How to Get Spray Paint off a Car

Опубликовал Admin
30-09-2017, 14:00
2 196
There’s nothing quite like waking up to find that your car’s paint job has been defaced by mischievous kids with a can of spray paint. When vandals strike, don’t panic. There are lots of methods to remove spray paint, but the most effective are acetone nail polish remover, detailing clay, and carnauba wax.

Using Acetone or Nail Polish Remover

  1. Get a bottle of acetone, or nail polish remover containing acetone. You may not have acetone on hand, but you may have a bottle of nail polish remover. Nail polish remover is formulated to take the enamel layer off fingernails, which is essentially what you're attempting to do with your car's finish. Any brand will work, and the higher the percentage of acetone, the better.
  2. Pour acetone or nail polish remover onto a cloth. Choose a terrycloth or microfiber towel so that you don’t scratch the clear coat or paint on your car. You’ll want to keep the cloth wet at all times, so if it starts to dry out, add more acetone or nail polish remover.
    • Wear gloves to protect your hands from the acetone or nail polish remover and paint transfer.
  3. Rub the cloth gently onto the spray paint. Use small, circular motions to remove the spray paint from your car. Rub very gently, or you risk removing the clear coat or the paint on your car, rather than just the spray paint. The paint will transfer from your car to the cloth, so switch out your cloths often.
  4. Wash your car after removing the spray paint. You’ll want to thoroughly wash and rinse your car after removing the spray paint. Pay special attention to the spray painted area to get rid of all traces of the paint as well as the acetone or nail polish remover.

Using Detailing Clay

  1. Wash and dry your car. This step is important to remove surface dirt before applying the clay. You can wash your car by hand, or take it through an automatic car wash. If the spray paint is very fresh, the hot water and soap may even remove some of the paint.
  2. Get detailing clay. Detailing clay is a polymer abrasive which will remove anything sitting on top of the paint on your car, without scratching or damaging the surface. There are several varieties available, including Detailer’s Pride Clay. Another option is Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit, which includes detailing spray (which you would use as a lubricant for the clay), as well as wax and a microfiber cloth.
    • These detailing clays should be available at your local auto parts store.
  3. Knead the clay. You only need a small, flat section the size of your palm, so if you bought a new bar you should cut it in half. Then, seal it in a Ziploc bag and place it in a bucket or bowl of warm water, which will warm up the clay so you can manipulate it more easily. Take the half of the bar and knead it in your hands. You want to form a pancake or patty with the clay.
  4. Apply a clay lubricant. A lubricant is necessary so that your clay will glide over, rather than stick to, the paint. Shake the lubricant, then spray it onto the clay and also onto the paint on your car. Use an ample amount so that your clay won’t smudge onto the car.
    • Clay lubricant should be available at your local auto parts store.
  5. Rub the clay over the spray paint. Hold the clay in your hand so that your fingertips are not covered by the clay -- you want it to be a little lower in your palm. Rub the clay back and forth with a firm pressure, like you would rub a bar of soap over your skin. Keep rubbing the clay over the spray paint until the paint is removed.
    • When your clay becomes covered in contaminants, fold it over and re-knead it to form a clean patty.
  6. Wipe the residue off. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the clay residue off the car. Apply a light pressure and rub the cloth over the area where you applied the clay.
  7. Wax your car. Claying the car removes previous wax, so it’s important to wax your car to protect from further damage and restore the shine to your clear coat. Apply the wax in a circular motion, using the tool or sponge that comes with the wax, or use a soft rotating buffing tool.

Using Carnauba Wax

  1. Purchase liquid carnauba wax. Products like Butter Wet Carnauba Wax contain carnauba oils that will break down the spray paint. The wax will not damage or scratch your paint or clear coat, but will simply remove the spray paint from the surface of your car. You should be able to find a liquid carnauba wax at your local auto parts store, but if not, you can order it online.
  2. Apply the wax to a sponge. Put an ample amount of the liquid wax onto a soft sponge or cloth. Squirt it on or add several dollops to your sponge. Apply more as you go, and don’t be afraid to use a lot of the wax as it is needed to break down the paint.
  3. Rub the sponge on the spray paint. Using firm pressure and circular motions, rub the waxed sponge onto the affected area of your car. Make sure you get all the overspray and any errant dots or drips. Flip your sponge over or get a new one once the surface is covered in spray paint transfer.
  4. Buff off the wax. After removing the spray paint, you’ll want to buff the wax off your car. Use a clean microfiber cloth to do the buffing. Rub the waxed area using small, circular motions.


  • Remove the spray paint as soon as possible, because the longer the paint bakes in the sun, the harder it will be to remove.
  • If your car windows also got tagged with spray paint, acetone and a razor blade should clear it up easily.


  • Don’t use abrasive products, like rubbing compound, as they will further damage the paint on your car.
  • Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to first test it on a small, inconspicuous spot.
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