How To Get Spray Paint Off A Car

Getting your car damaged is one of the worst things ever, as a lot of effort and money goes into maintaining it and caring for it so that it lasts as long as possible.

If it gets dirty, you can easily wash it. But what if it gets spray paint on it?

Whether it’s because you were spray painting something else and you accidentally ended up painting your car, or someone graffitied and vandalized your precious vehicle, you will likely not be happy.

But don’t worry. Although spray paint isn’t that easy to wash off, there are a few different methods that will help you get rid of it, so that your car can go back to looking its best, with no trace of the incident.

How to get spray paint off a car

Not all methods will work in the same way, so you might have to try a few. But if everything fails, and you’re really desperate to get rid of the spray paint, there are professionals that can deal with it with ease.

And to help you out, so that you don’t have to stress about looking up all these different methods, we’ve included the best ones here, with step-by-step instructions!

Methods for removing spray paint from a car

Soapy water

Using soapy water isn’t the best or most efficient method, and it won’t always work. But it’s the easiest, and therefore the best to try out initially, just in case!

This is something that will work if the spray paint is washable, and it can work with other spray paints if you do it before they have fully dried.

Here is how to do it:

  • Fill up a bucket with warm water and soap. (The soap can be a mild detergent, a car-washing solution, or similar.)
  • With a cloth, sponge, or similar, apply the water solution onto the spray paint and rub. If it works, you will notice that the paint begins to come off!

Acetone or nail varnish remover

The second easiest method you can try is using acetone, or if you don’t have any, some nail varnish remover.

It’s slightly more effective than soapy water and can tackle more types of spray paint.

Here is how to do it:

  • Get your acetone, or nail varnish remover. Any brand and type will work, but the higher the percentage of acetone, the better.
  • Wear gloves (to protect your hands), and pour the acetone onto a cloth or microfiber towel. Make sure it is completely soaked in the acetone, and keep pouring more onto it as it dries out.
  • Use small circular motions to rub the spray paint off with the cloth full of acetone. If there’s a lot of spray paint, you might have to switch cloth midway through, as the paint gets transferred from one to the other.
  • Once the spray paint is gone, thoroughly wash and rinse your car so there is no trace of the acetone.

Detailing clay

Detailing clay is a type of polymer abrasive, and it will essentially remove anything that is on top of your car’s paint, including spray paint. It will also do as such without damaging your car, so it’s a great option.

You can find it at most hardware stores, and prices vary according to brand and store.

Here is how to use it for getting rid of the spray paint:

  • Start by thoroughly washing and drying your car beforehand. This will get rid of any surface dirt so that when the detailing clay is applied it is more effective.
  • Take a small section of detailing clay (you don’t need too much of it), and place it in a ziplock bag. Then place the bag inside a bucket full of warm water, so that the clay softens and becomes more malleable.
  • When you are able to manipulate the clay, knead it with your hands and turn it into a pancake shape.
  • Spray a good amount of clay lubricant onto your little clay pancake. This lubricant can usually be bought alongside the detailing clay, from the same type of stores. And what it does, is ensure the clay glides over the car, instead of sticking to it.
  • Hold the clay in your hand and use it to rub off the spray paint. If it begins to get dirty from the spray paint residue, you can fold it over and re-knead it into a new clean pancake, and keep using it.
  • Once the spray paint is off, wipe away any clay residue with a microfiber cloth. And to finish off, make sure you wax your car, or at the very least, the spot in your car where the spray paint was. (The clay will have rubbed off any protective layers, so this is important).

Carnauba wax

This is another product that you can easily find in a hardware store or automotive shop, and it should remove the spray paint stain from your car without damaging the coating of paint underneath.

Here is how to use it:

  • Purchase some liquid Carnauba wax.
  • Pour the wax onto a sponge or cloth. Make sure it is fully coated in the wax, and don’t be afraid to keep applying more as you go along. The more wax you use, the easier and faster the spray paint should come off.
  • With firm pressure, rub the spray paint with the sponge or cloth, in circular motions. As it gets dirty, you can switch sponge or cloth, applying more wax as you do so.
  • Once the spray paint is off, use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any wax residue, until the surface is completely clean and back to how it was before the incident!

If these methods fail, you can also contact a professional service, and they will easily get rid of the spray paint so that your car looks as good as new.

However, this route will be a lot more expensive than the DIY methods we’ve explained!

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