Polishing Compounds Colors: A Complete Guide


Do you want to maintain your jewelry, metal surfaces, or even cars with a high-luster finish? If you do, then the answer is polishing compounds. However, shining compounds’ colors can be a little confusing.

They are made for different purposes and come in a variety of colors. 

In this article, we will explore what polishing compounds do, their categories, and their different colors. In addition, we will provide a short guide to the polishing process.

What Do Polishes Do?

Cloth and Polishing Compound

Cloth and Polishing Compound

You can use polishing compounds to remove light scratches and oxidation from surfaces. They are abrasive compounds that return dull or slightly rough surfaces to a brilliant shine. 

They do this by removing microscopic layers of materials. 

Polishing Compound Categories

There are different categories of polishing compounds depending on their intended uses. Here, we present a short explanation of each. 


Tripolis polish, often referred to as cutting compound, is the coarsest buffing compound. In most cases, they are used to create semi-gloss finishes.

Additionally, people use them as the first step toward creating much shinier finishes. Tripoli polishes do an excellent job of removing emery marks, light scratches, and oxidation.


Intermediate metal polishing compounds provide the soft gleam found on stainless steel countertops. While tripolis compounds leave a slightly dull finish, intermediates offer a bit of luster. They still cut fairly aggressively but have a finer grit than Tripolis.

Finishing Rouges

Next, finishing rouge is also known as finishing compound. The most exemplary polishing compounds, finishing rouges, create a high-luster finish. 

Commonly-Used Polishing Compounds Colors

Yellow Polishing Compound in Black Can

Yellow Polishing Compound in Black Can

This section will outline the different colors of polishing compounds and how to use them. 

Tripoli Brown Polishing Compound

You use a brown polishing compound to create a soft luster finish. The most common uses include polishing soft metals such as Aluminum, copper, and brass. You can even use it on wood.

Green Polishing Compound

The green polishing compound is often called stainless steel polish. It provides a soft sheen and is a favorite compound for knives and commercial kitchen equipment. Its most common use is on stainless. 

White Polishing Compound

The white polishing compound is more acceptable than green, most commonly used on stainless and harder metals. It also provides a bit more shine. Another frequent use for white combinations is an intermediate step towards a mirror finish.

Greystar Polishing Compound

Mainly used by jewelers, the grey star compound brings out the colors of precious metals.

Blue Polishing Compound

Use a blue polishing compound to put a soft luster on synthetic materials, plastics, and softer metals.

Pink Polishing Compound

Pink is considered a dual-purpose buffing compound used for the final stage of polishing soft metals. However, you can also use it as the final polish on harder metals.

Black Polishing Compound

Most often used to polish steel, brass, copper, Aluminum, and similar metals.

Aluminum Polishing Compound

Used to polish Aluminum and other soft metals.

Yellow Polishing Compound

This dry compound is popular in the jewelry industry and puts a high sheen on gold, silver, and platinum.

Gold Polishing Compound

Jewelers and metalworkers alike use gold polish to achieve a high gloss finish.

Fabulustre Polishing Compound

A dry compound that produces a mirror-like finish

Zam Polishing Compound

A brand of polish consists of a mix of aluminum and chromium. Most often used to buff the metal.

How to Use Polishing Compounds

Man Polishing Golf Club

Man Polishing Golf Club

What You Will Need

Buffing pad, soft cloth, or similar item

Polishing compound 

Buffer or polishing wheel (optional but nice)

Polishing Steps

Mechanical Buffer

Mechanical Buffer

1. Identify your material- as noted, different compounds are better suited for other materials. You must know what you are polishing.

2. Asses surface condition- The condition of the surface to be polished will help you know what color of polishing compound (grit) to use.

3. Choose your polishing compound- Choose the least aggressive compound with the above information.

4. Apply Polishing compound- Place a mixture on your cloth or buffing pad. It doesn’t take much. In this case, less is more.

5. Using a circular motion, work your way up and down the surface, applying even pressure. If using a mechanical buffer, be sure to keep it moving. Otherwise, you may burn the surface.

6. If satisfied with the results, clean the surface and finish. If you want a higher shine, go to a less aggressive (higher grit) compound and repeat steps 4-6.


There you go, an essential guide to all you need to know about polishing compound colors. As always, we look forward to hearing from you at NC Cutting Tools for more tips.

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