How to Wash Matte Car Paint? – 6 Essential Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton


Having the trendy, stand-out matte look on your car entails correctly practicing how to wash matte car paint. If you want to have a vehicle as cool as the iconic matte black Batmobile, for example, you gotta know how to clean matte black paint and maintain it well.

The process is pretty easy. It just requires specific products and a different approach from washing shiny cars.

Steps to Wash Matte Car Paint

What to Prepare

  • Microfiber wash mitts
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Water
  • Pressure washer
  • Foam cannon
  • Snow Foam
  • Pre-wash cleaner spray
  • Car soap for matte paintwork
  • Two buckets
  • Grit guards
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Contaminant remover
  • Spray-on sealant it ceramic coating
  • Applicator pad (optional)

Step 1: Wash the Wheels


Car washing, in general, usually starts with washing the wheels with a wheel cleaner because doing this last may cause splashes onto already clean paintwork.

  1. Spray the wheel cleaner on the wheels, and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Scrub the wheels. Then rinse them thoroughly.

As much as possible, try not to get the wheel cleaner onto the paintwork. If you accidentally splash the wheel cleaner onto the matte finish, wash it off the splashed surface immediately.

Step 2: Pre-wash the Car Body With Snow Foam


Some contaminants can be abrasive and leave scratches on the paintwork when they’re wiped off by the wash mitt. And you wouldn’t want to cause scratches on matte car paint, as that would require repainting.

So pre-washing the car with snow foam is a must before wiping the paintwork with car soap and wash mitt. This step will help prevent contaminants from being rubbed on the surface and causing scratches by loosening, breaking down, and lifting them on the paintwork with the snow foam.

  1. Start by first applying foam at the lower back parts of the car where it’s dirtiest.
  2. Move on to the other parts, going up, finishing with the roof last. Make sure to coat the entire car.
  3. Let the snow foam sit on the surface for a few minutes. Then rinse it all off.

Step 3: Treat Old Stains With a Pre-wash Cleaner (Optional)


Some stains, particularly the old and dried-on ones, may not be removed by snow foam. In this case, you can use a pre-wash cleaner spray to remove stains from matte paint car.

  1. Apply the pre-wash cleaner spray to the affected area.
  2. Let the cleaner sit on the surface for four to five minutes.
  3. Then, rinse the surface.

Step 4: Wash the Car With Matte Car Soap


When it’s time to wash the car with soapy water, make sure to use the appropriate cleaning products and car washing method.

  • It’s best to use car soap without wax or gloss enhancers because these ingredients can make the paintwork shiny, which beats the point of matte car paint.

For safe matte paint cleaning, use a pH-neutral soap, meaning one with pH 7. Low-pH acidic car soaps are too harsh and damaging for matte paintwork. You can also use a specially formulated car soap for matte paint.

  • Take out the microfiber wash mitt for wiping the paintwork.
  • Use the two-bucket method, which involves one bucket for the soapy water and another bucket for rinsing contaminants off the wash mitt.
  • Use grit guards at the bottom of the buckets for better scratch prevention.

Now, start cleaning:

  1. Work one small section at a time, from the top, going down.
  2. Lubricate the paintwork well with soapy water, and wipe gently to avoid scratching it.
  3. Remember to always rinse the wash mitt before dipping it back in soapy water.
  4. Once you’re finished wiping the car with soap, thoroughly rinse the car, starting from the top, going down.

Step 5: Dry the Car


Thoroughly dry the car to avoid water spots and prepare the paintwork for decontamination and protectant application.

Start drying from the top, going down. Avoid wiping with too much pressure to not cause scratches.

Also, it would help to use a blower in crevices where water sits.

Step 6: Decontaminate the Paintwork With a Contaminant Remover (Optional)


If there are stubborn contaminants left on the car exterior even after pre-washing with snow foam and wiping with soap, such as tar, tree sap, bird droppings, etc, you can remove them with a contaminant remover.

  1. Again, work on one small section at a time.
  2. Spray the contaminant remover on the affected area.
  3. Depending on the product, you would either wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth or wash the surface and dry it.

Step 7: Use a Scratches Remover for Scratches (Optional)


Once the car has been thoroughly cleaned, it would be the perfect time to remove scratches if it has any. You can fix minor scratches using touch-up paint. For severe scratches, it would be best to have them resprayed by a professional.

Don’t use the polish normally used for removing scratches on shiny paintwork. That would smoothen the matte paintwork, resulting in the loss of its matte look and becoming shiny instead.

  1. To ensure that you use touch-up paint that’s the exact match to your matte paintwork, go buy it at the car dealership.
  2. With a small brush, dab only a little amount of the touch-up paint to prevent it from running or dripping.
  3. Brush the touch-up paint over the scratch to cover it up.
  4. It may be necessary to do multiple coats of the touch-up paint for complete coverage.
  5. Let the touch-up paint dry.
  6. Once the touch-up paint is dry, proceed to protect the area and the entire car with a sealant or ceramic coating, which is explained in the next step.

Step 8: Apply Sealant or Ceramic Coating on the Paintwork


You must apply some protection on the paintwork to prevent contaminants from easily adhering to it. Just as you would avoid car soap with wax or gloss enhancers, you must also avoid wax or any product that adds shine.

  • The ideal product to use to protect matte paint on car is either a sealant or ceramic coating specially formulated for matte paintwork.
  • Instructions may differ from one product to another. But generally, you would have to evenly spread a coat of the sealant or ceramic coating using an applicator pad or microfiber cloth.
  • The product may require you to let it sit on the surface for some time.
  • With another microfiber cloth, gently buff the surface, moving in forward and backward Don’t use circular motions, as this can cause swirl marks.


To effectively clean a matte car without causing damage, remember to use the appropriate products and follow the proper steps on how to wash matte car paint. By taking good care of your vehicle with these specific matte paint care practices, you’ll be able to maintain your vehicle’s clean, stylish look.

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