How to Remove Spray Paint from a Car? - CarCareHunt (2022)

Having your car taggedwith spray paint for no reason at all can be infuriating, but instead of ragingabout your car being damaged, you should direct your anger towards figuring outhow to remove spray paint from a car.

There is more than one wayto get spray paint off your car, even without professional assistance, althoughin some cases your safest bet is to repaint your vehicle.

However, chances are thatyou are going to be able to treat just the affected area and remove the spraypaint without having to do a new paint job.

So, in this article, weare going to show you how to remove spray paint from a car using a variety ofsimple paint removal methods.

What to do if someone spraypaints your car?

Even a simple paint transfer can be enraging, so it is completely understandable that getting your car defaced ruined the day.

If this happened, youshouldn’t waste too much time, because as time passes it gets more difficult toremove spray paint from your car.

The first thing you willhave to do is inspect the spray pain and check if it is still wet because thatwill enable you to choose the most appropriate spray paint removal method.

Furthermore, whether ornot you will be able to remove the spray paint on your own, depends on howbadly your vehicle was vandalized.

A prompt reaction can turnout to be essential since the hot weather and a variety of other factors canmake it impossible for you to get the spray paint off your vehicle withoutdamaging the original paint.

Follow this link if you would also like to find out how to remove deep scratches from your car.

The most effective methodsof spray paint removal

Although each of the spraypaint removal methods we included in this article can help you to get the paintoff your vehicle, they are not effective in all contexts. That is why you mustassess the situation before opting for one method or the other.

Ideally, you’ll also need easy access to water, as well as a bucket, microfiber cloth towels and a healthy supply of patience, since it may take a lot of scrubbing before the paint comes off.

Washing the paint off

This is the first methodyou should try, especially if you determine that the paint is still fresh.Depending on how quickly you realized your car has been vandalized, washing thearea where spray paint was applied may be more or less effective.

On average, you will havearound one day before the paint dries up completely, but hot weather mayshorten this time-frame to just several hours.

Moreover, you will have to wash your car even if you decide to use some other method. You can start by filling a bucket with water and then adding a sufficient amount of car soap.

Don’t use dirty towelsbecause they may contain particles that will damage the car’s original paintjob even further. Choose clean rags or towels you can throw away becausechances are that you are not going to be able to wash the paint off them.

Soak up the rag and startscrubbing the paint using circular motions. Try to remove the edges of thepaint first and then move inwards as the paint comes off. Wash or change thecloth regularly in order to avoid smudging the paint

When done, you can use a pressure washer to clean your car again, and then dry your car with a drying towel.

Applying a rubbing compound

In case you are dealing with very persistent paint that won’t go off easily, then you should consider getting a rubbing compound. You are also going to need some car wax in order to protect your car’s original paint.

Put a small amount of therubbing compound onto a towel and start applying it to the part of the car bodythat contains the paint you want to remove. However, it is necessary to do soslowly, because if you are hasty you may end up removing some of the underlyingpaint.

What’s more, you shouldinspect the towel you are using to apply the rubbing compound for traces of thepaint you don’t want to remove and stop applying the compound as soon as younotice them.

Don’t try to rub in thecompound to a large area at once, because you’ll increase the chances ofdamaging your car’s paint. Proceed to apply the car wax to the area from whichyou removed spray paint in order to make the paint as shiny as it was before itwas damaged.

Using petrol to remove spraypaint

This is an inexpensivespray paint removal all car owners have at their disposal that will produce thedesired results in most cases.

You just need a cleantowel and some gasoline to start removing spray paint from your vehicle. So,when you are ready, you should perform a test and see if the paint is comingoff, and then proceed to clean the entire area if it does.

Leaving the petrol on thecar’s body for too long can damage the clear coating, which is why it isimportant to wash it with car soap and water.

Removing spray paint withgasoline is a budget-friendly option that can help you solve your problemquickly, but you need to be extra careful in order to avoid damaging your car’spaint job.

Removing spray paint with aclay bar

Getting a clay bar kit may be the best choice you can make if you want to remove spray paint safely and efficiently. Optionally, you can purchase the lubricant and the clay bar separately, if you don’t have the budget to buy an entire kit.

Cut a piece of clay, thenmold it so that it resembles a circle and apply the lubricant to one side ofthe disc you created. Press the lubricated side of the disc to the paint youwant to remove and start scrubbing, but don’t apply too much pressure.

Add more lubricant if thedisc becomes dry or difficult to move, and use a fresh towel to remove excesslubricant once spray paint is cleaned. Afterward, you can apply car wax to thearea you were scrubbing to restore the glow of the original paint.

Click here if you want to find out what happens if you put the wrong fuel in your car.

Getting spray paint off thecar with a lacquer thinner

Even though lacquer thinners are primarily used to dissolve resins from wood finishes, they can also help you to remove spray paint efficiently.

The process of removingspray paint with a lacquer thinner is straightforward, as you just need to adda small amount of the solvent to a rag or a towel and start rubbing it over thepaint you want to remove.

Keep in mind that youshouldn’t apply too much lacquer thinner, because it may damage the car paint.In case the paint starts smudging, you should get a fresh towel and repeat theprocess until the last traces of spray paint are removed.

You can then wash the car, and inspect the vehicle for any other damages. Follow this link if you want to find out how to fix a broken window.

Removing spray paint withthe nail polish remover

A simple personal care item like a non-acetone nail polish remover can help you remove spray paint from your car.

There is nothingcomplicated about this process, as you just have to pour some nail polishremover onto a towel and rub it over spray paint.

It may take a while beforethe paint starts to come off, which is why you need to be persistent andcontinue rubbing until the last bit of paint is gone. You may have to use morethan just one towel in order to avoid reapplying the paint you already removed.

In case you notice thatthe car’s original paint is starting to come off it is a sign that the clearcoat has been damaged and you should stop rubbing in the nail polish. Once youare done, you should wash the segment that was affected by spray paint and thenpolish it with car wax.

Exploring the spray paintprevention methods

Ideally, you shouldn’tleave your car in places where they can be vandalized, but this isn’t alwayspossible. Having a safe parking spot that isn’t easily accessible to people whocan damage it, is the best prevention measure you can resort to.

Nonetheless, you will haveto park your vehicle at various places while getting groceries, going to work,or meeting your friends. That’s why you will need to use other preventivemeasures that will protect your car from spray paint.

Waxing your car will makeit difficult for spray paint to dry and stick to the underlying layer of paint,which means that it will be easier to remove it then it would be if you didn’tapply wax.

Sadly, there isn’t muchelse you can do in order to protect your car from spray paint other than payattention to where you park your car and apply wax after you wash it. Click here to find out how you canprotect your car in winter.

Frequently asked questionsabout how to remove spray paint from a car

How difficult is it toremove spray paint from a car?

Removing paint from a carcan be tricky, especially if the paint is already dry, because you may damagethe car’s original paint. In some cases, you will have to repaint the part ofthe car’s body from which you removed the spray paint.

Is it expensive to removespray paint from a car?

No, it is not, regardlessof the method you chose, since nail polish removers, lacquer thinners, or claybar kits can be purchased at a relatively low price.

How quickly do I have toremove spray paint from my car?

Having a sense of urgencymay make it easier to remove spray paint from a car because removing wet paintfrom a car is a much quicker process than removing dry paint.

Trying one of the methodswe described in this article as soon as you notice spray paint on your vehiclewill increase your chances of removing it without damaging the original paint.

Is it necessary to seek thehelp of a professional while removing spray paint from a car?

In case the spray paintisn’t coming off after you tried several different methods, you should hire aprofessional to do this job for you.


All car owners are proudof how their cars look like, which is why having to remove graffiti from yourvehicle can be an annoying task.

Furthermore, thedifficulty of the task depends on the type of spray paint you are trying toremove.

Each of the methods wedescribed in this article can be effective if used in the right context, butthe results you will be able to achieve depend on a number of factors that arehard to control.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how toremove spray paint from your car, so leave a comment below and share yourexperiences with us or follow this link for more car maintenancetips.

How to Remove Spray Paint from a Car? - CarCareHunt (1)

David Borgogni

David is a specialist in automotive diagnostics and has been working with cars for over 10 years. He’s also anautomotive reporter and reviewer. He covers the topics that matter most to the consumer. From adaptive cruise control to cold-weather car care and the best products to use for all driving conditions, David has covered it all.

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