How to Remove Spray Paint From a Car Door

Updated February 21, 2017

Spray paint can end up on the surface of your vehicle either as the result of vandalism or accidents during messy home projects. The good news is that spray paint can safely be dissolved from a car door using solvents and cleaning materials. The proper method for removal will be determined by the type of spray paint and how long ago it was applied. Whether the paint was freshly sprayed or fully cured, however, there is a way to effectively remove it.

Fill a bucket with a mixture of warm water and car soap for a soapy solution. Scrub the spray painted areas on the car door using a cloth gentle enough for automobile surfaces, such as terry cotton or microfiber; water-soluble spray paint can be removed with warm water and a mild detergent if it hasn't fully cured.

Dampen a dry cloth with acetone, the chemical found in nail polish removers. This household solvent will safely dissolve the spray paint without harming the underlying car paint. It tends to evaporate quickly and is not strong enough to penetrate the vehicle's original coat.

Rub the acetone gently into the spray paint until it begins to thin. Apply more of the solution as needed, but stop once the door's original paint is visible.

Rinse the vehicle of loose paint and excess acetone using a garden hose. Wash the treated area with car soap and follow up with dry towels to eliminate all moisture from the surface.

Apply car wax to the restored area on the door to polish any spots where the spray paint may have left a haze. Wax that contains a rubbing compound will also reduce a dulled appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Car soap
  • 2 cleaning cloths
  • Acetone
  • Towels
  • Car wax
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