Removing Swirls in Your Motorcycle's Paint

A household product can help get the swirl out

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my motorcycle’s paint work, I’m pretty picky. I go through a regular regime of cleaning, polishing and waxing, including using a fine scratch remover to prevent any swirls from appearing in the clearcoat.

Removing swirls from motorcycle paint with corn starch
You can remove pesky swirls with corn starch, just try it on an inconspicuous area first to make sure the results are what you want.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

Not too long ago I was whining over the high cost of commercial swirl removers when my buddy Pete suggested I use a little corn starch to remove the fine lines instead of the more expensive polish. “Well, Pete,” I said, “I’ve heard of doing that, but I’ve never actually tried it myself. What’s the deal?” “It’s like this,” he replied. “After the bike has been washed and buffed, you sprinkle a little cornstarch over the paint. Use a perfectly clean piece of toweling and very light pressure to gently brush the starch across the finish. The ultra-fine abrasiveness of the cornstarch will polish out the swirls in the clearcoat without actually cutting through it. Blow the residue off when you’re done, then throw a little wax at her. She’ll be swirl-free and shining like a new penny in no time.”

*A word to the wise: Try this on a hidden portion of the paint first just in case the results aren’t what you expected.


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