How to Get Spray Paint/Graffiti off a Car?

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Whether it’s a case of graffiti gone wrong or vandalism, do not panic. There are ways you can restore your car’s original shine. However, this doesn’t mean you can sit on a repair job. The quicker you act, the lesser the effort. With time, spray paint dries up, making it difficult to get rid of it. Try out these methods in the right order for effective results.

1. Soap and Water

You can start with soap and water. This is an inexpensive way of graffiti removal. However, it is most effective when used within 24 hours of spray painting. All you need is a bucket of warm water, soap, and clean towels.

A dirty towel or rag may ruin your efforts. Mix the soap with water until you get a good mixture. Soak the clean towel into the mixture and scrub the paint in a circular motion.

Try washing the paint from the edges in an inward direction. It will prevent smudging in other areas of the car. Do not forget to rinse off the towel frequently. After removing the spray paint, wash that area with clean water. Wait for the car to dry up, and then check for any patches or scratches.

Weather conditions also determine the effectiveness of the soap and water method. If the day is sunny, the paint will dry up quickly, giving you a hard time scrubbing it off.

2. Nail Polish Remover

Using nail polish remover or acetone is another way to remove graffiti from the car. Like the way it removes the enamel layer from your nails, it takes the spray paint off the car. If you cannot get acetone, take a nail polish removal with a higher percentage of acetone. Now, pour the content into a cloth, preferably a microfiber towel. This will ensure that you do not end up scratching the car. Rub the cloth gently on the paint in a small circular motion.

If you exert too much pressure, you may end up removing the paint of your car too. Make sure the cloth is always wet. Otherwise, you will not get the result. Also, change the cloth once it gets filled with the paint. Once done, wash the car properly to get rid of the traces of the paint and acetone.

Wear gloves to protect your hands from the spray paint that may get transferred to your skin.

3. Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax has carnauba oils that break down the spray paint and easily remove it. There are other advantages of using the wax. There is no risk of scratching the car or clearing the coat of the car. The liquid carnauba wax gently and efficiently removes the paint from the car.

For using the wax:

  1. Apply it considerably on a sponge or soft cloth.
  2. Add more dollops of wax as and when you need.
  3. Do not worry; using too much wax will not harm the surface of your car.
  4. Gently rub the sponge on the graffiti or spray paint in a circular motion using firm pressure.
  5. Once the surface of the sponge gets covered with the paint, change it for the best result. This process may be time-consuming; you may have to repeat it a few times.

The carnauba wax does not scrub the paint; it breaks down the paint components after you remove the paint, buff off the wax using a microfiber cloth.

4. Clay

Easily available in Los Angeles, clay removes the spray paint from the car’s surface safely. However, before applying this, you need to wash and dry your vehicle to remove any dirt.

Using clay for graffiti removal involves the following process:

  • First, knead the clay. Put the clay in a waterproof bag and place the bag in warm water. This will make the clay smooth, allowing you to knead it properly and form a pancake.
  • To smoothly rub the clay over the graffiti, apply clay lubricant on the pancake and the affected area. This will ensure that the clay smoothly glides on the car surface without smudging it.
  • Now, rub the clay on the graffiti to and fro; exert a little pressure. Keep rubbing until the clay gets covered with the paint. After that, knead again to form a clean pancake.
  • Once done, wipe off the clay residue from the car using a microfiber cloth. Claying removes the wax from the car’s surface. Hence, apply wax and restore the shiny protective shield of your car.

5. Rubbing Compound

In case the paint is not new, and you are finding it hard to remove, use a rubbing compound. However, be patient.

Hastily using it can make the process a costly affair. Take the rubbing compound in a small quantity in a towel and apply it to the graffiti.

Rub the towel slowly on the car surface to ensure that you do not remove the car’s paint. Also, keep checking the towel for traces of the car’s paint.

To be on the safe side, first, apply the rubbing compound on a small surface. Once you understand how to use it, move on to a bigger surface.

A rubbing compound also removes the wax from the car’s surface. Hence, apply car wax on the affected areas to retain the car’s shiny coat.

6. Gasoline

Gasoline is very effective in removing graffiti or spray paints from the car surface. However, you need to use it cautiously. Otherwise, it may remove the car’s paint. An easily available and inexpensive product in Los Angeles, it is often a popular choice.

Take gasoline in a cloth in a small amount and apply it to the affected area. Ensure that the cloth or towel is clean. Since using gasoline can have side effects, first use it in a small area. Check how well it is removing the paint and whether the car’s paint is reacting to it.

If the original paint remains unaffected, you can use it to remove the spray paint completely. After the process is over, use soap and water to wash your car. This will eliminate the effect of gasoline on the car’s coat.

7. Lacquer Thinner

If nail polish remover fails to work, try lacquer thinner. However, be aware that it is a strong solvent, and the chances of it damaging your car’s paint are high.

For using it, take a small amount of the thinner on a clean piece of cloth. After that, rub the cloth on the area having the spray painting.

For safety, keep a bucket of water ready. In case the thinner affects your car’s original paint, rinse that area with water immediately.

Even after the thinner has successfully removed the graffiti, use water to clean the area. If left like that, the solvent may eat into your car’s original paint.

8. Professional Help

Apart from relying on the do-it-yourself methods, you can opt for professional help. Several techniques, like steam cleaning and pressure washing, are popular in Los Angeles.

When done by professionals, these techniques give you effective results. Also, professional companies take care of your vehicle’s safety. You can also find companies that use environment-friendly products. Ensure that the company is carrying insurance. This makes them even more efficient and effective.

For assistance, call (213) 459-1667.

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