Removing Paint Overspray

Written by larry simmons
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Removing Paint Overspray
Overspray results from painting a car when it has not been properly masked off. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Paint overspray results from not masking off surfaces adjacent to your target area completely. The problem usually arises when painting automobiles, where drops from spraying a top coat or clear coat overreach the target and mist onto other parts of the vehicle. When the misted overspray dries it creates small splotches in the paint job that breaks up the smoothly painted surface. There is an effective method of removing overspray. With a piece of detailer's clay, you may simply strip the overspray from the painted surface, leaving the painted surface untouched.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Car washing soap
  • Sponge
  • Towels
  • Clay bar lubricant
  • Automotive detailers clay
  • Microfiber towel

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  1. 1

    Wash the car surface with car washing soap, water and a sponge to remove any dirt or debris present. Pat the vehicle dry with a clean towel after washing. Rub along the surface of the car with your hand, feeling for small bumps in the paint. These bumps are the paint overspray marks that you wish to remove with the clay.

  2. 2

    Spray the location of the small overspray drops with the clay bar lubricant until you've covered the area with a light layer. Work with a small section---3 square feet, for example---of the car's surface at a time to avoid having the lubricant dry before you remove the overspray.

  3. 3

    Spray the clay bar with the lubricant then work it over the surface of the car, using a back and forth motion across the overspray to pull the excess paint into the clay. Run your hand across the surface after rubbing it with the bar to feel the presence of remaining paint overspray. When the surface is smooth to the touch, move on to the next section and repeat the process.

  4. 4

    Examine the bottom of the clay where you've rubbed it over the vehicle. Look for any specks of the overspray paint on the bar. The spray will appear as spots of discolouration on the bar's surface. When these appear, fold the clay bar bottom over itself then smooth it out to create a clean clay surface for the next section of automobile. Using the bar after it has gathered up the paint drops has the same effect as running sandpaper on your car's surface. That use can leave scratches throughout the finish.

  5. 5

    Wipe the lubricant from the surface of the vehicle after completing a section with a clean microfiber towel. Repeat the cleaning process on the next section of automobile.

  6. 6

    Clean the car with the car washing soap immediately after removing the overspray. Pat it dry with a clean towel, then feel the surface again to ensure all traces of the overspray are removed. Repeat the removal process for any area that still feels bumpy from paint overspray.

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