How To: Remove Spray Paint After Your Car Gets Tagged

Remove Spray Paint After Your Car Gets Tagged

There are some really talented graffiti artists out there. Some of them are good enough that businesses hire them to paint advertisements, rather than hiring someone to scrub their work off the side of the building.

Then there are the taggers who just go around painting their names all over everything. Bus stops, street signs, sidewalks...just about anything is fair game. For the most part, public property tends to be the main target, but occasionally, you'll see someone's car with a shiny new amateur paint job.

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That's just wrong.

It's still annoying to deal with, but if your car ever falls victim to a tagger, there are several ways you can try to remove it before resigning yourself to an expensive new paint job.

Soapy Water

Before you try anything else, wash your car with warm, soapy water. Certain types of paint are water soluble, and even the ones that aren't can be partially or completely removed this way if they haven't dried completely.

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Redditor notsoevilhost left his car in front of his house and returned to find it looking like this:

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Using acetone and an absorbent rag, he was able to completely remove the spray paint.

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Acetone is a good, cheap solution, but it can damage your clear coat as well as any plastic parts, or even take off your original paint if you scrub too hard. Make sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first, and wash it off when you're finished.

Nail polish remover that has acetone in it also works, and is a little friendlier to your paint job since it's diluted with other ingredients.


Much like acetone, gasoline or petrol will take off a lot of spray paints, but can damage your clear coat or paint job. If you do use it, just be sure to wash it off immediately.

Clay Bar

If you don't mind spending a few bucks, a detailing clay bar is by far the safest option. For about $20, you can buy a bar that will remove the spray paint and leave your car looking shiny.

It also removes dirt, tree sap, and any other contaminants, so you'll have a use for the rest later if you have any left over.

Bug & Tar Remover

If you have a bottle of bug and tar remover, it can take off some types of spray paint. Plus, it's made to be used on cars, so it won't damage your paint like some other solutions.

Commercial Products

Just like every other problem, there are a few products that are made specifically for removing graffiti from cars and other structures, like Graffiti Safewipes.

Just make sure to do your research before purchasing a particular brand so you know they're safe to use on cars. You can find several similar products you can buy online by searching for "graffiti removal products."

Has another method worked for you that isn't on the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photos by Jessica C, bored-now


Brilliant Idea. I enjoyed the article and thanks in consideration to posting such valuable tidings extras of all of us.

Buying a rv van with both side of spray paint graffi with older spray paint can we get that out? Please help.

This just happened to my car last night. My 2015 that I have had for 3 months! I hope one of these solutions work! Thank you so much for sharing!

My kid got hair dye splaters on our neighbors car, do you think this would remove it? ??

Another way to remove pen ink from the car is by "soaking" the stain in whole milk. This method will require you to leave your car for a few hours – or overnight, in some cases – so ensure you have ample time to perform this task.

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