How to remove overspray from a car (The Right Way)

When painting a car, hood, or other surfaces with spray paint, some paint will inevitably get on places you didn't intend. Overspray is when there is too much paint in one area and ends up on unintended surfaces or outside the boundaries of where it should be. While overspray can look unsightly and take away from your finished project, you don't have to let it bother you.

There are ways to control overspray and prevent it from happening as frequently. The more practice you have spraying surfaces before moving on to something more detailed and essential, like your car, the less overspray there will be. But even if you only have a few test pieces ruined by overspray, these techniques will help reduce the amount of overspray on future projects. Here are a few helpful tips on removing overspray from a car that will keep those unwanted splotches away the next time you paint.


You can remove overspray from your car in a few different ways. One way is to use a garden hose and spray the overspray off the car. Another way is to use a pressure washer. If you do not have either, you can use a sponge and soapy water to remove the overspray.

Quick Fixes

  • Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off any overspray on the car's surface.
  • If the overspray is on the car's windows, use a glass cleaner to remove it.
  • If the overspray is on the car's paint, use a mild soap and water solution to remove it. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply a small amount of dish soap to the overspray. Rub the cloth or sponge over the overspray in a circular motion. Rinse the area with clean water. Repeat the process if necessary.


You can use a Gold Clay Bar System to remove overspray from the car.


When painting a car, you will have to cover various areas of the vehicle so that the paint doesn't get on them. While it may be tempting to leave parts of the car uncovered to save time and effort, it's vital to cover any areas you don't want to be painted so you don't get overspray. If you are painting the entire car, you will want to cover the tires, the wheels, the windshield, the windows, the mirrors, and other areas you don't want to be painted.

Be sure to cover everything, including the car's underside and engine, so that no overspray ends up in a place it shouldn't be. Masking off areas with plastic, cardboard, newspaper, or other material will help to prevent overspray. When you move on to painting different parts of the car, remove the materials you used to cover those areas first.

Wrapping with drop cloths

Another way to help prevent overspray is by using a drop cloth. This is a large piece of plastic that you wrap around the car or other objects you are painting. You can purchase drop cloths specifically for painting or use plastic tarps or sheets meant for other purposes that will work just as well.
A dropcloth on the car will help contain the overspray and keep it from getting on other surfaces.

You may need to wrap drop cloths around the tires, wheels, engine, windshield, and other areas you would like to protect from overspray.

Don't want to be painted, keep the room well-ventilated, and use the right paint and nozzle to reduce the amount of overspray on your project.