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How to Remove Paint Spilled onto Car


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Try "Easy Off" oven cleaner. Spray it on, wait a few minutes to soften then wipe it off. I use it to take old enamel lettering off trucks without damaging the vehicle finish. Don't do this in the hot sun. I suggest you test a small spot first because I don't know how it will work on house paint.

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Jesus, oven cleaner?!? That seems a little harsh and could certainly damage the paint underneath. That stuff will eat anything.

 

If it's latex paint, let it dry and scrape as much off by hand or with a plastic scraper, not metal. Then you should be able to use a mild buffing compound and/or a clay bar to remove the rest. If the car paint is in good condition, the latex paint won't stick to it very well so it should peel of relatively easily once it's cured.

 

There's no easy solution--this is going to take a lot of time and hand work if you really want to save the paint underneath. Good luck!

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I would say water, but that's before it dried.  Denatured alcohol should work on fairly new latex paint.  Shouldn't touch the car paint but will soften up the latex.  Try it on an inconspicuous spot on your paint first just to be sure.

Good luck

Scott

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I learned the oven cleaner trick from the painter that hand letters our company trucks & pin strips my brass cars. When we had to change our area code about 15 years ago we had to re-letter our trucks. We called him in and he used Easy Off to remove the old "One Shot" enamel paint, the paint that most of us use for striping. Since then I always use it to remove the lettering off company vans before we trade them in.  The dealer used to deduct for "Remove & Repaint" from trade-in value. I can tell you it works on removal of enamel without damaging factory finish. It will leave a dull residue you will have to wax off but it won't damage the finish. It may affect air dried repaint jobs but not factory finish. I can't tell you how it will work on latex house paint but it is worth a try.

 

You are not going to be able to scrape it off if it has dried in the hot sun for several days. And you certainly can't buff it off without buffing through the clean finish next to the spill. .....Easy Off..... It works.

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I would also recommend the metholated spirits. 

If it is water based house paint,  the meths on a rag will soften the paint so you can wipe it off and if the car has factory paint on it the meths should not affect it at all but try a small spot under the hood or trunk to test it.

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Thank you for all of the suggestions. The car is a 1970 Jeep Commando that has been in storage for several years. There is no insurance (nick8086) since it has been sitting for so long. A family member just bought it. They are out of town for several weeks. When they get back we will try out the suggestions to see if any of them work. I will post the results. Thanks again and if there are other ideas, please post them.

 

Steve

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Lacquer thinner is another possibility as long as the original finish wasn't lacquer... which in the case of the Jeep is unlikely. The problem with all of these suggestions is that if the underlying paint is badly oxidized, you will probably rub through before you get all the house paint off. I wish you luck, but I've been faced with this predicament on a customer's car before, and ended up doing a complete repaint. 

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On 11/10/2017 at 5:39 PM, Matt Harwood said:

Jesus, oven cleaner?!? That seems a little harsh and could certainly damage the paint underneath. That stuff will eat anything.

 

Agreed. Oven cleaner is caustic soda. It is the same stuff that was used in "hot tanks" in machine shops back in the day to strip blocks. Many years ago, I have used easy-off to strip engines for repainting. It removes paint, oil, baked on carbon, brass, aluminum, zinc, skin, whatever flesh is under the skin, etc....

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  • 2 years later...

That finish looks pretty oxidized so it's going to act like a primer which is going to make it really tough.  If you can get under an edge anywhere since it's thick,  what if you use a little heat?  Will it soften the latex enough to make it lift?  Again I would try in a not very obvious area and some place where it's thick.  There is one other option but you really need some skill and patience to do it but in the end will require you buffing out the whole area and probably wet sanding it when you are done,  which won't match the rest then. 

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When I had the pin stripping redone on my 1984 BMW 633 CSi in 2015, the gentlemen who took off the old and redid the new stripe used Easy-Off oven cleaner to remove the old stripes.

 

Interesting story.  He lives in Lansdale PA just outside of Philadelphia and I live in Mechanicsburg, just west of Harrisburg PA.  He would only drive approximately half way, so we met at a Super Market parking lot in Lititz where he did the work.  After my car, he was going to pin stripe several cars at a dealership near the Super Market.  He sprayed on the oven clear and wiped it back of around 2 or 3 minutes later and the pin stripes came right off.  Dennis McGoldrick did the Pinstriping and it looks great.  https://www.dmpinstriping.com

 

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Many years ago the wife of a client of ours called me in a panic.  Her daughter, a "debutante" type, was painting one of her Dad's antique steam engines with a brush using bright red Centauri epoxy paint.  Somehow she managed to spill almost the entire gallon down over her head and long blonde hair.  Desperate to try something Mom tried to rinse it out with cold water,  the absolute worst thing to do.  We tried everything we could think of that wouldn't harm her skin and nothing worked.  End of the day she ended up with very short and sparse hair still showing traces of red. Then again, I don't think we tried oven cleaner...

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Customer's car trailer was stolen from his home near Baltimore.  Police found the trailer. The thieves had painted over its red exterior with green latex house paint.  Insurance company paid us to remove the latex, which we did using lots of water and Scotchbrite pads. Took some of the shine off the red but did not ruin it.

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Since all else has failed last resort is paint stripper.  Apply carefully with a brush, only on the white paint, and wipe it off and neutralize it as soon as the white paint comes loose. It may help to scrape it with a plastic putty knife if the stripper doesn't melt the plastic.

 

 Or splash the whole Jeep with white, brown, green etc and call it camouflage.

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With solvent based finishes one just has to use the solvent they use to thin the product from the factory.  Unfortunately with latex it's water so it doesn't really work once dried but I think the scotch bright pads might be a good idea,  though you will really want to be careful to concentrate on the latex and avoid the original paint as much as possible.  Did you also let the solvents you tried sit on the latex for any period of time? They need to soak in but again you need to avoid as much contact with the original paint so as to not get that to go soft. 

Last suggestion I have used on stuff that got paint on it is to use the painters trick of a razor blade and tape each end of the blade leaving a little of the center exposed and very gently and carefully back blade over the house paint effectively shaving it off.  You really need a delicate touch and patience to do this though.  I haven't tried the plastic razor blades but they may be an options as well.  Again this is something that takes some skill and alot of patience.  Once done you will most likely have to wet sand and buff the area though.  I would also shave it only enough to get the latex super thin so you can see the original finish through it then finish with a buff or wet sand and buff.  The scotch brite pads may work then but they are really coarse.  You might even be able to use 0000 steel wool to get it even closer toe ht finish but I would try to not break through the latex if possible so any scratching remains on that surface. Once you get it really thin,  other solvents recommended may work.  A big thick hunk of latex is going to be hard for solvents to react with but a thin layer they will penetrate much better. 

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On 11/16/2017 at 12:29 PM, keiser31 said:

The product called, "Goof Off" may work well on paint removal.

 

I second taking a look at Goof Off. I have used it to remove old dried latex paint from a sealed concrete floor without damaging the sealer. It did seem to dull the sealer on the floor a little but it didn't dissolve it.

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