How to Remove Scratches from a Car?

Most of us like to keep our cars neat and tidy. Car owners take special care to keep both the interiors and the exteriors of their cars clean and shining like new ones. While it's easy to remove the dust off the surface of a car by spraying some water on it, we do get once in a while some dents and scratches on the body of the car that appear from nowhere, even after taking utmost care.

It can be quite painful if you see a dent or a scratch on your car (especially a new car), but visiting a car repair shop to fix every minor dent and scratch can burn a hole in your pocket. To fix simple over−the−surface scratches, you don't really need to take your car to an expert. In this tutorial, we will show you some simple DIY hacks that you can use at home to fix the scratches on your car.

Types of Car Scratches

Before setting out to fix a scratch yourself, it is important that you have a clear idea about the type of scratch you are dealing with and how severe it is.

The severity of a scratch depends on how many layers of the paintwork is actually affected. The paintwork on a Car normally consists of three coats or layers− the "primer" which is the bottom−most layer, the "base paint" which is at the middle, and on top of it, we have the surface layer that is known the "topcoat".

Based on their severity, car scratches can be grouped into three different categories−

  • Minor Scratches − Such scratches are barely there and hardly noticeable. A minor scratch just scrapes the topcoat only minutely. They are also known as "clear coat scratches". You can almost overlook them, however, if you decide to fix such a scratch, it is quite easy and you can do it on your own by using some simple steps which we are going to discuss in this tutorial.

  • Paint Scratches − These scratches are deeper than minor scratches, as they scrape multiple layers of car coating beyond the topcoat. It is slightly difficult and time−consuming to fix such scratches at home, however it is still manageable if you have a Paint Scratch Repair Kit at your disposal.

  • Deep Scratches − Deep scratches are the most difficult ones to manage because they go deep down to the Primer level of coating and expose the metal surface. There are ways to fix such scratches at home, but you need to be extra careful with these methods. If the scratch is a deep one, we recommend that you take the car to an auto−repair shop and seek professional help.

Now, let's see the DIY methods to fix these different types of scratches.

Method 1− A Gentle Wash for Mild Superficial Scratches

Use this method if your car has only mild superficial scratches that have barely scraped the topcoat.

Step 1 − First, spray some water over the surface of the scratch. Dip a microfiber cloth in a solution of liquid detergent and then scrub the area of the scratch with the soft cloth.

Step 2 − Finally, spray some more clean water and wipe it with a clean soft cloth and let it dry.

This is the simplest of cleaning techniques and you should follow this cleaning method once in a while, even when your car is completely scratch−free.

Note − In case you are using powdered−detergent, make sure that it is completely dissolved in water. Else, you may end up getting fresh scratches on the surface while scrubbing it with the microfiber cloth.

Method 2− Use White Toothpaste to Remove Mild Scratches

You can consider using white toothpaste to remove shallow scratches that are limited to the topcoat of paint. Avoid using colored gel toothpastes because they may discolor the surface paint.

Step 1 − First, wash the scratched surface with clean water and wipe it dry with a clean soft microfiber cloth.

Step 2 − Squeeze a bit of white toothpaste onto the microfiber cloth and scrub it gently on the surface of the scratch in a circular motion.

Step 3 − Let the toothpaste remain on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes and then wipe it off.

Decide the quantity of the toothpaste based on the size of the scratch. This method is quite effective in removing surface−level mild scratches.

Method 3− Use a Scratch Remover to Cleanse Surface Scratches

You can use Scratch Removers to get rid of mild scratches that appear on the topcoat. These products are available in both liquid and spray form. You can easily get one of these at your nearest supermarket or an automotive store. Scratch Removers cleanse the surface scratches and blend perfectly well with the rest of the topcoat.

Step 1 − If you choose to use this method, then first of all, wash the affected area and wipe it clean.

Step 2 − Spray a generous amount of Scratch Remover and let it stay on the surface for 2 to 3 minutes. Finally, take a microfiber cloth and scrub the affected area gently, which will allow the liquid to get absorbed and remove the scratches.

Once the scratches fade away, wax and polish the car to get a smooth finish. Note that Scratch Removers are mild polishing agents and they won't give you satisfactory results if your car has deep scratches.

Method 4− Fixing Paint Scratches at Home

If you don't pay attention to a Paint Scratch on your car, then it may aggravate overtime. Since a paint scratch is deep enough to expose the metal part, leaving it for too long will eventually rust the metal body of the affected area.

If you have a Paint Scratch Repair Kit at home, then you can fix a Paint Scratch on your own. Follow the steps given below−

Step 1 − Gently scrub the affected area with a sandpaper until the scratched part is no longer visible. Wipe and clean the area with a soft microfiber cloth.

Step 2 − Take the Polishing Pad from the Repair Kit and spray some Rubbing Compound over the Pad. Now use the Pad to spread the rubbing compound over the scratched area.

Next, run the polisher over the affected area until you see a light haze. End the process by scrubbing the Polishing Compound over the surface to get the original shine.

Method 5− Fixing Deep Car Scratches

Deep scratches are the most difficult ones to handle. Consider fixing such scratches at home only if you have all the necessary tools available and some level of expertise in handling those tools. You need to have the color spray (car's matching color), a primer spray, car wax, sandpaper, polishing pad, masking tape, and a soft microfiber cloth.

Step 1 − Rub the sandpaper on the scratched area until you remove the paint completely from that portion and see the car’s metal portion. Be gentle while using the sandpaper because you don't want to introduce any new scratches. Next, you need to apply the primer but before that, use the masking tape and paper to cover the other parts of the car. Now, spray the primer on the affected area and let it dry.

Step 2 − After the primer dries up, the next step is to apply the matching car paint on the scratched portion. Spray a generous amount of matching paint and let it dry. Put a bit of car wax on the polishing pad and rub it over the newly painted area until it matches with the rest of the surface. It's a good practice to rub the polishing pad in a circular motion.

Sanding the affected area, applying the primer and spraying the matching are not as easy as they may sound. If you are not comfortable using these tools, then we don't recommend that you tackle such deep scratches on your own.


We discussed multiple methods in this tutorial that you can use to cover the scratches on your car. So, the next time you discover a scratch on your car, try to find out how severe it is, and then decide whether you can fix the issue at home before seeking an expert.