The Basics of Rouge Polishing Compounds

The Basics of Rouge Polishing Compounds

Jeff Westover ·

The surface areas of all vehicles are subject to the elements and road wear that takes once-new shiny surfaces and makes them dull and lifeless.

A good wash helps. But if you want to restore that new shine look or to give your surfaces a show-quality finish you will want to use a specific polish. That’s where rouge polishing compounds come in.

Rouge Polishing Compounds

Polishing compounds come in grades like sand paper and they are designed to remove layers of coatings in your finish that become scratched over time.

The compounds strip off or “cut” layers where micro surface scratches dull the finish.

Polishing compounds are made with various grades of grain mixed with waxes, grease and other smooth fillers that are applied with buffing wheels, which are also graded for the aggressiveness of their application.

Using the right grade of polishing compound with a buffing wheel suited for the surface can make restoring a show-quality shine easy.

Polishes and their applications are noted by color:

Course Grade and General Purpose Polishing Compounds

Brown Tripoli is designed for its general-purpose use for both buffing and polishing work. The compound can easily cut and remove scratches while leaving a smooth finish. It is the best compound to use on softer metals like brass, copper, aluminum and various pot metals. It can also be safely used on things like stainless steel and wood surfaces, giving the wood a lustrous finish when you are done. This rouge is the industry standard for basic polishing.

Black Magic, an old industry standard, is a courser general-purpose compound. It too is great for aluminum or stainless steel. It is made as a starter finish for restoring dull surfaces to their original shine.

Secondary Polishing Compounds

Green or Moss rouge is used for secondary cutting, mostly for aluminum or stainless steel surfaces. This is a finer finishing rouge than the Tripoli Brown and is intended for use with softer wheels for deep luster and sharper clarity.

Max Red finish rouge is a finer grade of polish, also for aluminum or stainless steel surfaces. Great with cotton cutting wheels. Good for brass, copper, gold and even plastic.

Slate gray rouges is a mid-range compound used for both cut and color. Use with secondary Cut  Airway Buffing Wheels or the Sewn Cotton Muslin Buffing Wheels for beautiful shine.

Finish Grade Polishing Compounds

Blue Moon finish compound is a “jeweler’s finish” compound intended for detailed polish of multiple types of surfaces and metal finishes.  This is a very finish general purpose polishing compound.

White rouge is a final finish polish intended for Aluminum, Stainless and Chrome. It is intended for high luster shine on extremely reflective surfaces.

How to Use Polishing Compounds and Buffing Tools

There is an art to using polishing compounds and buffing tools correctly. Here is a brief tutorial from Zephyr, the industry leader in these products:

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