compounds are quite aggressive in nature, they can be found in varying degrees. You can choose the rubbing compound from 1000 to 5000 grit, according to your car’s needs and requirements. The different grits of the rubbing compound handle the different depths of the paint stretches.

Thus, if you want to level down the side effects of the stretches on the car’s paint, you can choose the rubbing compounds from the polishing compound vs rubbing compound. The deeper the problem, the higher is the grit value of the rubbing compound.

Benefits of rubbing compounds:

  • Easy to use
  • Quickly fixes the unevenness from the scratches
  • Requires minimal cleaning work
  • Restores old paintwork
  • Vanishes or conceals the car’s scratches
  • It is an abrasive material and thus can be found in variant grits
  • Breathes new life to the old paintwork of the car

Disadvantages of rubbing compound:

  • Requires the use of the proper technique for better results

What Is Polishing Compound?

The polishing compounds are mildly abrasive and are generally used for smoothing the paint. The polishing compounds have the ability to leave a shining and smoothing effect on the paint along with removing light scratches from the paint. However, polishing will not remove any paint scratches or defects but it will surely remove the dullness from the paint.

Rubbing compound vs polishing compound
Polishing Compounds

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In simple words, polishing compounds does what rubbing compound do but certainly at a finer level. The polishing compound out of rubbing compound vs polish helps in making the paint color pop out and shine. Thus, the polishing compounds are used after the use of the rubbing compound on the paint.

Other than this, the polishing compound cannot alone protect the paint for a long time. Also, they are limited in providing a long-lasting shining effect on the car’s paint. You may have to use paint protectant for making your car’s paint stay shinier for a long time.

Benefits of polishing compounds:

  • Provides a natural appearance to the car’s paint
  • Delivers the needed shine and gloss to the paint
  • Provides durable finishing
  • Do not require stripping
  • Can be applied using a low-speed machine
  • Not a daily affair. Used periodically

Disadvantages of polishing compounds:

  • Requires additional cleaning work
  • Can only be done by using the required types of equipment

It is often confusing to choose between rubbing compound vs polishing compound, thus the following benefits and disadvantages of both the processes will help in getting the clear picture.

Watch the video to see when to polish vs compound vs wetsand:


So, the next time you are in any dilemma about using rubbing compound vs polish, make sure that you are aware of all the related information. Both the processes are necessary at their own place and should be used without any confusion. The results from the rubbing compounds can be backed by the polishing compound for getting the smooth and shinier finishing.

Comment below any of your concerns and our experts will get back to you with the best possible details about rubbing compound vs polishing compound. Which one will you prefer? Also keep following us to get more car maintenance tips updated everyday.

  1. Yosaki says

    This makes sense, today I got scratches from my Dog. I drive a Black Suzuki Escudo and I bout Turtle Rubbing Compound. I applied it and removed it after 2 minutes, scratches disappeared. So after that I had to restore the shine with car polish. So these two work hand in hand. After using rubbing compound, apply polish.

  2. Joseph Begue says

    Just used this method on my 23 year old boat which was heavily oxidized with terrible color fade. Rubbing compound took out the scratches and brought the color back and the polishing compound shined it up beautifully. I think it’s also important to note that these compounds will absolutely strip off any wax that might be there. So it is critical, IMHO, to put a good coat or two of wax on the finish to protect it.
    Thanks for the blog

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