How to Get White Paint Off Your Car

by Sonya Reinhardt

Unintended vehicle slip-ups happen to many people, and they are often unavoidable. Whether you parked too quickly in a space cornered by brightly colored concrete pillars or the white car next to you swung its door open too forcefully, your nice paint job may encounter some unsightly streaks over the course of its life. Fortunately, you can easily remove unwanted paint with some common household items and a bit of elbow grease.

Mix soap and water in the bowl.

Moisten the sponge with soapy water and thoroughly clean the affected area.

Allow the area to dry, or dry it with the towel. Keep in mind you will use this towel later, too.

Put the sponge and soapy water aside for later.

Put on the disposable gloves to protect your hands from the caustic chemical properties of acetone, the primary ingredient in nail polish remover.

Wrap the towel around your finger to form a point.

Moisten the tip of your toweled finger with nail polish remover.

Gently rub your finger over the thickest part of the unwanted paint.

Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the bulk of the paint has been removed.

Moisten a few cotton balls with the nail polish remover.

Repeat the same motion as before to remove any wide areas of thinly coated paint.

Dip a cotton swab into the nail polish remover, and repeat the same motion for hard-to-reach areas or especially stubborn flecks of paint.

Discard the towel and all cotton balls and swabs that contain nail polish remover.

Rewash the entire area with sponge and soapy water to remove all traces of nail polish remover.


  • Make sure that your finished work does not smell like nail polish remover whatsoever, as even small pieces can begin to eat away at your underlying paint job over time.


  • Avoid scrubbing the unwanted paint, as this substance can remove your desired paint, too.
  • Do not attempt to reuse the towel for other things, as acetone can eat through other materials and remain in your washing machine.

Items you will need

About the Author

Sonya Reinhardt holds a bachelor's degree in English and has written professionally for news publications since 2004. Her writing expertise spans public education, youth activities, home financing decisions, and craft ideas for families.

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