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Various Methods of How to Get Paint off Car

Removing paint splatters from a vehicle’s body can be frustrating. It’s a delicate job that needs caution and patience. Whether you pick them up while painting something or bumping into another car, it’s necessary to know how to get paint off car.

Paint mishaps can turn into big trouble if not well-handled. However, it’s not supposed to be a big problem since restoring the old texture takes only a few ingredients and a little manual labor.

How to Get Paint Off Car: Various Methods

No matter whichever method you use, never let the paint splatters to set in on the car’s surface for too long. Taking prompt action makes the removal easier.

Also, use masking tape to mark the surrounding of the paint splatter. This border will make sure that the cleaning agents don’t touch other parts of the vehicle.

Soapy Water

Everyone should start with this DIY hack because the ingredients are readily available in any household. It really works for paint that hasn’t dried yet. Touch a spot with your finger and if the paint comes off easily, the soapy water will work.

cleaning car paint
Soapy water will work on fresh paint splatter. Source: STAFFAGE / Pexels
  • Pour warm water in a bucket and mix the soap. Create a rich lather.
  • Soak a clean rag or microfiber towel into the water mixture and start rubbing on the paint spots. Don’t apply force. Start from the edges and keep moving slowly toward the center until it comes off. A hasty work will make the spots smudgy.
  • You may need to rinse the rag and soak again with soapy water several times during the cleaning process.
  • After cleaning all the spots, clean the area with clean water and wipe with a dry towel. You may need to repaint and polish if the surface shows scratch marks.

Nail Polish Remover

This is how to get paint off car when the splatter dries out a bit. Nail polish remover is another cleaning solution that is available in almost every home. Choose one that does not have acetone, as this is harmful to a vehicle’s body paint.

Stop cleaning if the vehicle’s body paint starts coming off at any stage.

  • Dab a folded corner of a rag with a little bit of nail polish remover and start gently rubbing on a paint streak.
  • When the rag takes off some paint, fold another corner, pour a few drops of nail polish remover onto it, and start cleaning again.
  • Repeat this until the surface is clear of paint spots. Wash the area with clean water and dry off with a cloth.


Lacquer Thinner

The nail polish remover won’t work if a few days have passed. These too-dry paint streaks need a stronger cleaning solvent such as a lacquer thinner. Keep some warm, fresh water at hand before starting the process.

  • Pour some thinner to a clean rag and start cleaning the spots. Apply in a small area to see whether the thinner is eroding the car’s body paint. If yes, stop rubbing and wash that area immediately with warm water. If not, keep rubbing and the paint streaks will start coming off after a while.
  • After cleaning a little, wash it off so the thinner cannot dissolve the car’s paint.
  • Always apply a small amount of thinner. Increase the amount only if it’s not enough to dissolve the paint splatter.
  • When the work is done, give the cleaned area a thorough wash with lukewarm water. Any trace of lacquer thinner can do irreparable damage to the original paint.

Rubbing Substance

If none of these methods work for how to get paint off car, you have to apply a rubbing compound. It will remove stubborn paint streaks but can do massive damage to the vehicle’s body paint.

how to get paint off car
Apply gentle pressure. Cre: Shutterstock
  • Pour a little rubbing compound such as rubbing alcohol into a clean microfiber towel. With gentle pressure, scour the streaks in a circulation motion. Work on a little part at a time.
  • A little pressure may be required for the paint to start coming off. Also, a few minutes are needed for the rubbing substance to set in, which transforms the paint streaks into a gluey consistency.
  • When the paint streaks turn somewhat softer, scratch that off with your fingernail. You may also use a blunt knife but be careful about not scraping the car’s paintwork.
  • Never do this cleaning work in a hurry and always apply the cleaning agent on a little area at a time. Otherwise, you may damage the original paint, which will require a lump sum of money for the restoration.
  • After the work is done, wash off the area with some water. Dry off and then wax the particular part to bring back the previous shine of the surface.

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