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How do I remove concrete from car paint?

Updated April 17, 2017

Concrete on your vehicle can be unsightly and a potential problem for your paint's finish. Builders routinely get concrete on their vehicles. If concrete is left too long on the finish, the chemical compounds in it can damage the paint and cause sun fade marks. Concrete is porous, so there are a few techniques that can remove it safely without damaging the clear coat, paint or primer on your car. It only takes a few tips, special products and tools to remove the unsightly material.

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  1. Park the vehicle in the shade out of direct sunlight and heat. Wash the entire vehicle with soap and water as you would normally. Mask off any sensitive areas on the paint that you do no wish to be affected by the chemicals, such as emblems and decals. Spray a liberal dose of full-strength vinegar on the concrete. Wait five minutes and repeat the spray application. Do it as many times as necessary until the concrete begins to soften.

  2. Direct a high-pressure nozzle on to the concrete, concentrating the spray to lift and dissolve the concrete particles. If the concrete isn't dissolving, use more vinegar applications, waiting several minutes between sprays. Try the high-pressure nozzle again, spraying directly on the concrete.

  3. Use several applications of full-strength vinegar in the same way as before. Wait until the concrete is completely soaked. As it begins to dissolve, use an old plastic credit card to chip away at the edges of the concrete. Work at it using a shaving motion. The plastic card will not damage the paintwork.

  4. Buy a kit designed to remove concrete stains professionally. They use formulated concrete removal chemicals that do not harm paint and contain no toxins.

  5. Cover the concrete stain areas with liberal amounts of the cleaner. The chemical reaction will turn the surface area white and then it will darken. Do not rinse the surface, but continue to apply several spray passes over the areas, keeping the concrete saturated for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

  6. Remove the concrete with a clean sponge or towel once it has dissolved to a muddy consistency. Rinse the area completely with clean water. Wax the area with paste wax to restore the paint finish.

  7. Tip

    Use the pressure washer at a car wash for best results. The water can be heated for extra lifting power.


    Don't use abrasive pads, brushes or harsh chemicals on your paint finish.

    Work in a well-ventilated area or outside when using vinegar.

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Things You'll Need

  • High-pressure jet-spray nozzle
  • Full-strength vinegar
  • Old credit card
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Cement dissolving kit
  • Gloves
  • Particle mask
  • Masking tape

About the Author

Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.

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