Best Ways to Remove Paint From Car Interior

how to remove paint from car interior

Imagine driving a car with a pack of paint buckets in the backseat, and you suddenly hit an unexpected bump, causing the paint to spill all over the interior. One of the first questions that will come to your mind in this panic situation is How to remove paint from car interior. It is important to keep yourself calm in these situations and begin cleaning as soon as possible.

You must act right away before the paint dries, as it is much more difficult to remove dry paint than a wet paint spill. Latex paints tend to dry quickly, so removing them will be more challenging. You won’t have to worry about breaking the bank to remove the paint spill from your car. Almost any modern household contains the equipment necessary to clean up interior paint spills from a car. You only need to read the step-by-step instructions in this article.

Why should you remove the paint spill as early as possible?

how to remove paint from car interior

As soon as you spot a paint spill, clean it up immediately, as once it dries on the interior, it is very difficult to remove. The advantage of cleaning early is that you only need a few items like clothes for cleaning. As soon as it dries, you need to do interior detailing, which would cost a lot, and you may have to replace the interior of your car if the problem is severe.

back to menu ↑

How to remove paint from car interior (If spills are not dry)

It’s very important to focus on the safety precautions before going further with steps for cleaning car interiors from paint spills.

Safety precautions you need to take before removing spills

Wear Glasses: You should always wear glasses while cleaning your car’s interior since you never know what chemicals can get into your eyes.

Wear hand Gloves: Protecting your hands while performing deep interior cleaning is a good precaution since sharp objects can irritate your skin, and dirt might also be present.

Things you will need to remove paint

  • Leather or upholstery cleaner
  • Sodium bicarbonate (Baking soda)
  • Water
  • Soft cloths (microfiber)
  • Liquid dishwashing and soap
  • White vinegar
  • Cotton swabs

Step 1: Take the paint equipment off the vehicle

Before you can start cleaning up a paint spill, you must prevent further spills. Paint will take a few minutes to dry, even in a hot, dry climate.

how to remove paint from car interior

Take the leaking paint tin off the car first. It is recommended that you place the leaking tin in something that will contain spills, for example, a bucket of the newspaper.

Make sure you avoid direct sunlight and heat when storing your paint tin. When paint reaches more than 77°F, it thins out and spreads more rapidly. In hot weather, paint cans with closed lids can become pressurized, causing them to explode when the temperature reaches 248°F.

As soon as you’ve removed all the paint products from your car, remove anything else that may become contaminated with the paint. The same goes for car seats, floor mats, and any other items inside your vehicle that aren’t attached to the vehicle.

Step 2: Prepare your work area

The next step is to prepare to clean the spill after removing all paint equipment from the area. The temptation to begin cleaning as soon as possible may be strong, but it is dangerous to clean small paint particles.

Things to do while preparing your work area;

Ensure Proper Ventilation

As the American Lung Association points out, breathing in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint can cause short-term and long-term health issues. It can cause anything from dizziness to a runny nose to damage the nervous system.

We recommend you follow these steps to ensure that the spill area is properly ventilated:

  • Open the car’s windows and doors
  • Wear a mask while cleaning or use a respirator at all times.
  • Turn on your car’s air conditioners so that proper ventilation is maintained.
  • Take regular intervals, and if you feel unwell while cleaning, stop doing it.

We recommend you always choose a cleaning place with no children and pregnant women. Both groups have shown a very big risk of birth defects and harmful health results due to VOC exposure.

Step 3: Removing wet paint spills

Thinking about how to remove paint from car interior ? Whether you spilled water, sprayed, or oil-based paint, the process will be the same as removing as much extra paint as possible.

You will need a range of materials while cleaning up the spilled paint, no matter what kind of paint you are cleaning. Always choose those things to work with which you have expertise. We recommend you gather the following things;

  • Water source (bucket, hose, or water bottles)
  • Rags or cotton swabs for soaking up the paint
  • Plastic bags to put the used rags
  • Car interior cleaners (like Chemical guys or Meguiar’s)

When choosing a cleaner, it is important to pick the right one according to your car’s surface or material. If you have leather seats, you have to pick a leather cleaner.

To avoid eternally damaging your ride. Never use bleach, acetone (it damages plastic), and alcohol-based cleaners. They are great for cleaning but not for the car interior.

According to the cleaning industry experts. You can clean the paint spills in their ways. These ways include soaking, collecting it up, and vacuuming. You should try a mixture of these methods. The main purpose is not to remove all paint by removing 90% of the paint so you can clean the upholstery underneath.

Method 1: Soaking or absorbing the paint

In an emergency paint spill, you often have to act quickly, so using household rags is the best way to remove the paint.

how to remove paint from car interior

To remove paint spill through the soaking process, you will require towels, cotton swabs, or rags. Cotton swabs would be a good choice because they will absorb the paint faster than the clothes. It is always good to dispose of the rags or cotton after usage.

Important Note

  • Suppose you have chosen a plastic bag for removal; double layer your bag to prevent further paint spills. Keep the plastic bags out of heat and sun as it would cause a spontaneous explosion.
  • Soaking can take several minutes, so it is recommended to wear a mask to avoid long exposure to paint fumes.

Method 2: Spooning up paint

You can easily spoon up the wet paint with cleaning supplies at a moderate temperature because of its thickness. You will need a locked container for paint and tools to scoop paint up with this method. You can use any of the following things;

  • Brushes
  • A container
  • Shovel and a dustpan
  • A mop

Whatever you choose, never use the material again because the paint contains dangerous materials prone to combustion.

Important Note:

  • Never use the scooped paint again because it contains dirt and debris.
  • You can clean the tools you use for the cleaning, but it is safe to dispose of the scooped paint substance at your local waste removal site because they are prone to combustion.

Method 3: Removing up the paint with a vacuum cleaner

If you are getting worried about how to remove paint from car interior, then the best possible option is to choose a vacuum cleaner. It will deeply clean your car’s interior. It is an incredibly effective way to clean paint spills at a safe distance.

how to remove paint from car interior

When you use a vacuum cleaner, always dispose of it immediately. You can rinse your vacuum cleaner with water and use it again, but most experts do not recommend this. As you can only remove visible traces of paint from the vacuum, its harmful vapors can cause fire hazards.

back to menu ↑

What should you avoid doing?

Don’t put a hosepipe in your car, and certainly don’t use a pressure washer inside. Do not dilute the solution with a lot of water. A pressure washer will splatter the paint everywhere as it dilutes the paint, and diluting it will just spread it around. This may seem evident, but we have seen it happen!

back to menu ↑

How to remove spilled paint stains from car interior

Now that you have removed the wet paint spills from your car interior, it is time to remove the stains to ensure that your interior remains in top shape.

Identify the type of spilled paint.

After removing most of the paint spill, only hard-to-remove stains will be left on your car interior. When removing these stains, you must determine whether oil-based paint, water-based paint, or acrylic paint was spilled.

how to remove paint from car interior

All sorts of paints are composed of three basic components: pigment, filler, and binder. The pigment is the paint color, which changes according to the color you pick. Water contributes significantly to the paint’s quality. Low-quality paint contains more water than high-quality paint. Binders in paint are liquids that hold the pigment in place, either water-based, acrylic-based or oil-based.

back to menu ↑

Removing Water-Based Paints

It is easiest to remove water-based paint from any surface. You will need a sponge, two buckets, gloves, masks, and protective eyewear to remove the stain.

We recommend you use the following as a cleaning agent to remove the water-based paints

  • 5 warm water cups
  • Dishwashing liquid (2 tablespoons)
  • One teaspoon of baking soda or two tablespoons of white vinegar
  • In one bucket, mix the whole solution till it is fully dissolved. Fill the second one with water.

Take the sponge and cleaning mixture you have prepared and squeeze the cleaner over the affected area until it’s fully covered. For five to ten minutes, leave the mixture. By dissolving the mixture into the paint, it will break down its composition.

After 5 to 10 minutes, clean the mixture with a towel. You can remove the stain smoothly with the help of a sponge. Always scrub the area in a circular motion. After that, rinse the area with warm water. This will make your car interior look new.


  • Clean the affected stain area again and again. If you spilled a large quantity of paint, you could make more homemade cleaner.
back to menu ↑

Removing Oil-Based paints

Oil-Based paints are water-resistant. They can easily break down using water and mineral spirits. You just need a solution (which can be prepared at home), sponges, two buckets, gloves, etc.

how to remove paint from car interior

Although you can clean these stains with mineral spirits but would recommend you to use the homemade solution following our “how to remove paint from car interior” guide

  • 4 warm water cups
  • 2 liquid soap tablespoon
  • a teaspoon or two of mineral spirits
  • Mix the solution and fill the other bucket with warm water in one bucket.

Cover the entire affected area with the mixture and leave the solution for 15 minutes. Reapply the solution if you see that the area is drying. This process will help the paint spill disband, making it easier for you to remove. After 15 minutes, remove the mixture with the help of a sponge or towel. Carefully clean the stained area.

Work till you remove the stained paint from the surface.

back to menu ↑

Removing Acrylic paint

Acrylic paints tend to dry very quickly, so it is important to keep the stain wet during the cleaning process. To remove acrylic paint stain, you need two buckets and a homemade cleaning solution with sponges. You can prepare a homemade cleaning solution with the following ingredients.

  • 5 warm water cups
  • 2 dishwashing liquid tablespoons
  • 1 white vinegar tablespoon
  • 1 mineral spirits teaspoon of (additional)

Mix these ingredients in one bucket and put the water in another bucket.

Take the solution and squeeze it on the stained surface. Try to add the solution again and again to prevent the paint stain from drying. Repeat this process for 15-20 minutes and wipe the mixture with towels.

After wiping with the towels, use the sponge to remove the paint. It would be better if you sponge the area and rinse it simultaneously. Continue the process until you are satisfied with the result.

back to menu ↑

What if the paint splatters everywhere?

There are many cases where we often hear that the paint has been spilled everywhere from floor to seats. There is no possibility that you can get away from this. It is more difficult to clean than a normal spill. The carpets will be soaked in the paint, and the stain will be all over the seats. Although you can still clean, it would require a lot of experience and equipment. So we would recommend you to take your car to the professionals.


Best Ways to Remove Paint From Car Interior
Best Ways to Remove Paint From Car Interior

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply