How To Remove House Paint From Car Body


When painting your car, it is very important to remove all of the old paint before applying new coats. If you are not careful, heavy layers of primer or topcoat can be mixed in with the original color, changing the hue and potentially making your car look ugly.

Fortunately, removing painted surfaces from cars is pretty simple! There are several methods depending on what kind of surface you want to take off, and most can be done at home using basic supplies like brushes and cleaners.

Removing plastic or vinyl covers is easy enough, but taking off metal requires special care because it will rust or corrode down there. This article will focus only on how to remove house paint from vehicle bodies that are already exposed.

There are three main types of house paints used for automotive purposes- latex, oil-based, and gel. All three require different tools and cleaning agents to work effectively.

Use rubbing alcohol

how to remove house paint from car body

For most people, using regular water to wash their car is enough! However, if you are very picky about how your vehicle looks or if you love doing things like painting and designing your cars, then washing with plain water may not work for you.

If this is the case, it is important to know what chemicals will not remove protective layers of paint that cover your car’s body. Regular water will only do this.

Alcohol is one of the best chemical cleaners because it removes all types of contaminants including grease, oil, and even acid. All you have to do is pour some over the surface and let it soak in for an amount of time depending on the thickness of the paint.

The trick comes when you need to rinse the alcohol off. You can either use distilled water which has no additives or buying gel cleanser trays that contain ethanol (the active ingredient in alcohol). These are more expensive than normal bottle-shaped containers but they are much better for your car!

Your housecoat or sweatshirt will also help get rid of excess residue since both contain ethyl alcohol.

Use acetone

how to remove house paint from car body

There are two main types of paint removal for any surface-acetone, or alcohol-based products. For professional use, there are chemicals that can be used to remove thicker layers of paint such as lacquers and clear coats.

For personal use, we will focus only on using acetone. This is the most common type of chemical stripping agent for removing house paints. You can find pure acetic acid (the ingredient in vinegar) in some brands of liquid rubbing compound or buffing compounds.

We will also need sugar to make the solution more effective at penetrating the paint. A small amount of white sugar can be mixed into the acetone to help this occur.

You may have to experiment with different ratios and amounts to see which work best for your painting project. However, our preferred way to do it is by mixing one part acetone with 2 parts sugar in a bowl until it forms a paste. Then, apply this mixture directly onto the painted area and spread out using a soft cloth. Let sit for several minutes before washing off with water. Repeat if necessary.

Use paint thinner

how to remove house paint from car body

For most people, this is the easiest way to remove dried car body paint. You can either use an alcohol-based or a oil-based product to directly touch up the painted area or apply thinner onto your brush and scrape off the old layer of paint.

Most types of thinners contain benzene, butane, or propane as active ingredients and are mixed with alcohol or oils for easier application.

After applying the correct amount of thinner to match the thickness of the dried paint, wash your hands well and scrape away! Make sure to work slowly and carefully to avoid scraping off too much of the clear coat material that covers the surface of the vehicle.

Removal tips: If this article’s advice has you ready to start painting, check out our how to paint cars guide first! It includes information about using different types of paints and primer.

Use denatured alcohol

how to remove house paint from car body

For many, removing paint is an easy task because they use products that contain alcohol. Alcohol is a very common solvent that can be used for most things including cleaning cars!

Most people are familiar with rubbing alcohol which is usually clear and contains ethanol. This chemical removes grease and water-based substances such as oils and lotions. It also breaks down certain types of solid materials like wax and glue.

However, using too much alcohol can actually do more harm than good when it comes to painting your car. That’s why it is important to know how to remove house paint from car body efficiently.

By mixing equal parts white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, you will create an effective solution that works great in removing all kinds of non-transparent paints. These include latex, gel, and powdery interior and exterior paints.

Removal process? Just pour this mixture onto the painted area and let sit for a few minutes. Then, wash off with warm water and dry thoroughly. Repeat if needed.

Use acetone and rubbing alcohol

how to remove house paint from car body

For every area of your car that has some kind of painted decoration, there is usually an application process and then a drying period. The painting may also contain gels or other types of protective coatings which will have to be removed later as well.

All of these steps should be done with great care so that you do not accidentally spray any leftover chemicals onto another part of the vehicle!

After each step, check out the brush to see if it contains any paint and use a glass jar to store all of the liquid trays until everything has been emptied. Do not shake the bottle, only swish the liquid around in order to avoid clumping of the product.

Once everything is dry, either scrape off the paint with a putty knife or sand down the exposed surface using very fine-grain sandpaper. If possible, do both!

Removing gel coats is slightly more difficult than just scraping away primer and paint, but don’t worry about those too much unless they are really stuck on. There are many ways to remove them, but the best way depends on what type of gel coating you get.

Use soap and water

how to remove house paint from car body

For every area of your car that has some sort of paint job, there’s usually an extra protective layer or two that comes along with it. These are often times made of wax, which is why most people know how to wash cars — you use soap and water!

The same goes for clear coats such as those used in protecting your vehicle from fading. If left alone, these layers will eventually wear off, and who wants their ride looking bad? Luckily, having to do this once is pretty easy!

So, before washing your car, make sure to take out all of the dust and dirt first by using a vacuum. Then, use a microfiber cloth or brush to remove any excess grime or residue. After that, use soft, lukewarm water and a non-gel (non-silicone) surface like a towel to clean each part of your car.

Make sure to work in logical groups; if you start with the hood, then move onto the roof, and so forth. Once everything is cleaned, let dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Use acetone and rubbing alcohol and dry with a clean cloth

how to remove house paint from car body

When trying to remove paint from the car body, make sure you do not use too abrasive products. Using acetone, rubbing alcohol or other chemicals as cleaning agents will only spread the dirt slightly and be wasted because it cannot be washed off properly.

Instead, use chemical-safe cleaners that are designed for vehicle surfaces. These include warm water along with dish soap and isopropyl alcohol (or plain old alcohol). Both of these can be mixed in a bottle and applied as a spray wash.

They both work by loosening up the dried surface film of the paint, making it more easily peeled away. Once it’s gone, repeat until you get all the underlying layers exposed.

Use an abrasive cleaner

how to remove house paint from car body

For most people, washing their car is a simple process that they can do themselves with little or no help. However, for someone who is inexperienced in auto painting, it can be tricky trying to remove all of the old paint.

If you are ever needed to wash your vehicle, there are two main things that you should know how to do. The first is cleaning the exterior surface of the car, and the second is removing interior vinyl or plastic materials.

However, what if you need to take care of something more complicated? What if you have to deal with house painting?

Removing hard to reach layers of primer, like those from the hood or roof of a vehicle, may seem impossible unless you are very experienced in doing so. Luckily, there are some easy ways to get rid of this thick layer easily.

One way to do this is to use the correct cleaners! There are many different types of cleaners that perform well when used correctly.

In this article, I will go over one such product and explain why it works so well in helping to eliminate hardened primer.

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