Can Silly String Damage a Car?

by Christine Lehman

Silly string has been a part of celebrations and festivities since it first came on the market in the 1970s. It is often used in parades and wedding celebrations. However, this practice has largely had to stop because Silly String can cause hundreds of dollars of damage to the exterior of a car.

Features

Silly String is made of a liquid resin that is in a can under pressure. When sprayed, the resin leaves the can as a liquid and the propellant immediately evaporates, leaving a sticky solid string floating through the air.

Significance

Silly String is tacky and will stick to nearly everything it touches when it is first released from the can. If it lands on the surface of a car and is not promptly removed, it can dry and become next to impossible to remove.

Effects

Silly String is relatively non-toxic, but it can leave lasting damage to vinyl surfaces such as vinyl roofs on automobiles. If the car top happens to be white, it is also possible that the color from the Silly String can bleed and stain the vinyl. It can also damage the clear coat on a car, which is the protective covering over the paint.

Considerations

Gently buffing the car, or using a rubbing compound, may remove dried Silly String from the surface of your car. In some cases, WD40, or a similar solvent, can dissolve and remove Silly String remnants. If damage to the clear coat has occurred, or if the surface has been stained by the Silly String, it may be impossible to remedy this without spending a lot of money and seeking professional assistance.

Prevention/Solution

To avoid silly string damaging your car, park away from festivities that will potentially use the substance. If Silly String does land on your car, remove it as quickly as possible. The longer it stays in contact with the car, the more difficult it is to remove and the more severe the damage can become. In many places, the sales of Silly String and similar products has been banned from within 1,500 feet of parade routes because of the damage done in the past to automobiles and fire trucks.

About the Author

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