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How to Formulate Car Polish

by Carla Boulianne

Commercial car polishes are not only expensive, they can be hazardous to the environment and the user's health. The material safety data sheet for one popular brand of car polish containing mineral spirits and petroleum distillates lists irritation to eyes and skin along with nausea as possible hazards. Are there safe, do-it-yourself car polish formulations that save money? Unlike many formulations on the Internet containing turpentine and other hazardous ingredients, these three metal polish recipes from Linda Mason Hunter and Lisa Halpin's "Green Cleen" (ISBN 13: 978-1-59591-004-2) will keep metal car surfaces shining without toxic polishes.

Toothpaste Auto Polish

Step 1

Wipe regular white toothpaste over the metal surface. Do not use gel toothpastes.

Step 2

Rub with a soft cloth.

Step 3

Remove excess car polish with a wet rag.

Buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Vinegar Car Polish to Remove Tarnish

Step 1

Soak a cloth in vinegar and drape over the tarnished area for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Wipe off area with a damp rag.

Buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Stainless Steel Car Polish

Step 1

Mix baking soda into a thick paste by adding a small amount of water.

Step 2

Rub baking soda car polish on stainless steel surfaces.

Clean with a wet rag.

Auto Polish Formula for Rust Stains

Step 1

Rub rust stains with aluminum foil.

Step 2

Mix three parts cream of tartar with one part hydrogen peroxide.

Step 3

Wipe rust spots with the car polish paste.

Buff off with a clean cloth after the paste has dried.


  • Environmentally safe car polish formulas are surprisingly effective with a bit of elbow grease. Rub hard.


  • Other do-it-yourself car product formulas are available under additional resources, but these may contain ingredients hazardous to the environment and human health.

Items you will need

  • Toothpaste
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Wet rags
  • Clean cloths

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