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  • There are several ways to remove scratches using common household items like shoe polish, toothpaste, high-grit sandpaper, and car wax.
  • Removing the scratch typically involves adding the compound around the scratched area and rubbing it with a cloth.
  • You can also use other substances like candle wax, super glue, and nail polish to remove scratches from your vehicle.

Wondering how to get rid of scratches from your car on a tight budget? You don’t need to spend a lot of dollars because some solutions can be found in your home!

car scratches
There are some household items that you can use to remove scratches from your car.

How to Remove Scratches Using Common Household Items

Step 1: Wash It with Soap and Water

Examine the scuff marks on your car and make sure they’re not deep enough that they would require more advanced repair. Wash the car panel with soap and water then dry it with soft cloth.

Step 2: Apply Shoe Polish

Make sure paint scratches are visible by using a shoe polish that has a darker color compared to your car paint. Use a piece of soft cloth to apply polish and rub it over the scratch. It will spread out and fill in the scratch.

Step 3: Sand the Scratch

Mix 2 drops of liquid detergent into a bowl of cold water. Dip 2000-3000 grit sandpaper into the bowl then start sanding the affected area. Continue sanding lightly until shoe polish has been removed. Do this carefully so as not to sand down too much and damage the next layer of paint.

Step 4: Use Toothpaste

Once you’re done sanding, you can smooth out the car paint surface. First, clean the damaged area with a soft brush. A rubbing compound is normally used for this but you can also remove car scratches with toothpaste as a budget alternative. Using a piece of moist cloth, apply the toothpaste on the scratched surface and rub it in circular strokes. Repeat until the scratch has completely disappeared.

Step 5: Wax your Car

Clean the area to prepare it for waxing. Use a soft cloth to apply car wax over the area. Do it in circular strokes to produce a shine. Car wax serves as a protective layer that prevents further scratches.

red nail polish
Nail polish can cover minor car scratches.


Nail Polish

Nail polish can also be a car scratch remover. This may cover the scratches that sanding and buffing cannot remove.

Candle Wax

For minor scratches on your car’s paint, candle wax can be an option. It’s not actually a scratch remover but it can cover up light scratches. Check first if the affected area is clean before gently rubbing the candle wax onto the damaged area.

Super Glue

Super glue’s ability to blend with the surrounding surface makes it a good car scratch cover up. This serves as a transparent material that levels the minor scratch with the rest of the surrounding area.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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John F

This is a very basic “list” of materials that can be used to remove or hide scratches. More in-depth explanations on how to use each of the different products would be helpful.

Nail polish doesn’t seem all that helpful, unless the car is a particular shade Maybelline or Revlon. If the nail polish doesn’t match, trying to remove it with nail polish remover (acetone) could damage the surrounding paint, possibly making the damage even worse.

Paint touch-up pens can be purchased online to match original manufacturer paint color. The pens cost under $15, and some have dual ends, one for the paint color and the other end includes clear-coat.

You can find the original factory paint color code for your car on the RPO (Regular Production Options) sticker, located under the hood, or on the driver side door/ jamb, or sometimes in the trunk. You may need to research online to find the sticker location for your year, make and model. The available paint colors of most major car manufacturers go back to the 1960s or 1970s. In addition to the pens, the paint also comes in jars with small brushes for larger scratches or chips. And also 12oz. spray cans for even larger areas.

The orders are custom mixed to factory formulas, so you are buying new paint made to match your car — not a container that has been sitting on a shelf for 30 years.

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