How to Remove the Clear Coat From a Car

by Darin McGilvra
Jupiterimages/ Images

Clear coat is a substance made of polyester or acrylic that is sprayed on to cars after they have been painted to make the paint shiny and to harden it. This will usually be applied to the wheels and any other chrome or aluminum surfaces as well. Over time, the clear coat on these surfaces can become dull, peeled or streaked and will need to be removed.

Step 1

Fill a bucket with car soap and water. Use a washcloth to thoroughly clean the part of the car that you will be removing the clear coat from. Rinse with the garden hose.

Step 2

Dry the area thoroughly with a towel or chamois.

Step 3

Apply a generous coating of clear-coat remover with a paintbrush and allow it to sit for several minutes until you see that the clear coat has been lifted off the surface.

Step 4

Rinse the area thoroughly with the garden hose and spray nozzle.

Dry the part thoroughly with the towel or chamois.


  • Some clear-coat removers come with spray bottles that make them easier to apply; however, you will have to deal with excess spray getting on other surfaces.
  • Work in a shaded area to prevent the clear-coat remover from drying out.
  • If some areas of clear coat are stubborn or stuck on, you may need to use the remover a second time on those areas or buff the areas with a scuff pad while the remover is on the surface.


  • Keep the clear coat remover off painted surfaces because it will remove the paint as well. This may be easier to do by simply removing the part you are working on from the car.
  • Avoid working on days with high humidity as this may make the clear-coat remover less effective.

Items you will need

  • Clear-coat remover
  • Paintbrush
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Car soap
  • Washcloth
  • Towel or chamois leather
  • Bucket

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