How to Polish a Turd

It’s a well-known saying that ‘You can’t polish a turd’. The generally accepted definition of this term is an ‘unconvincing attempt to make a bad situation look good’. In other words, the situation is so bad, you just can’t make it look any better, even with polish (or some other superficial improvement).

Of course, there might be some situations where you’d generally want to polish a turd!

Why Polish a Turd?

If you can think of something, you can be pretty sure there’s a hobby out there involving it. Not that we’d like to imply that there are people out there who take pleasure in trying to polish turds (though there probably are), but there are all sorts of hobbyists in the world and plenty of weird and wonderful things to do in your spare time.

But why would you want to polish a turd? It might make an interesting gift? A good joke present for your boss perhaps? Some people go as far as preserving and petrifying poo as a memento (of their child or pet).

How to Polish a Turd?

Some have suggested that the best way to polish a turd is to dry it out, petrify it and use a rotary tumbler to smooth the surface and create a sheen, but there are other techniques.

Interestingly, the Japanese have a hobby that involves the polishing of clumps of mud. Known as ‘dorodango’ this hobby involves forming mud and dirt into a ball, using water and hand-kneading to keep the shape. Once the ‘mud dumpling’ (literal translation) is hardened, it can then be further polished by hand.

The creations of dorodango are proudly displayed as a testament to the effort that went into them.

It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that this technique could equally be applied to polishing a turd. In fact the American television show MythBusters set about doing just that with interesting (high-gloss) results:


Turd Polishing Techniques

If you watch the MythBusters episode, you’ll see the application of the art of dorodango works well when applied to polishing a turd. The turd polishing technique is relatively simple, though it does take time and effort.

  1. Find a suitable turd – Animal turd is likely to be less offensive to the senses due to a less varied diet (e.g. a cow pat might be the result of only eating grass). In MythBusters they use an Ostrich turd and Lion droppings – it’s doubtful you’d be able to lay your hands on such a thing.
  2. Break the turd up into manageable pieces – breaking it down will make it easier to manage. Try to think of it as dirt, it will make the polishing task more bearable.
  3. Add water – how much water you will need to add will probably depend on the consistency of the turd and the result you are trying to achieve. Add the water to the turd and knead it in the palm of your hands to create a ball.
  4. Bag the turd – pop it in a sealable bag and let it dry out overnight. Check on your turd the next day and see how it’s coming along. If it has hardened then you can begin the polishing process
  5. Knead the turd – continue to gently knead the rounded turd and smooth the surface as best you can. Apply small amounts of water as necessary.
  6. Polish the surface – try using a soft microfiber cloth to gently massage the surface of your dried ball of turd. Gentle motions and the application of fine amounts of water should begin to add a shine to the ball. Microfiber cloths are an excellent polishing tool and their gentle fibres work well in this application as with any other. Just be gentle.
  7. Repeat – repeat the polishing process to develop the best shine and get the best results. Gently buff the turd and work your way across the surface to create a shine across the entire ball. Circular polishing motion will help maintain the spherical shape of the turd and get the best sheen.
  8. Stand back and admire your handiwork.

We hope you enjoyed this article on ‘how to polish a turd’. Take a look at our other cleaning and polishing articles. You might find something more useful.