How to Remove Overspray from Car Without Damaging Clear Coat?

In simple terms, a substance that covers parts of a car is not required to is called an overspray. The overspray can occur when you are spraying the clear coat. However, when it happens, you need not worry, although its removal can be a complicated and hefty process as you have to be careful not to hurt the clear coat.

But that does not eliminate the possibility of removing overspray. Moreover, some over sprays like the chemical fallout and fire soot gets firmly attached to the clear coat to an extent you cannot remove them. In such cases, you can only remove the entire clear coat and fix it anew. This can be very costly.

How to Remove Overspray from Car Without Damaging Clear Coat

But, most overs-prays can be removed, and that is what this article is going to tackle. So, in case you have over-sprayed parts of your car, you remove the overspray and have your shiny vehicle back in the perfect clear coat. Or, if you are an auto detailer looking for information on how to remove overs-prays from cars so you can help your customers, this is the right place. Overspray removal services are in high demand, mainly if you live in a town.

Creation of Over Spray

How does it happen? You have been cleaning your vehicle, and you had this thought, “I got some time today, why not spray the car?” Then you made up your mind to do it. You get into the house, take everything needed, then you dash out to paint your car. You expect the car to nicely painted after the job.

You then start to paint damaged vehicle parts, and in the process, you realize some parts you did not intend to spray have been sprayed. That is how overspray is created. Especially in bad weather, you can be sure of a large amount of overspray if you use paint rollers or spray paint rigs. Honestly, this situation is not one of the best, and no one wants to find themselves in it. Good enough, there is a solution.

Do you live in an area with many petroleum and chemical industries? Have you noticed oversprays on your car clear coat? The petroleum and chemical industries could be the blame. Occasional blowouts of plant stacks can cause massive fallout damage to the vehicles.

Sometimes the source of the overspray may not be known to you. For instance, you parked your in a garage near a mall been constructed. Afterwards, you find overspray patches on the car surface. You then go straight to Google and search for sources of overspray only to get many overspray horrors articles like a mall painter covers 1000 cars with epoxy paint, and you start to panic.

Cost of Removing Over Spray

Usually, you will pay a detailer between $200 and $600 for overspray removal service. The service is expensive because it is a hard task to remove over sprays without damaging the clear coat. The price you will pay will be determined by the type of car you own, the extent of damage caused by the overspray, location of the overspray (note it is easy to remove overspray on glass), and the size of the vehicle.

For instance, does the overspray cover the entire car, or it’s just a small patch. Also, if it is the whole car, is it a SUV or a Kia Compact?

However, you do not need to pay a detailer to remove overspray patches for you. You can as well do it from your home garage. This will be less costly, although it is hectic. Only ensure you use high-quality products, whether the clay, lubricants, alcohol, etc., to avoid hurting the clear coat.

How Hard is Over Spray Removal

It is a hard task, and that is why detailers charge a lot of money for the service. It is a labour-intensive task that you will invest reasonable hours in doing. It can be frustrating. That is why you need to be patient and do it when you are not in a hurry. Sometimes after the entire process, there may still be small overspray patches remaining. And these also need to be removed so you may repeat the process.

Removing Overspray Without Damaging the Clear Coat

As previously mentioned, removing oversprays is not an easy task. However, this article shows you a method you can use to clear oversprays from the surface of your car without hurting the clear coat. The tricks and tips discussed in this article are cost-effective and won’t require you to have many tools. You can carry out the removal process from your home garage.

But, first, before you start, talk to a professional for advice. Sometimes the overspray is so bad and can only be fixed by a professional without hurting the clear coat. Below are steps to follow when removing over sprays.

Technique 1

Buy Clay Bar Online or From Stores Near You

When removing oversprays from surfaces, a clay bar is essential. It not only eliminates oversprays from car surfaces but also many other surfaces, including glass. Make sure you confirm the authenticity of the clay bar before buying because there are many fake products out there, and you do not want to create more issues.

Their cost ranges between $6 and $30, which is dependent on the quantity and quality of the clay. You may need to consult a specialist to know the best clay for your vehicle surface, so you do not make a mistake. For a perfect glide over the car surface, you will need to use the clay alongside a lubricant so it can do the job effectively.

This lubricant can be the regular car wash soap, or even most of the time, when you buy the clay bar, you will be given a free lubricant for an excellent finish.

Making the Surface Clean

Note that clay bars are generally hard when new. So it is necessary to make it soft by dipping it in warm water then squeezing it. Then make the surface with the overspray clean by spraying a car soap on it and washing it or wiping it with a dumb cloth piece to make it perfectly lubricated.

Ensure you keep the unused clay bar out of reach of children away from dust and direct sunlight. This way, you will make it last longer.

Surface Lubrication

As earlier mentioned, for the clay bar to give your car surface an excellent finish, you will have to use it together with a lubricant. Therefore spray the lubricant on the already wet overspray patch.

Read another post: Ceramic Coatings: Here’s everything you need to Know

Utilizing the Clay Bar

Your clay bar is now soft (after removing it from the warm water), the surface is clean and well lubricated, and it’s time for the clay bar to do its job. So gently rub the bar on the surface. It will not be a smooth process as you will feel some resistance between the overspray and the clay bar. This should not scare you.

It is what you should expect because if the overspray were easily removable, you would not need to use a clay bar, you could just rub it off using a piece of cloth. So be patient as you rub. After a while, the overspray will become softer and will start getting off. Then, you will know you are on the right path.


You have successfully removed the overspray, and the final step comes into play. Spray a car cleaner on the surface and use a clean piece of cloth to wipe it to remove debris that may still be available on the spot. This will give your car a smooth, shiny finish and promotes a clear coat.

How to Remove Overspray from Car Without Damaging Clear Coat

Technique 2

Using Alcohol

Have you ever seen somebody remove paint using alcohol? Maybe yes or no. Alcohol can remove many types of paint, and if it does that, then removing oversprays is not beyond its capability.

Start by rubbing some alcohol on the overspray spot to form an alcohol layer on top of the overspray. Make sure you do not pour so much alcohol on the place to avoid messing up with its functionality. By measuring the patch’s size, you will know the correct amount of alcohol you will use.

Dissolving Process

Allow the alcohol layer to sit over the overspray spot for a few minutes until it dissolves. This is essential for it to carry out the task. Note that the amount of time the alcohol will take to clear the overspray will be determined by the quality of the alcohol. Therefore it is vital to go for good quality alcohol as this will do the job in seconds.

Wipe the Spot

The alcohol has already dissolved the overspray. Get a clean towel and wipe the area to get a transparent surface with no overspray patches. But, sometimes, some overspray layers may remain stuck on the car surface. In that case, you need to get a scraper to remove them.

Cleaning the Area

Use ordinary car wash soap to clean the spot as final touches then wash with water. Once that is done, dry the surface to remove alcohol residue. This leaves the car’s clear coat untouched, which is what you are looking for in as much as you want to remove the overspray.

Does the Car Finish get Hurt

Well, if you are careful when you are removing oversprays from your car surface, there might only be slight damages to the car finish. The techniques and tricks mentioned above will enable you to do the job leaving less damage.

Note that for excellent results, you will need to buy high-quality lubricants, alcohol, and clay bar. And, even after getting the right products, you will have to follow the outlined steps carefully to get good results. Also, if the price of the products is high, spending to purchase them is better than having to redo the clear coat.

If, as a car owner, you cooperate in maintaining your car clear coat, it can last for quite a while. You do not even need a specialist to maintain the car finish. Following simple tricks, you can do it right from your garage.

Using Pressure Washer to Remove Oversprays

There are many questions on removing overspray, and one of them is whether it is possible to remove overspray using a pressure washer. The answer is yes, and no. It is yes because a pressure washer can remove paint oversprays that had already dried before landing on the car surface.

Although these overspray particles are still embedded in the clearcoat, the connection is weak and can quickly come off if you wash the car with a pressure washer. Paint sprays blown by the wind from distant places are examples of overspray that can be easily removed with a pressure washer.

On the contrary, most oversprays are hard to remove because they firmly attach to the clear coat. In such a case, you can only follow the steps mentioned above to remove the overspray. A pressure washer cannot remove them.

Also read: How to Drain Transmission Fluid


If you take the necessary precautions when dealing with your car service and clear coat, you will save money. Saving cash by buying cheap products for your car’s exterior is risky, but you are the one to make a decision. But your car requires proper attention.

If you do not attend to oversprays early enough, it can be hazardous, causing severe damage to your car. Your car should not die in a few years, so help it last longer by removing any oversprays as soon as you realize there are some.

You may need to continually pass your hand over the car surface to detect whether there are oversprays. This is because sometimes you may not see any overspray patch on your car. If you feel some roughness on the surface, that is an overspray.

Besides, if the car got overspray when you were spraying it, and the paint is still wet, immediately take action. Do not wait for the overspray to dry; otherwise, you will end up using a lot of energy to remove it.

Leave a Comment