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How To Get Spray Paint Off Car? [9 Amazing Ways]

When you find your car spoiled with spray paint you would burst out in anger and would be in that state for quite some time. Why? Because that paint on your car could go heavy on your pocket when you go to a car detailing shop to get it fixed. They might even have to repaint it which may not look good cause it might not blend in with your car’s original paint coat. 

Normally it takes 24 hours for spray paint to dry, but sunny weather can shorten that time to several hours. So, there’s no time for anger to be in the way, and you should be getting the materials mentioned below to remove that nasty spray paint off your car.

How to get spray paint off car?

Approach 1 of 9: Soap And Water

how to get spray paint off car

Materials Required:

  • Bucket
  • Clean towels or rags
  • Water supply 

If you just saw a person spray paint your car or it hasn’t been too long since the paint has been sprayed, and it still appears wet, then soap and water is the easiest and most inexpensive way of getting spray paint off car.

Step 1: Make a Mixture of Soap/Shampoo and Water:

Fill a bucket with lukewarm water, adding soap or shampoo until there is a good mixture and foam in the bucket.

Use a clean cloth or towel and let it soak in the bucket of soap and water. Do not use a dirty cloth on your car’s body, as it will result in scratching and therefore damage your car’s original paint finish.

{ I recommend using a microfiber cloth for the process as it would stay soft on your car’s body and would not scratch or cause damage to the paint. }

Step 2: Scrubbing off the Paint:

After dampening the cloth in soap water solution, Scrub the paint from edges in a round motion. Scrubbing the paint in a round motion will prevent it from smudging any further.

Step 3: Rinse Frequently: 

Make sure to rinse the cloth frequently to keep it clean, and if the paint sticks to a major part of the cloth, don’t hesitate to change it. Make sure you’re not using a dirty cloth as it may have dirt particles which can harm your car’s original paint coat even more.

Step 4: Wash:

Wash off the area after removing paint and let it dry. Check the body for damage like scratches or paint smudges that may need repairing.

Approach 2 of 9: Snow Foam Wash

Materials Required

  • Snow foam shampoo
  • Snow foam canon (not strongly required) 
  • Clean microfiber cloth

Unlike Method 1, Snow-foam shampoo creates a very thick layer of foam, that fades and removes unwanted substances from the car.

Step 1: Pour Snow-foam liquid:

Pour Snow-foam shampoo into a bucket filled with water and move your hand back and forth to create foam. If you have a Snow-foam cannon, just simply pour the shampoo into the container. 

Step 2: Spray or scrub on the surface:

Spray with the cannon or use a microfiber cloth to put foam on the spray paint. Wait for 5 minutes and scrub the spray paint with a microfiber cloth.  After continuously rubbing it for a couple of minutes, the paint will come off.

Approach 3 of 9: Nail Polish Remover

Materials Required

  • Nail polish remover (non-acetone)
  • Clean microfiber cloth

If soap and water did not help in removing the paint, you may want to use nail polish remover. Avoid using nail paints with acetone. It goes hard on your car. Non-acetone nail polish removers are harmless to your car’s original paint, and your nails.

Warning: Use rubber gloves and eye protection while using nail polish remover, petrol, and lacquer thinner as these substances may cause health problems if got in contact with open wounds and eyes. 

Step 1: Swab the nail polish remover on a microfiber cloth

After applying the remover onto a clean cloth, rub it on the paint from the edges to the center of it.

Step 2: Continue till the paint fades completely

After some time, you will notice the paint coming off. Keep dabbing nail polish remover on the cloth and rub in a round motion.

(Because if the remover dries up and you continue to rub, then the spray paint will start to smudge to other parts of the car’s body) 

TIP: Using the same part of cloth or towel over and over again may cause the paint to rub back onto the car, and therefore making your work futile. Make sure to switch to a different section of cloth when the paint starts to come off.  

Step 3: Wash the area

Wash the area with soap/shampoo and water after removing spray paint with nail polish remover because, if it will stay on the car, It may cause harm to the car’s original clear coat paint.

Warning: If you notice car’s paint coming off on the cloth, Stop right there! This is a sign that the car’s original paint coat has come off.

Approach 4 of 9: Lacquer Thinner

Materials required:

  • Lacquer thinner
  • Clean cloth or towel

If the nail polish remover does not work, the next method to try Lacquer Thinner. This solvent is used for diluting paints and dissolving resins to wood finishes.

TIP:  Lacquer thinner is stronger than nail polish remover. Therefore, you should start by applying the thinner in small quantities on the cloth to avoid ruining your car’s paint finish. (You may increase the quantity a little if you see the spray paint getting off the car)

Step 1: Apply the thinner

Pour the thinner on a clean microfiber cloth and start to rub on the affected area in a round motion. You will see that the spray paint is rubbing away. ( Keep water handy just in case the thinner starts to damage the car’s original paint job.) 

Step 2: Remove spray paint from car

Rub forcibly until all the spray paint has been removed from the body of the car.

Make sure to rinse and rub the area where the thinner has been applied to avoid any kind of damage by the thinner on the car’s paint coat.

Method 5 of 9: Petrol

Materials required

  • Petrol
  • Clean cloth

When it comes to removing paint or any marks on a glossy surface, be it chrome, glass, or car body, petrol is the most effective. Petrol is very easy to get and using it to remove the spray paint is even easier but there are two things you should keep in mind so you don’t accidentally ruin your car’s paint finish.

The first thing to keep in mind is – Start with a small amount at first, and gradually increase with but within a limit. The second is to not leave it after rubbing the spray paint off the car, wash it with soap/shampoo and water otherwise the top layer of your car’s paint will start to peel off. 

Step 1: Apply gasoline to a Cloth

Swab petrol on a clean microfiber cloth and first use it on a tiny area as a test surface, so you get to know if it is good for you to use it for the removal of the paint and if it’s reacting with your car’s body paint or not.

If the car’s paint is uninfluenced by petrol then you can continue to use it to scrub off the paint.

Step 2: Wash the Area

Make sure you wash the surface where petrol was rubbed with soap/shampoo and water so that your car’s clear-coated paint job stays intact.

Approach 6 of 9: Alcohol Based Sanitizer

Materials required

  • Sanitizer with 95% or above alcohol
  • Clean microfiber cloth

Step 1: Spray sanitizer on the cloth

 After applying the sanitizer on a microfiber cloth start rubbing from the edges in a round motion same as we did with nail polish remover, petrol and lacquer thinner. 

You will start to see that the spray paint is coming off.

Step 2: Continue Rub vigorously

Rub the cloth forcibly and pour more sanitizer as the cloth dries up and switch to a different portion of the cloth to avoid rubbing the removed paint back onto the car’s body. Rub until all the spray paint comes off. 

Step 3: Wash the surface

After the spray paint has been removed wash the car with soap/shampoo and water. 

Approach 7 of 9: Clay bar

Material Needed

  • Clay bar kit

Clay is a risk-free method when  removing spray paint from car or any other vehicle. However clay bar kit is expensive because it comes with several clays and lubricants and a microfiber towel. Clay bar and lubricant can be purchased separately and are available in any auto part store.

Step 1: Knead the clay

Cut a small piece of the clay and knead it thoroughly 

Step 2: Apply the lubricant

Flatten one side of the clay and apply a good amount of lubricant to it. 

Step 3: Rub the clay on spray paint

Start rubbing the clay in a back-and-forth motion on the vandalized surface ( when the clay becomes hard to rub then apply more lubricant and rub until the spray paint is gone.)

Step 4: Wipe off the Area

Wipe the area with a clean microfiber cloth where the extra lubricant and smudges are.

Step 5: Wax the car

After claying the car, wax it, to prevent any further vandalizing of your car.

Approach 8 of 9: Butter Wet Carnauba Wax

Material Needed

  • Butter Wet Carnauba Wax
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sponge or any soft pad

Butter wet carnauba wax is one of the most effective products in removing unwanted stains from cars like road tar, bird droppings, tree saps, and overspray. It is a very smooth crème that protects your car’s clear coat paint from damage.

Step 1: Apply the wax on the pad

Apply 5-6 dots of wax on the pad.

Step 2: Scrub with the pad

Rub the pad in a round motion on the vandalized area.   Continue scrubbing till the spray paint is no longer on the car and then wipe the residue with a microfiber cloth. 

Approach 9 of 9: Go To A Professional

After attempting all the methods if paint still does not come off or one of the liquids reacted with your car’s paint, the last resort left is to take your car to a professional car detailer. Hiring a pro for the job is expensive but it is the only guaranteed way in which you get spray paint off car, and it will look good as new. 

Car insurance:

Most insurance companies have policies for vandalizing. So before taking it to a car detailing shop check with your insurance company if it has a policy for vandalizing. Take photos of the action within 24 hours and send them to your insurance company so you don’t get a headache while claiming the insurance.  


When you are done using any of the above-described methods, we recommend you wash and dry your car at the end. Also choosing to wax or Teflon or getting a paint protection film (PPF) on your vehicle afterward will help avoid the consequences of vandalizing from your vehicle.

We hope this article helped you learn how to get spray paint off car. So, next time someone vandalizes your vehicle you know what to do next. Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

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