Rubbing Compound Won’t Come Off? [5 Easy to Follow Methods to Remove it]

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Did you just buff your car to get rid of scratches? But the rubbing compounds dried out and gave your car an ugly look. It’s pathetic when you’re trying to revive your car’s look but get a dull look instead. What’s worse is that the rubbing compound isn’t coming off.

So, what to do when the rubbing compound won’t come off?

You can scrub off the rubbing compound in 6 ways when the rubbing compound doesn’t come off. These 6 methods are removing rubbing compounds with soap water, diluting rubbing alcohol, using a buffing pad, using a polishing compound, spraying degreaser, and using vegetable oil. 

All of these methods are described in the article in detail. So, keep reading to find out the most convenient method for you.    

Why Doesn’t Rubbing Compound Come Off Easily?

The rubbing compound doesn’t come off easily because of 5 reasons. These reasons are described below:

Why Doesn’t Rubbing Compound Come Off
Source: Turtle Wax

Reason 1: Abrasive Nature

Rubbing compound doesn’t come off easily due to their abrasive nature. It’s used for buffing and smoothening car paint. If you have scratches on your car body, the rubbing compound can immediately fix the paint.

Reason 2: High Temperature

Another reason the rubbing compound doesn’t come off is the high temperature. The compound acts like an adhesive under heat. So, it becomes hard to remove rubbing compound particles from the hot area of the car.

Reason 3: Strong Solution

The main ingredients of rubbing compounds are grain, binders, and water. These three elements combinedly create a strong solution that is hard to get rid of. Sometimes you’ll see the rubbing compound as dried-off particles, and sometimes they create a haze-like texture after using it.  

Reason 4: Dirt and Debris

The rubbing compound haze results from buffing the car with a dirty cloth. The dirt and compound react together and produce a haze-like appearance. It’s like when fingerprints are hard to get rid of the car. That’s why removing rubbing compounds with only water wipes is difficult.

Reason 5: Excessive Amount of Rubbing Compound

Using more compounds than required also leaves dried-out stains on the car paint. This leaves room for confusion about whether the extra compound will damage the car paint.

Reason 6: The Rubbing Compound is Too Thick or Dry

While making the rubbing compound solution, you should make sure it is diluted at the correct ratio. If it’s too much thick, the compound will not buff the car well. It’ll leave dried particles on the car paint. As a result, it won’t come off.

Reason 7: Uneven Application of Rubbing Compound

When you’re applying rubbing compound the application must be even on the whole car. By applying rubbing compound unevenly, it creates residue that makes your car unattractive. This excess compound gets stuck on the car and is hard to get rid of.

Reason 8: Improperly Prepared Surface

Another reason the rubbing compound doesn’t come off easily is unprepared surface. If you haven’t followed the steps properly before buffing the car, this means the car surface is not ready for buffing. And by applying rubbing compound on that surface leads to residue problems.  

How to Get Rubbing Compound Off Your Car?

You can follow different methods to get the rubbing compound off your car. Different tools and solutions such as soap water, buffing pad, diluted rubbing alcohol, polishing compound, and vegetable oil are effective in doing the job. 

In the following segments, I’ll describe each method so that you can choose your convenient style. So, keep reading to get rid of the rubbing compound off your car.   

MethodsTime ConsumptionDifficulty
Old Soap and Water2-3 hoursEasy
Buffing Pad4-5 hoursEasy
Rubbing Alcohol and Water 1-2 hoursMedium 
Polishing Compound1-2 hoursDifficult
Degreaser2-3 hoursEasy
Vegetable Oil or Peanut Butter4-5 hoursDifficult

Method 1: Using Old Soap and Water

The first method you should try is scrubbing off the excess compound with soap and water. It’s the most inexpensive method that you can do without any prior experience. Simply follow the steps below to remove the rubbing compound.

  • First, take a bucket full of water and a scoop of old soap. 
  • Take a soft sponge and soak it in soap water.
  • After that, scrub the rubbing compound with the sponge.
  • Then, rinse the scrubbed rubbing compound with fresh water.
  • Finally, dry the area, and it’ll shine as usual.

Now, sometimes soap water doesn’t work effectively when the compound is heavily stained. It’s probably because you’ve used too much compound while buffing. 

Method 2: Using a Buffing Pad

By using a buffing pad, you can easily get rid of the excess rubbing compound. So, whenever you notice the dried-off rubbing compound particles, you should start the buffing process again. 

But this time, use a buffing pad to wipe out any dust from the car paint. This will help you to remove rubbing compounds and give the car a smooth, finished look.

Method 3: Using Rubbing Alcohol and Water Solution

Rubbing alcohol is also effective in removing stains caused by rubbing compounds. All you have to do is simply add water to it and dilute the alcohol. Then apply it over the stains and wash the car with clean water.

It’s like using rubbing alcohol to remove silicone from car paint.   

However, remember that rubbing alcohol can damage the car paint if it’s kept on for a long time or if the ratio of alcohol is more than the water. That’s why you should spray the mixture lightly on the stained surface and rub it gently. 

Your goal here should be to remove the haze but not the paint. So, you should be careful if you choose this method of removing rubbing compounds. 

Amazon Basics 99% Isopropyl Alcohol First Aid For Technical Use,

Method 4: Using Polishing Compound

Another great technique to remove rubbing compounds is to use polishing compounds after buffing the car. What a polishing compound does is clear out all the smudges and evens out the surface.

You have to apply it immediately after buffing the car body. The polishing compound creates a fresh outlook for the car by removing all the excess rubbing compounds.  

Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover

Method 5: Using Degreaser Spray

Using Degreaser Spray

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable option, degreaser sprays are the best. They are heavy-duty grease or stain removing compounds. They also work tremendously well for scrubbing of rubbing compound.

Simply, you have to spray the degreaser on the dried or hazy rubbing compound area. Let it sit for a while and then wipe it off with a clean microfiber towel. After that, you should wash your car with clean water. You’ll see the rubbing compound mess is totally gone. 

Method 6: Using Vegetable Oil Or Peanut Butter

Interestingly, vegetable oil and creamy peanut butter act against rubbing compounds. The scientific theory behind this process is yet unknown, but many people have found this method effective. 

Now, you don’t have to use vegetable oil and peanut butter together. You can use either of these two elements. This is like a DIY tactic for cleaning car windows. 

Here’s how you can apply this DIY technique to remove the rubbing compound from your car’s surface.

  • First, scoop some peanut butter or vegetable oil and apply directly on the stained area.
  • Let it sit for several minutes. There will be a chemical reaction between the butter or oil and the rubbing compound.
  • Then, take a soft bristle brush and scrub the area gently.
  • After that, wash the stained area with warm water and clean all the residue. 
  • Finally, dry it off using a clean microfiber towel. 

So, this is how you can get rid of the rubbing compound that’s stained on your car paint.    

Is Rubbing Compound Harmful to Car Paint? 

Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover

No, rubbing compound isn’t harmful to car paint. Even if your car has rubbing compound residue or haze, it won’t damage the car paint at all. In fact, a rubbing compound is used for concealing any scratches on the car paint. It helps to revive the paint and give your car a fresh look. 

However, when you’re using an excessive amount of rubbing compound, you’ll notice dried-off particles on the car. It’ll make your car surface dull and dingy. 

And you won’t want your new car to look old and dull, do you? So, you must take the necessary steps to remove rubbing compounds from your car paint.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the rubbing compound take off the clear coat?

Yes, rubbing compounds can take off clear coat scratches from the car. But make sure you’re using the appropriate amount of rubbing compound. Or else the rubbing compound will leave stains.

What comes after rubbing compound?

The polishing compound comes after the rubbing compound. You need to polish the car for a final glossy look. 

How many times can you compound a car?

You should compound a car twice per year. Avoid over-compounding your car or else it will lose its glossy look over time. The car paint will become dingy. 

Final Words

So, now you know what to do when rubbing compound won’t come off your car body. You can simply apply one of the tactics described in the article. Try to follow the methods step-by-step as described. Hopefully, you’ll be able to scrub off the rubbing compound quite easily. Best of luck!

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I am a professional automotive and car mechanic. I have been in the industry for 15+ years. At the moment I have 3 garages. Every day dozens of cars come to our repair shops that are damaged in a very short period of time. The main reason for this is not taking a proper care of the car.

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