How to Get Stains Off of Car Paintwork

Written by faith mcgee
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How to Get Stains Off of Car Paintwork
Getting Stains Off Paintwork (car image by Edvin selimovic from

Stains on you car paintwork can ruin the entire aesthetic of the vehicle. Tar stains can draw attention from the hard work and money that you've put into the car. In addition, those who live underneath trees that drip tree sap can find their car splattered in the morning. Remove both tar and tree sap from your car and restore the look of the paintwork.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Lighter fluid
  • Rag
  • Automobile wax
  • Water displacement fluid
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball
  • Mayonnaise
  • Paint scraper
  • Garden hose
  • White spirit

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    Tar Stains

  1. 1

    Pour four drops of lighter fluid on a rag and gently rub the stain. Use a soft rag in order to prevent scratching the car's exterior. Apply wax on another rag and rub the stained area if the light fluid picked up the stain.

  2. 2

    Apply 2 tbsp of a water displacement fluid (such as WD-40, Wickes Penetrating Fluid, or RP7) to a rag if the lighter fluid did not work. Rub the stain in a circular motion. Change the rag as the stain is lifted.

  3. 3

    Rub a clean rag into the automobile wax, and wax the stained area.

    Tree Sap

  1. 1

    Drip some nail polish remover onto a cotton ball. Rub the cotton ball over the tree sap-stained area. You may need to use a number of cotton balls for cleaning the entire surface of the paintwork.

  2. 2

    Mix up a paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Apply over the stained area. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and wash with a hose.

  3. 3

    Rub mayonnaise onto the tree sap if the stains are still apparent after rinsing off the baking soda paste. Spread the mayonnaise with a plastic paint scraper.

  4. 4

    Wipe the mayonnaise off with a rag.

  5. 5

    Use a few teaspoons of white spirit on a cotton ball if the mayonnaise did not take the tree sap off the car. Rub the stains with the cotton ball, and then wash the car immediately.

Tips and warnings

  • Use any material for getting stains off the car on a hard to see area before applying to the entire car as a test to ensure it won't hurt the paintwork.

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