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How To Wetsand Car Paint

Difficulty Level: Advanced 


If you have a paint defect that is severe enough to penetrate deep into the layers of paint, the only way to correct the issue is by wetsanding. Wetsanding is literally sanding with wet sandpaper. It's less abrasive than sanding with dry sandpaper but it's still extremely abrasive. It's definitely a lot more abrasive than using the most abrasive compound polish. However, when applied correctly, it is indispensable as a corrective application. Here are the types of situations that call for wetsanding:


What You'll Need:



Before proceeding, understand that wet sanding requires a lot of patience and care. Further damage can result from improper application. Read this tutorial completely before proceeding to familiarize yourself with the entire procedure. If you are uncertain about attempting the procedure, please consult with a professional detailer.

Step 1

With your car in the shade, clean the affected area making sure the surface is clean. You don't want to sand a surface that has dirt, driving the dirt into the surface causing further damage.

Step 2

Fill a wash bucket with water and add a couple of drops of car shampoo to add some lubricity. Do not put more than a few drops - you don't want the water to be sudsy. Place a sheet of the sandpaper in the water and allow to soak for about 30 minutes.

Step 3

Your car should still be in the shade but make sure you have ample lighting so you can see the progress of your work. After the sandpaper has been allowed to soak, wrap around backing pad to give a flat, even pressured surface. Using the spray bottle, wet the damaged paint surface. Dunk the sandpaper/backing pad into the water solution and then lightly sand the paint finish. Sand in an up and down direction - not circular. Maintain even pressure and let the sandpaper do the work. After several passes on the paint, wet the paint with clear water (using spray bottle). This will allow you to clear away the sanding paint and see what you have done. Keep in mind the sanded area will have a completely matte finish (zero gloss). This is normal so don't panic. You're looking to see if the damage has been removed. We'll restore the gloss later.

Keep sanding the area until the defect you are removing is completely gone. Remember to regularly spray the surface with water while sanding. You'll want to stop sanding as soon as the defect is gone. Remember, you're removing paint so be mindful of the progress you're making.

Step 4

After you've removed the defect, spray the surface with water to remove any remaining sand grit and paint residue. Then dry the surface with a lint-free cloth such as a microfiber towel.

Step 5

With the defect removed, it's time to restore the gloss. Using either Extra Scratch Remover or Intensive Paste, polish the area with a cotton towel or preferably, a polishing machine. Polish the area until the sanding scratches are gone. This can require several passes with polish so take your time. This will also restore most of the gloss to the paint.

Step 6

After polishing with Extra or Intensive Paste, the paint finish will have compound polish abrasions left from the polish. Using Paint Polish, polish the surface using a cotton towel until you achieve a deeper, smoother finish. This might require two to three applications. When completed, the surface should look significantly improved with the majority of the defect removed. Notice how we are starting from the most abrasive (sandpaper) and working our way down to the least abrasive (Paint Polish) constantly reducing the abrasion in the paint until it's finer and finer.

Step 7

For the best finish (and one that is protected), seal the finish with a protective layer of Glanz Wax. Glanz Wax will protect the paint against oxidation, UV rays, bird droppings, acid rain, road grime and any other contaminants.

If you have any questions, contact us!