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How to Polish White Paint Vs. Black Paint

When it comes to correcting paint defects in your paint, be it scratches, swirls, or etchings, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before you undergo such a task. This is because every paint job on each car is different. Even two cars that are the same make and model, manufactured in the same factory, and painted on the same day will need two very different paint correction processes. While there are far too many things to consider for us to flesh them all out in this article, we will focus on the factor that you may not have considered important. Paint color.

Being that you don't remove scratches from the paint, just the clearcoat, why would the paint color of a car change the process that you need to use to take out scratches and swirls? Well, it doesn't really have anything to do with the paint itself, but more so how light interacts with the paint. In order to outline how and why that is, we are going to give you a short science lesson.

"Color" is actually just light that is reflected off of a surface. The "color" of a surface is based on which wavelengths of light that surface absorbs and which wavelengths it reflects. There are "cones" in our eyes that respond to different wavelengths of light. Depending on which "cones" are triggered, tells the brain which "color" to "see". Color is a spectrum, spanning from White on one end to Black on the other. White reflects all light wavelengths back to your eye, whereas black absorbs all light wavelengths. This is where the major difference comes in. If you are looking at a surface that is reflecting all light wavelengths back at you, it is going to be pretty difficult to pick out the one spot on the surface that is reflecting back a little less light. However, if you are looking at a surface that is not reflecting any light back, you will quickly be able to see the small spot that is reflecting back any light at all.

For example, look at these two pictures:

The line is the exact same color in both images, but it is MUCH easier to see on the image with the black background! The same thing is true for black paint vs. white paint! Scratches are much easier to see on black paint.

So, what does this mean for a person trying to remove scratches from their paint? It means that when you are working on white paint, you don't need to work nearly as hard. You can probably get away with just a mildly abrasive polish to remove the scratches and swirls and call it done. If you have severe damage, you can use our Wolfgang Uber Compound, followed up with our Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover to get a nice glossy looking finish. If your surface is in relatively good condition and all you need to do is knockout some minor swirling, Wolfgang Total Swirl Remover alone will be able to do the trick.

Now, what about black paint? Black paint will make every miniscule scratch stick out like a sore thumb. This means that you even have to correct the very minor pad haze that is left over after you polish the paint. As a rule of thumb, if you are polishing out black paint, make sure to finish off with Wolfgang Finishing Glaze to get the very last of those defects and make sure that it is perfectly level and smooth!

While we used white and black as extremely examples, this applies to colors that are quite dark, but not quite black. To help you decide whether or not you need to finish it off with Wolfgang Finishing Glaze, here is a diagram that should help out.

If the color is outside the black circle, play it safe and use Wolfgang Finishing Glaze:

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