How to Remove Paint Transfer from Car? – 5 Simple Steps



Car accidents, whether severe or not, can be distressing. Even a paint scrape from a minor collision can be a big problem, especially when it stands out, like on white paint.

Paintwork repair at the auto repair shop can be costly, and fixing it yourself at home can be challenging. But someone has to do it, and that someone would be you if you’d rather not pay for a professional service.

To help you safely take off paint transfer from your car without damaging its paintwork, this article will demonstrate how to remove paint transfer from car.

Ways to Remove Paint Transfer From Car

Paint transfer removal can be done in many different ways with different products. But whatever product you choose, whether a commercial product or household item, you have to use it/them with caution, as they’re abrasive and can damage your car’s paintwork if used carelessly.

What to prepare


  • Agent to remove the paint transfer – You can use various products for removing paint transfer, such as scratch remover, rubbing compound, WD40 spray, magic eraser, and you can even clean paint off car with toothpaste and nail polish remover. Some are better to use than others, depending on how severe the paint transfer is.

Choose the most suitable product corresponding to the thickness or thinness of the paint transfer. For a chrome bumper, use Goof Off or lacquer thinner.

  • Microfiber towels
  • Car wash soap
  • A soft sponge and cloth
  • Car polish
  • Touch-up paint
  • Car wax

Step 1: Wash Your Car or the Affected Area


There may be contaminants on your car’s exterior that can get rubbed and scratch the surface when you remove the car paint transfer. So it’s advisable to wash your car or just the area with paint transfer at least.

Step 2: Remove the Paint Transfer With Your Product of Choice

Whatever product you use, monitor the surface each time you buff out paint on car to ensure you don’t end up causing severe scratches or removing your car’s paintwork.

1. Scratch Remover


A scratch remover, such as Turtle Wax Scratch Repair and Renew, is less abrasive than a rubbing compound and ideal for minor paint transfer.

  • Apply a little scratch remover on a microfiber towel or foam applicator.
  • Firmly but gently rub the product back and forth on the affected area to effectively get paint scuff off car without damaging your car’s paintwork.

If there’s still paint transfer on the surface, repeat the steps of this method or switch to a rubbing compound, such as Turtle Wax Red Rubbing Compound or WD40, for better removal.

2. Rubbing Compound


Compared to a scratch remover, a rubbing compound is more aggressive and can handle more severe paint transfer. But you must apply it carefully and gently because using it carelessly with too much agitation and pressure can damage the paintwork.

  • Apply a little bit of rubbing compound on a microfiber towel.
  • Gently rub the compound on the affected area using circular motions.
  • Turn the microfiber towel to the dry side or get another towel and wipe off the excess compound from the surface.
  • Again turn the towel or get another towel, and buff the surface.

If there’s still paint transfer left over, repeat the steps of this method or switch to WD40.

3. WD40 Spray and Magic Eraser


WD40 is a multipurpose formula that can be used for many things. And remove dried paint transfer on a car is one of those things because it’s capable of softening paint transfer and lifting it out of a car’s paintwork.

Pair it with a magic eraser, which works wonders on contaminants, hence its name, and you can easily remove the paint transfer. But it’s a slightly abrasive sponge, so don’t scrub it too aggressively.

  • Evenly apply the WD40 to the affected area. Only apply a little of it, as excessive amounts of it can result in the removal of your car’s paintwork. Try to avoid getting it on other parts of the car. If it does, immediately wipe it away.
  • Leave the WD40 on the surface for a few minutes to work on the paint transfer.
  • Soak the magic eraser in warm water.
  • Gently and carefully scrub off the paint transfer with the magic eraser, following the direction of how the paint was scuffed. For example, if it was scuffed horizontally, then scrub horizontally also.

Don’t go against the grain or scrub in circular motions, as that would result in swirl marks.

If you’re working on a thick layer of paint, another application of WD40 would be necessary.

4. Good Off or Lacquer Thinner – For Chrome Bumpers


If the affected area is the chrome bumper, the appropriate product to use would be Good Off or lacquer thinner.

  • Apply the solution on a soft cloth.
  • Lightly rub it on the affected areas.
  • Avoid getting it on the paintwork. If it accidentally spills on the paintwork, wipe it off immediately.

Related: Detailed guide on cleaning chrome trim on a car.

5. Toothpaste


If you’d rather not head to the store to buy any product, then go to your bathroom instead and grab your toothpaste, as it can also be an alternative car paint scuff remover. Its grittiness makes it work well in removing paint transfer.

  • Moisten the cloth.
  • Squeeze a little amount of toothpaste onto the moistened cloth.
  • Use the moistened cloth with toothpaste to gently rub off the paint transfer. Work in circular motions.

Nail Polish Remover


Another alternative that female car owners or car owners’ girlfriends or wives probably have is nail polish remover. If you don’t have one, you can just buy a cheap one.

  • Apply a little bit of nail polish remover on a microfiber towel.
  • Rub the nail polish remover on the affected area.
  • Immediately wash off residual nail polish remover with water on the already cleaned surfaces to prevent it from damaging your car’s paintwork.

Step 3: Clean the Area You Worked On


After you remove the paint transfer from your car, you must thoroughly clean off any remains of the product you used.

  • Wipe off the leftover product on the area you worked on with a microfiber towel.
  • Then, wash the area with car soap.

Step 4: Fix Any Scratches Inflicted in the Removal Process


Inspect your car’s paintwork and fix any scratches left after removing the paint transfer from car finish. Your course of action would depend on the severity of the scratches.

  • If there are only very minor scratches, then use polish to smooth them out.
  • In the case of severe scratches that can lead to further damage, apply touch-up paint on them.
  • If the scratches are so deep that they reached the metal, they would also require a treatment for preventing rust

Step 5: Apply Wax on the Area You Worked On


Another important thing you should do after you successfully remove paint scuff is to apply wax on the area you worked on, as the products for removing paint transfer can also remove wax.

  • Apply wax with a microfiber towel or applicator pad.
  • Leave the wax on the surface for a couple of minutes.
  • Wipe off the wax residue.
  • Buff the surface.


Sometimes, when we’re caught off-guard or even when we’re cautious with our car, accidents can happen. While some may require professional repairs, some can also be fixed with DIY repairs like how to remove paint transfer from car.

It may seem like a tricky task, but with much caution and meticulous attention to the surface you’re working on, you’ll be able to bring your car’s paintwork back to normal without damaging it. And another important thing to keep in mind to avoid damage is to also use a product that’s appropriate for the thickness or thinness of the paint transfer.

5/5 - (2 votes)



"As the content writer of Charmcitycirculator, I intend to bring just the best purchase options and straightforward answers to your problems. Other than what we put up on our website, we hope to hear more from you. "

– Bruce Sonnier