How to Remove Polishing Compound

by Susan E. Johnson
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Detailing a beloved vehicle is a practice in patience. Washing, buffing, and polishing by hand take hours of attention to detail to achieve that pristine shine much coveted by car enthusiasts. Even the most attentive owner will sometimes find a bit of polishing compound that has dried in a hard to clean area. Cracks, crevices and textured plastics are prime hiding places for these stubborn compounds. Removing them, however, can be done without ruining the shine you worked so hard to achieve.

Step 1

Wet an old or soft bristle toothbrush with warm water and gently brush the dried polishing compound to re-wet and remove it. This is particularly helpful on textured areas or areas that have small amounts of compound on them. The soft bristles of the brush will not scratch the surrounding paint if used gently. Wipe away any residue with a lint-free cloth.

Step 2

Apply a small amount of either vegetable oil or creamy peanut butter to clean away more stubborn deposits of compound. Spread the vegetable oil or peanut butter lightly over the compound and allow it to soften the compound for a few minutes. Wash away with warm water and a towel. You will have to rewash this area of the vehicle, so it is recommended that you start with very small amounts.

Step 3

Fill the reservoir of a handheld steamer, like the ones used for household cleaning, with clean water and allow it to heat. Use a small width spray tip to wet the polishing compound quickly that is left in cracks or crevices that cannot be reached with any other cleaning tools. Wipe away the residue with a lint-free cloth and repeat until compound has been completely removed.

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