Tech Tip: Use Corn Starch to Restore Your Motorcycle's Paint

Polishing your bike's finish with corn starch can remove fine scratches and swirls from the paint and clear coat. From the October 2005 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. By Mark Zimmerman.

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.

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.

For more articles on how to customize, maintain and modify your motorcycle, see the Tech & Custom section of

Use very light pressure to gently brush the corn starch across the finish and polish out fine scratches.