How to Remove Paint from Carbon Fiber

Written by kallie johnson
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How to Remove Paint from Carbon Fiber
Use sandpaper to remove paint from carbon fibre. (sable 2 image by Blue Moon from

Carbon fibre is made from thin fibres measuring .005 to .010mm in diameter. The thin fibres are twisted together to form a yarn, which is then wove together to form a fabric. The fabric is coated in a plastic-like substance to form a lightweight building material. Carbon fibre is used for bikes, car bonnets and in the aerospace and military industry. If paint is spilt on carbon fibre, it should be cleaned up immediately. Wet paint is easier to remove compared with dried-in paint. Don't use paint removers or thinners, as they can damage carbon fibres.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bowl
  • 1 tbsp liquid dish soap
  • Cloth
  • Cleaning brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Acetone or rubbing alcohol

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  1. 1

    Dab a paper towel over the paint to remove as much of the paint as possible.

  2. 2

    Combine 1 tbsp liquid dish soap with 2 cups hot water in a bowl.

  3. 3

    Dip a cloth or cleaning brush in the mixture. Rub the mixture into the paint spot. Continue scrubbing until the spot is removed.

  4. 4

    Wipe the area down with a damp cloth to remove soap residue.

  5. 5

    Dry with a towel.

  1. 1

    Sand away as much paint as possible, using a piece of sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper lightly on the surface of the carbon fibre. Remove the paint and smooth the surface.

  2. 2

    Pour a small amount of acetone onto a cloth or rag. Rub the cloth into the carbon fibre to clean. Acetone will help remove grease, grime, build-up and small amounts of paint. If you do not wish to work with acetone, rubbing alcohol can be used. It's not as strong as acetone, but it will clean and prep the carbon fibre for painting. Allow the acetone or rubbing alcohol to dry on the carbon fibre.

  3. 3

    Dampen a wet cloth and rub away all of the acetone or rubbing alcohol. Allow the carbon fibre to completely air-dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves when working with acetone or rubbing alcohol.

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