Skip to Content

Can You Use Degreaser on Car Paint? (Answered)

Using a degreaser can be a great way to get rid of hard-to-clean grease, oil stains, and contaminants. It is a cleaning agent widely used for metal as it can help remove corrosion inhibitors. But if you use a degreaser on the wrong surface, it can do you more harm than good.

It can create a mess that will be hard to clean up. Degreasers can be a bit aggressive since they are planned to deal with stubborn spots. You might wonder if it’s safe to use a degreaser on your car paint.

Can you use degreaser on car paint?

You can use a degreaser on car paint. Degreasers are not unsafe for car paint but they do strip the wax off. The clear coat that protects the car paint from environmental elements can fade upon using a degreaser. You will have to reapply the wax layer to secure the paint right after using it.

The degreaser is alkaline, hence it can discolor your car paint. The sodium carbonate component of the degreaser can scratch a delicate surface like your car’s exterior. Degreasers work best for water-insoluble stuff like oil stains and grease. 

They are designed to clean hard surfaces.

Some degreasers can leave residue behind that is very unwanted. Many leave a whitish essence on semi-porous surfaces that look ugly. They can slightly damage the paint, change the tone, and in some cases, remove the paint completely if the composition is too strong.

Some liquid dish soap and a microfiber towel are enough to take the grease stains off your car’s paint. You don’t necessarily need to use something as strong as a degreaser for the job. 

But if you must, make sure to reapply the wax to protect the paint else the paint will start to fade or develop permanent stains.

Is it safe to use degreaser on car paint?

While degreasers are not unsafe for car paint, it is still not the best option for the job. A degreaser can do wonders for cleaning some areas of your car to get rid of grease, dirt, and tough stains.

But since it is quite potent, the composition can alter the tone of your car paint as it strips the wax off. The wax is a clear coating to protect the paint from harmful elements of the environment.

Engine degreasers are usually very concentrated as they are designed to deal with tough grease. They are not suitable for car paint undiluted. And even if you dilute it before using it, you still have to reapply the wax coat afterward.

What does degreaser do to car paint?

Degreasers mostly hamper the outer layer of the car paint. Most of the time, they do not disturb the paint directly, but damage and strip the wax off the paint. 

But in some cases and for stronger compositions, they can damage the paint underneath and cause fading or peeling. Some degreasers leave a residue behind that can form marks on the paint.

What if you accidentally pour engine degreaser on car paint?

Engine degreasers are widely used for getting rid of stubborn grease and stains. When you’re working with an engine degreaser, if you accidentally pour it on the car paint, don’t panic as there are ways to solve this if you take immediate actions.

Wash the degreaser off with water:

When you accidentally get some degreaser on your car paint, the first thing you should do is to wash it immediately with plain water. This will help to dilute the degreaser and make it lose its potency. Thus you can minimize the harm done to your car’s exterior.

Wipe your car dry and inspect for scratches/stains:

As you are done cleaning with water, wipe the surface and wait for it to dry completely. As it dries, any damage done to the paint will become visible. Inspect the surface and check for scratches or stains caused by the degreaser. 

If you don’t find any, you can just jump on to the last step. However, you will need the following step if you find any scratches or stains.

Apply a scratch/stain remover:

In this step, use a mild scratch/stain remover to help cure the surface. Make sure to use a mild one and that you apply it as per the directions given by the manufacturer. You can use a microfiber towel to do the job smoothly.

Apply wax and polish the surface:

Now it’s time to apply wax over the area. This step is essential as degreasers can strip off wax while dissolving the grime and grease. By reapplying the wax layer, you are protecting the car paint from harmful elements. 

Now you can polish the surface for a smooth and flawless finish.

Does grease damage car paint?

If your car’s exterior gets dirty and greasy, there’s nothing to worry about. You can easily clean them with a suitable cleanser or liquid dish soap. But if there’s grease when you are conducting a car paint job, solving it immediately becomes compulsory. 

Grease stains can damage the car paint and ruin the outlook of the car’s exterior.

How to remove grease from car paint?

Walkthrough this section thoroughly, which might help you to remove grease from your car paint –

Water and dish soap:

A great way of getting rid of grease from car paint is with the help of liquid dish soap and water. Dishwashing liquids are great for breaking up greasy stains. Also, they are less abrasive hence don’t cause any harm to your car’s exterior. 

Just make sure to apply the liquid with an ample amount of water. This way, you will be able to get rid of the grease without damaging the wax or paint underneath.

WD-40 followed by water:

You can also use WD-40 to free your car paint from grease stains. For this, you need to apply the WD-40 over the affected areas. Then you can rinse it off with water and then wipe the area dry. This will cut through the grease easily. 

But you can’t leave it for too long or it can cause damage to the paint instead. You may have to reapply the wax after using this.

Residue-free washing liquid:

You can opt for residue-free washing liquid if none of the above come to your aid. The liquid has to be residue-free so that when you clean and dry the surface, no residues are left behind. 

Check the components carefully before applying anything to your car’s exterior. Just like degreasers, most of these cleansers can damage the wax finish and you may have to reapply the wax to protect the paint.

All-purpose cleaner:

All-purpose cleaners are easily available and they can help you get rid of any grease stains. But much like degreasers, you will have to reapply wax after cleaning the car paint with an APC.

Can you use degreaser on car windows?

You can use a degreaser on car windows. It is said that you can use a mild degreaser on any part of your car to get rid of grimes and grease stains. It is wise to work fast when you use degreasers to clean any inside part of your car.

You should mix some degreaser with water to dilute it and then apply thoroughly over the place of stains. Use a soft brush to make it lather and clean off any dirt or debris. Finally, rinse well with plain water.

Can you use degreaser on car interior?

You can use a degreaser on the car interior. In fact, it can prove to be a great solvent to help you get rid of the stubborn stains, grease, and dirt contaminating the insides of your car. However, you must follow some simple rules to avoid damaging any parts of the car.

You should not apply degreaser on things with labels or writings on them as it can strip them off. Also, don’t apply a degreaser on a mirror as it can leave black spots.

Final thoughts

Degreasers do a wonderful job to clear off stubborn grease and oily stains. They are not unsafe for car paint but degreasers can strip wax off leaving the paint exposed to harsh elements of nature. If you apply a degreaser on your car paint, you must follow up with a wax coat to protect the paint.