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The Best Rubbing Compound for Boats in 2024

best rubbing compound for boats

Many people are afraid that the ruined surface of their marine boats will take a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, to fully recover and return to the original state. Fortunately, there is a type of restoration product called boat rubbing compound that can deal with this situation easily and quickly at a low price.

The best rubbing compound for boats currently available on the market has the ability to wipe away almost all known defections you may get on a boat surface: stains, oxidation, rusting, and scratches. A single container could be taken advantage of multiple times and put to storage for effective use later on.

That is why boat owners should definitely have one bottle of rubbing liquid for boats in-store to tackle these flaws as soon as possible. In addition, you can apply it to loads of other objects like cars and kitchen tables. So what are you waiting for? Check out this article for the finest and most helpful restoration for boats.

Best Rubbing Compound for Boat Reviews

1. 3M Marine Rubbing Compound

3m marine rubbing compound

The 3M marine super duty rubbing compound is widely suggested as an effective substance to treat heavy oxidation that has been too stubborn. It is capable of reliving even an aggressive surface, such as marine paint and oxidized gel coat, to restore the impressive appearance of your boat from the beginning.

Its premium formula is a fast-cutting one with no wax or silicone included to ensure the perfect rubbing performance on your sea transportation. Plus, this white compound can be buffed to achieve an appealing high gloss finish but still minimizes the number of possible swirl marks left after completing the job.

In addition, this substance will cling on better to painted and gel-coated boat surfaces as to create the least amount of mess. Since it consistently remains wet during your boat rubbing process, there is much less interruption. You should combine it with the 3M Marine Finesse-It II Glaze for the finest results.

Many people have praised the amazing longevity of this marine rubbing liquid, so you can put it to storage with peace of mind if the bottle hasn’t been used up yet. It is suitable for restoring mineral deposits, especially boat rusting, or cleaning light-colored boat fenders to give them back the initial luxurious look.

Although the compound is pure white, you may notice that it is likely to leave behind a rather brownish hue to the boat paint after the job. This issue is hard to explain because I believe its description states clearly as a completely white paste, without any extra color added to the substance for such a final shade.

What We Like
  • Treats aggressive, stubborn oxidation
  • Fast-cutting formula and glossy finish
  • Remains wet in use for the least mess
  • Ensures great longevity for storage
What We Don’t Like
  • May leave a brown hue post-applied

The 3M Marine Rubbing Compound is an optimal combination of what you need to eliminate stubborn oxidation and return the attractive look with a high gloss finish to your boat. Because this substance can maintain its wetness in use, there will be fewer problems relating to a paste that dries out too soon.

2. STAR BRITE Liquid Rubbing Compound

star brite liquid rubbing compound

There are two restoration levels of medium and heavy oxidation for this liquid rubbing compound by STAR BRITE. It is a high-quality substance for stains, scratches, and oxidation treatment on your favorite boat. This bottle should be one of your top choices when it comes to restoring the original boat shine and colors.

It is your choice whether to apply the substance by hand or with a buffer for the best outcome. This liquid rubbing formula performs really well on painted, fiberglass, and metal surfaces. Therefore, it can work as a useful restoration on any objects that contain such surfaces, for example, tabletops and cars.

You only need to use the restoration compound sparingly on your marine boat because a little manages to go a long way to bring back the initial shiny look. Since this substance does not require setting up like most other products on the market, it is quicker and easier to be removed from the applied surfaces.

In terms of the perfect follow-up for this boat compound, I would recommend the Premium Marine Polish from the same manufacturer. This extra support is responsible for maintaining the restored surface finish done by your bottle of compound. That way, it will not be affected by multiple impacts on the outside.

However, I see that the item may cause a loss of your desired vibrancy on a fiberglass surface. It does give the boat a shiny finish but in the end, I feel like it leaves me with a feeling of simply adding another coat of wax on fiberglass. You might want to try swiping all leftover hulls before applying the compound.

What We Like
  • Perfect for restoring shine and colors
  • Works on a wide range of surfaces
  • Can be removed easily and quickly
  • Best combined with a follow-up polish
What We Don’t Like
  • Causes a vibrancy loss on fiberglass

When it comes to the shine and color restoration of a surface, the STAR BRITE liquid rubbing compound would be an inexpensive and reliable choice to work with. While the substance removal is always the most troublesome for many other boat compounds, this item is clearly a relief being easily removed.

3. Meguiar’s M8532 Mirror Glaze Diamond Cut Compound

meguiar's m8532 mirror glaze diamond cut compound

This auto compound named M8532 Mirror Glaze from Meguiar’s provides a heavy fast-cutting with minimal swirls created during the procedure. It is made to meet the standards of a professional-level substance by undergoing strict successful testing in production shops, thus, you could rely on it for rubbing.

Although the boat rubbing compound delivers a great amount of thickness in use, its high-quality formula is low on dusting and splatter for easier cleaning afterward. It is important to have this kind of formula for your compound since you will require as little dust and splashing as possible while rubbing the boat.

The powerful marine rubbing compound offers 2 capacities including 32 ounces and a gallon. In my opinion, you should try the smaller capacity first before purchasing 1 whole gallon for a better warranty of its quality. It is ideal to apply this liquid using a rotary buffer, and it promises to be safe for body shops.

You will see that it has the ability to perform well on all transparent coats, even the high solids, enamels, lacquers, refinished, and glossy painted surfaces. It can remove the most severe types of defection such as acid rain, scratches, sanding marks, heavy swirls, and holograms on all of the mentioned surfaces.

In contrast to most beliefs about the benefits of a quick-drying feature in such liquid, this compound tends to dry up too quickly and results in a challenging removal from the applied surface. I think the manufacturer should reconsider changing its formula a little bit to support users better in removing this product.

What We Like
  • Exceeds the professional standards
  • Low both on dusting and splatter
  • Offers 2 different container capacity
  • Works well on multiple coat types
What We Don’t Like
  • Dries too quickly for easy removal

If the Meguiar’s M8532 Mirror Glaze Compound 2.0 remains wet for a longer time during an application, I can assure you that it will receive more attention. Since most of its advantages are beneficial such as professional standards or being low-dust, this detail will complete the substance and perfect it in the long run.

4. TotalBoat TotalBuff Rubbing Compound

totalboat totalbuff rubbing compound

With the powerful capability of bringing back the appealing hull on your boat, the TotalBoat TotalBuff Marine Rubbing Compound will manage to enlighten the selected surface. You can see that apart from marine boats, it is suitable for trailers, cars, trucks, and RVs, etc. as long as the surfaces are compatible.

This product is the most excellent rubbing remedy to solve your situation of reliving tired, scratched surfaces, especially to restore badly weather finishes than other shallow, one-step substances. It performs quite impressively for most users that need a thorough fiberglass or gel coat polishing compound.

The liquid enables a powerful elimination of 600/800 micro-fine wet sanding scratches, heavy oxidation, and swirl marks from common surfaces that easily get chalky and faded over time, like a painted, fiberglass, or gel coat one as mentioned earlier. Its aggressive fast-cutting formula works smoothly through them.

According to my experience, it is best to apply this rubbing substance with a variable-speed buffer that contains a wool compounding pad. If not, a bare hand application is also a good option. This substance remains wet enough in the rubbing procedure for easy removal later on, and it does not leave any film behind.

However, some previous users have reported that the rubbing compound may gum up the wool pad of your buffer and is actually not so easy to use. In my opinion, using rubbing compounds for boats is definitely not complicated. So if this item has been said to make things more difficult, it should be adjusted.

What We Like
  • Compatible with many vehicle types
  • Ideal to restore badly weather finishes
  • Gets rid of flaws on different surfaces
  • Does not leave any film afterward
What We Don’t Like
  • Gums up the wool pad of the buffer

The best thing about this TotalBoat TotalBuff Marine Rubbing Compound is the fact that it does not leave behind an annoying film layer after use. Plus, it can easily eliminate diverse types of defects on multiple surfaces, especially on fiberglass, painted, and gel coats so your application will not be restricted.

5. 3M 06044 Marine Compound

3m 06044 marine compound

The last product on this review list is an exceptional 2-in-1 combination of the marine 3M heavy-duty rubbing compound and finish polisher. As the item’s formula can work on double tasks of a compound and polish in one easy step, it will save you a serious amount of time for using one single bottle for 2 jobs.

This powerful substance treats boat and RV oxidation on different levels from light to heavy and refreshes their exteriors to reach a whole new level. It can remove scratches and swirl marks on your marine boat surface as well, with a fast-cutting formula to reduce action time for both compounding and polishing tasks.

From my perspective, you should combine this marine rubbing substance and finishing polish with an electric buffer that contains a wool compounding pad. That way, the scratch and oxidation removal process on your boat will become much more hassle-free even for a brand new user to handle and restore the surface.

As I have mentioned earlier, choosing the smallest container capacity would always be a wise decision when purchasing a new product. That is why even when the rubbing compound offers 3 different bottle sizes of 32 fluid ounce, 1 gallon, and 5 gallon, it is best for you to select the smallest to try it out first.

This problem is not common around its previous users but you may receive a rubbing compound for boats in an awful packaging. The container cap is not securely attached and may spill out its inner liquid in the box. Therefore, you should check for this downside and report to the customer service as soon as possible.

What We Like
  • Saves time with a double-duty formula
  • Removes oxidations from light to heavy
  • Fast-cutting through scratches & swirls
  • Provides 3 different container capacities
What We Don’t Like
  • Arrives with terrible packaging and spills

The 3M 06044 Marine Compound and Finishing Material is an excellent refinishing substance for a fresh year-around appearance of your boat or RV. Instead of getting 2 separate bottles for compounding and polishing, now you can own a single product that does both jobs at a time to save you time and money.

Who is this for?

best rubbing compound for fiberglass

It is clear that the reviewed rubbing compounds for boats are most suitable for boat owners. In addition, you can apply them on any other objects around the house that require a thorough cleaning to remove the blemishes, oxidation stains, fading, scratches, and scum and restore its original shine and color.

Other common objects for you to apply a rubbing compound on are kitchen tabletops, chairs, cars (such as RVs, trailers, and trucks), etc. As long as it contains the suitable surface for this restoration substance to work on, users can take full advantage of the product and not only neglected boat owners.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Rubbing Compounds for Boat

Though rubbing compounds for boats may look the same with a similar range of features for finish restoration, there are certain details for you to focus on when choosing one of them. Here is a series of the most important features to consider in any marine rubbing liquid that you should firmly acknowledge.

Applicable surfaces

As you can see from the aforementioned products, this rubbing compound for boats has the best influence on painted, fiberglass, gel coat, and metal surface types. Kitchen table tops, chairs, a wide range of cars are the most common objects that can be applied with the liquid beside boats.

You should notice the product description to find information about its primary applicable surface. For example, it can be the most beneficial rubbing compound for fiberglass but not a suitable substance to apply on a gel coat one. It may still have an effect on the gel coat surface but will certainly not be as effective as fiberglass.

Removal ability

Understanding the removal ability of a rubbing compound for boats will help you know the specific kind of flaws it treats. A marine boat has a tendency to meet oxidation, scratches, dirty stains, and rusting in use, or being neglected after a long time. This liquid is able to deal with them all.

Similar to the applicable surfaces, each rubbing substance for marine boats will offer a different defection removal ability. Some might be helpful in solving severe oxidation and stains, but not powerful enough to eliminate scratches. You will need to review the description in advance to be aware of this feature.

Compatible treatment

Even the treatment power of a rubbing compound for boats is a relevant factor to think about. There are certain levels of compatible treatment on your boat surface that this substance can offer: light, medium to heavy. It implies the ability to tackle which condition of the surface defections.

Getting to know this detail before buying helps most users avoid complaining about the rubbing liquid not being able to remove aggressive spots. Perhaps it is only effective when it comes to new, shallow stains and scratches, and this is what you should know clearly for the cleaning compound to perform its best.

All of the mentioned features to consider in rubbing compounds for boats will require your thoughtful acknowledgement about the product in advance before deciding to purchase. They will be clearly displayed on the bottle label or the description for your convenience, so make sure you do not miss out on this information.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Rubbing Compound for Boats

liquid rubbing compound

Aside from the crucial features to focus on when buying rubbing compounds for boats above, it is best to let you know both of the benefits and downsides of this cleaning substance. You should understand what it can provide and also the possible problems that it may cause during your application on boats.


  • Restores the original paint colors and a shiny hull
  • Removes stubborn scratches, stains, and oxidation
  • Versatile applications by hand, machine, and buffer
  • Remains wet enough throughout the process


  • Causes eye & skin irritation if made direct contact with
  • Cannot be swallowed under all circumstances
  • Leaves an awful layer of film after the application

Care and maintenance

Taking care of a gel coat rubbing compound does not require much time and effort because it is already stored inside a sealed container. However, you still need to look after the liquid bottle carefully to avoid external impacts from doing any harm to its inner component. These are a few helpful tips for caring.

You ought to ensure that it always comes with a tightly closed cap after use so the substance will not be spilled out by accident. This bottle should be placed in a dry environment with normal room temperature to preserve the condition. Any changes to the compound will result in a decrease in its effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Most Trustworthy Rubbing Compound for Fiberglass?

In comparison to other products in this article, I think that the Meguiar’s M8532 Mirror Glaze Compound 2.0 is the best fiberglass rubbing compound. Its professional performance is able to provide a great amount of thickness while still being low both on dusting and splatter to avoid making a mess out of your work.

This high-quality rubbing compound for fiberglass boat can function well on multiple types of surfaces like enamel, painted, gel coated to treat diverse flaws including oxidation, scratches, swirl, and sanding marks. If it is not this substance to apply on your fiberglass surface, I will not suggest any other one.

How to Use Rubbing Compounds with a Buffer?

After color sanding a certain surface, the next important step is to buff and smooth its fresh paint. A rubbing compound plays the main role in this process so learning how to use this restoration substance for boats with a buffer is a must. You will receive the most satisfying results on the selected surface later on.

First, you should apply a rubbing compound ribbon of around 5 inches to the foam or wool pad for buffing boat. The ideal operation level of your buffer should be medium or medium/high. Rest the pad on the painted surface but use the weight of the machine only. Activate the buffer slowly to prevent slinging.

I would recommend working on an area of 2 square feet at a time and in at least 3 different directions. Meanwhile, it is advisable to overlap your buffing path by approximately 50%. During the procedure, apply more compound as required so you can keep this working marine boat surface wet enough at all times.

After all of these steps, you should wipe this area with a damp cloth made out of soft microfiber. Give the compounded surface a clear check by comparing its paint with an untreated zone. You can continue to work on other areas after successfully removing the existing defects. The last step is to polish this fresh surface well.

Can Rubbing Compound Removes Scratches?

The answer is yes, a rubbing compound is capable of removing scratches on a boat surface. Basically, this special substance is an abrasive material and it grinds the dull, damaged painted layer off of your aimed surface. In the end, it will create another smooth finish and eliminate all old scratches like a dream.


In conclusion, any car and boat owner should at least experience the best rubbing compound for boats once to fix the damaged surface and restore its original beauty. It will help you out a lot in preserving the boat surface with a reasonable budget and not much invested time. Thank you for reading.

5/5 - (21 votes)

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