Glass Care

How to Remove Paint From Car Window Without Scratching It

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to remove paint from car window

Getting paint off car windows is a more common problem than one might think. Car dealerships, celebrations, and special events are just some instances wherein one might spray paint the windows and windshield of their vehicle.

Therefore, you must know how to remove paint from car window to avoid costly detailing procedures. The good news is, paint removal can be done safely – and easily – at home.

5 Steps to Remove Paint From Car Window

What to Prepare

  • Sponge
  • Soft clean cloths/rags
  • Microfiber towels
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Liquid detergent
  • Razor blade or plastic putty knife
  • WD-40
  • Acetone

Step 1: Check the Paint Base Formula


The method or product you use for your car window paint removal procedure will be determined by the kind of paint used on your car window.

What works for water-based paint won’t work for oil-based paint removal, and vice-versa. So before you begin the removal process, check the paint formulation.

Step 2: Wash Window with Soapy Solution


Next, wash the windows and/or windshield with a homemade soapy solution. This will help soften the paint and, ideally, minimize scratches and damages that could happen when you try to remove it.

Simply mix water-based liquid detergent in a bucket of warm water and apply it to the areas with paint spots using a sponge or microfiber towel. Do this several times, scrubbing at the paint (with moderate pressure) as you do so.

Step 3: Scrub the paint marks


  • For oil-based paint: Scrape Paint Off Using Knife or Razor

This step can be quite risky, but it will make it easier to remove spray paint from car window later on. You’re going to use either a razor blade or a plastic putty knife to scrape the dried paint off carefully.

If your car windows are tinted, use a razor blade. It’s best to buy one specifically designed for paint removal.

If your car windows are not tinted, scrape the paint off using a plastic putty knife.

Always remember to hold the razor blade or putty knife at an angle and scrape carefully. Lift the blade from car windshield or window after each stroke and only go in one direction.

  • For water-based paint: Scrub the stains off with Liquid Detergent

If the paint is water-based, you should be able to get spray paint off windshield using the same soapy solution you used in Step 2.

After you’ve scraped the paint off the glass, wash the area again with liquid detergent mixed with warm water. Repeat this step as many times as necessary to thoroughly remove the paint marks.

Step 4: Remove Oil-Based Paint with cleaner

  • Use WD-40


If the paint is oil-based, you can remove it from glass windows – or even from car body – using WD-40.

After you’ve scraped the paint off the glass, spray a light coat of WD-40 on a cotton or microfiber towel. Then, scrub it on the dried stain.

You should allow the WD-40 to sit for 10 to 20 minutes–this will give it time to break down the remaining paint.

  • Use Acetone


Acetone is an organic solvent. While typically used as a nail polish remover, it has many other household uses.

Car owners can use it to safely remove paint mist from windows, but just bear in mind that it gives off strong – and potentially harmful – fumes. Only use acetone on windshield if you’re in a well-ventilated area. If you can, wear a face mask and gloves while handling the solution.

Apply acetone to a clean, non-abrasive cloth or rag. The amount would depend on the size of the paint stain, but try to keep it to a minimum. Then, use the rag to scrub the area carefully.

Step 5: Wash Car Window with Liquid Detergent and Warm Water

Once you’re done removing overspray from auto glass, wash the WD-40 or acetone residue from your car with a soapy solution. Use a clean cloth or microfiber towel to apply a mix of liquid detergent and warm water to the area until the glass is completely clean.



What is the easiest way to remove window paint?

The easiest way to remove window paint is with soapy water and some type of solvent. Water-based paint can wash off with enough scrubbing and scraping, but oil-based paints won’t budge unless you use something to break down the formula.

Although some car owners say that white vinegar is an effective windshield stain remover, it isn’t as potent as a solvent – and therefore won’t work as fast – as acetone or WD-40.

Does car window paint wash off?

It depends on the formulation of the paint.

  • Water-based paint can wash off with enough soapy water and scrubbing.
  • Oil-based paint will need specific solvents, like paint thinner, acetone, or WD-40.

Do note that you’d need to scrape the stains with a razor blade before you apply any solution to successfully get paint off car window. It may sound risky, but scraping helps loosen dried paint, making it easier for the products to break down.

So if you want to remove dealership paint – or any paint, for that matter – off your car without a razor, consider substituting for a plastic putty knife or any sort of plastic scraper.

Can WD-40 remove paint from glass?

WD-40 is primarily known as an auto lubricant and degreaser. Still, it can also be used as a car window paint remover. WD actually stands for Water Displacement, meaning it’s formulated with ingredients that can penetrate and disperse the liquid. It’s simultaneously strong but gentle enough to remove paint from windows.


Car owners who know how to remove paint from car window are often surprised by how simple the process is. Indeed, you can get tow paint off car or paint pen marks off a windshield with just a bit of household solvent and some elbow grease.

The trickiest part is, indeed, the scraping (since one slip can lead to scratches). But that gets easier with practice. As long as you’re hyperaware of your pressure and the angle of the blade, you should have no problems.

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Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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