How to Remove Paint From Car Window? 5 Steps to Remember

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to remove paint from car window

You’re probably here either because your car windows have: a.) paint decorations for a special occasion, b.) been vandalized with paint, or c.) paint overspray from a car paint repair. And you’re looking for a detailed and helpful guide on how to remove paint from car window”.

Whether you’re trying to remove car window paint or get spray paint off car windows, it’s just the same process and easy.

But it also depends on a couple of factors for effective and damage-free cleaning. In a nutshell, it involves:

  • Checking the type of paint to determine the cleaning solution.
  • Scraping off the paint with the right tool.
  • Cleaning it off with the right cleaning solution.
  • Washing the area you cleaned.


What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


Dried paint on a car window won’t easily come off with just a rag soaked with water or even any regular paint remover.

It will require using a couple of specific tools and cleaning products to clean windshields and windows effectively and without causing damage. You can find them in the list below:

  • Water-Based Liquid Detergent
  • Warm Water: Water at a warm temperature would also help get paint off car window. It would be mixed with the water-based liquid detergent. Even just the water-based liquid detergent and warm water solution would effectively remove water-based paint.
  • Two buckets
  • Razor Blade for Paint Removal or Plastic Putty Knife: Before cleaning with a solution, you will first scrape the paint off the window. If your windows are not tinted, a razor blade specially designed for paint removal will do.
  • But if your windows are tinted, it’s best to use a plastic putty knife, as it would be much safer to use than the blade, which could be damaging to the windows’ tint film.
  • Hand Broom and Dustpan: As the paint is scraped away from the window, it would be falling off the surface. So you would need a hand broom and dustpan to sweep them away.
  • Sponge, Cotton Towel, and Rag
  • WD-40 or Acetone: For removing oil-based paint, you would need more than the water-based liquid detergent and warm water solution. You would need the reinforcement of either WD-40 or acetone. Either would work well in getting rid of oil-based paint.
  • Rubber Gloves: If you’re going to use acetone for cleaning, you should wear some rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • Protective Mask: Being exposed to too much of the acetone’s vapors can be harmful. So for safe cleaning, wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling too much of them.

Step by Step Instructions for Car Window Paint Removal


Step 1: Check if the Paint Is Water Based or Oil Based

Before you clean off the paint from the car window, you should first check if it’s water-based or oil-based. Checking the type of the paint would determine the method to be used for removing the paint, which will be delved into in step three.

Step 2: Wash the window first

A tip that would help scrape the paint off the car window easier is first to create a soapy solution. You can make it with a water-based liquid detergent and warm water in a bucket for applying to the window.

This would soften the paint on the surface and prevent scratches while scraping. Once you’ve prepared it, take a sponge, dip it into the solution, and apply the solution to the areas with paint.

Step 3: Scrape off as Much Paint as Possible

After applying the solution, it’s time to scrape off the paint. It won’t remove the paint entirely, but it will help make the following step easier.

  • For non-tinted windows, you can use the razor blade specially designed for paint removal.
  • For tinted windows, you must use a plastic putty knife.

When scraping the paint, you should do it carefully, holding the blade or putty knife at an angle and placing the edge against the surface with paint.

Then push it against the paint, scraping with long strokes using only one direction and lifting it after each stroke. You should avoid scraping back and forth, as it could cause scratches.

As you scrape off the paint, clean up the debris with the hand broom and dustpan.

But if the paint remains on the surface, apply more of the solution and scrape again.

Step 4: Clean the Paint off the Window

There are different methods for removing paint from a car window. As mentioned earlier, checking the type of paint will determine the cleaning method.

There is only the very simple water-based liquid detergent and warm water method for water-based paint. Meanwhile, for oil-based paint, there are two methods to choose from, which are the WD-40 and acetone method.

Cleaning off Water-Based Paint

As compared to oil-based paint, water-based paint is easier to remove.

You simply have to apply more water-based liquid detergent and warm water solution and scrub the paint off with a sponge. And the paint will just come off.

Cleaning off Oil-Based Paint

  • WD-40 Method: Wash the area with paint first using the water-based liquid detergent and warm water solution.
  • Then lightly spray a coat of WD-40 on a cotton towel, and scrub it on the paint. Leave the WD-40 on the paint for 10 to 20 minutes to let it work on the paint.
  • After letting the WD-40 work on the paint, wash the area again with the water-based liquid detergent. If you still notice some paint remaining on the surface, repeat the entire method.
  • Acetone Method: If you prefer to remove oil-based paint with acetone, you must do the cleaning in an area that’s well ventilated, like outside.
  • Start by washing the area with paint using the water-based liquid detergent.
  • And before cleaning with acetone, it would be advisable to wear some rubber gloves and a protective mask for protection.
  • Take a rag and put some acetone on it. Then use it to scrub the area with paint. Do it carefully to avoid damaging the car’s paintwork.

Step 5: Wash the Car Window

Lastly, wash the area that you worked on thoroughly with the water-based liquid detergent. This would get rid of residues and make the window completely clean.


So next time you use window paint or spray paint or accidentally get paint overspray during repair, you already know how to remove paint from car window. It would just require the right tools and cleaning products and caution to get it spotless once again.

We’d like to know if you liked this article, so any thoughts are welcome. Feel free to share with other car owners looking for the solution.

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