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Does Pollen Damage Car Paint? (All You Need to Know)

Spring brings a lot of sunlight, new green leaves, thousands of flowers, and obviously dirty cars covered with pollen!

In general, pollen looks pretty harmless (if you don’t have allergies), but what makes your car look rusty after the pollen season? Let’s find out what pollen does to your car paint.

Does pollen damage car paint?

Sadly the pollen can damage car paint. Pollen has millions of microscopic spikes attached to the car paint’s pores. The acidity of car pollen makes the color weaker, and when someone washes the car without proper technique, the car paint gets damaged. A layer of wax can protect the vehicle.

Pollens are powdery substrates produced by seed plants. Pollen is usually yellow and can fertilize the female flowers of the same species. Yes, it is the only job of pollen. But how does pollen harm car paints?

Pollen has acidic characteristics which harm the car paint most. The acid and UV ray from the sun reacts with the paint and eat away the color.

Pollen causes severe damage to car paints, but not many people know about pollen’s damage to their car paints. Most car owners just wash the pollen with water or wipe the tree pollens with clothes. But that does not fix the problem.

Pollens are powder-like tiny objects covered with spikes. Those spikes help the pollens to attach to other flowers and pollinators.

The spikes are helpful for the plants but contrary for your car. Even if you wash the pollen with water or wipe the pollen, the spikes break down and stay in the tiny pores of your car paint.

When the pollen or pollen part comes into contact with water, it becomes acidic. The acid will degrade the color day by day. When the acid weakens the paint, even gentle wipes can cause scratches while washing.

There are easy ways to wash away the pollen and protect your car paints. We will talk about them in the latter part of the article. Now, let’s focus on some of the common trees that cause this problem.

Oak pollen on car paint:

Oak trees are among the common plant species of America. The oak pollen has a long pollination season, from March to May. Like most other plant pollen, oak pollen is harmful to the exterior paints of your car.

Pine pollen on car paint:

Pine pollen harms car paints because of its acidic nature. Pine trees release a massive amount of pollen with the wind at once. When a pine tree removes pollen, it is enough to cover your entire car.

Pine Plants release pollen in late February to early March every year.

Does pollen scratch car paint?

Some pollen does scratch car paint and can decay the paint over time. When pollen comes into contact with due or water, pollen releases acid. Acid damage the exterior color of the car.

The acid reacts with the paint and makes it weak. The paint gets scratched when someone removes the pollen by wiping it. Some pollen spikes are too small to cause scratches to the paint.

Car paint will get considerable visible damage if you do not take any steps to fix that. The paint gets minor damage when exposed to the pollen, and by the end of the season, the color looks rusty and unattractive.

Is it bad to leave pollen on car?

Leaving pollen on the car is the wrong choice. Pollen alone does not harm the car’s paint, but the problem occurs when the pollen comes into contact with water. The acid makes the color vulnerable, and the sunlight makes the reaction faster.

You may think you can leave the pollen on the car, but the morning due is enough to start the damaging reaction. Appling, some sealants on the car paint can protect the color from damage.

What does pollen do to the car paint?

Pollen produces harsh acid, which oxidizes the car paint. Pollens have microscopic spikes that stick with the car paint, making it hard to remove the pollen parts without soap and water.

If you remove the pollen only with water, you can remove the visible pollen, but some parts remain with the paint and get the necessary water to produce acid.

Removing the pollen with water does not cause that much damage, but the damage will be visible in the long run. The most damage occurs when your car is covered with pollen and comes into contact with water, and you leave the car for hours.

Should you wash pollen off your car?

Yes, you should wash pollen off your car, but you should follow the proper way to do that.  Pollen is tiny and can attach to your car paint without appropriate washing.

Remember that when your car is covered with pollen, the paint becomes weak, so it can worsen the color if you use any harsh product to wash your car.

Using a car wash is the best thing to do. If you don’t have a car wash, use shampoo, but keep away from liquid dish wash and soap. Harsh soaps can damage your car paint.

How to remove dried pollen and pollen stains from car paint?

Removing the dried pollen can damage your car paint without proper technique and equipment.

Never try to clean the dried pollen with a dry cloth. The pollen will create microscopic scratches to your car, but doing it over and over will make the damage visible.

Here we are including an easy way to clean the dried pollen from your car and the protection step with it. You will need a water hose, pressure nose, car wash, sponge, and a microfiber towel.


First, attach the pressure nose with the water hose. Set medium water pressure and start cleaning the pollen off the car.

The pollen can connect to the vehicle, so make sure you water every inch of the car. Focus on one part of the car at a time and move to another part when done. Don’t try to wash randomly.

Applying car wash:

After washing the pollens, don’t leave the car for long. Start applying the car wash. A commercial car wash is suitable and does not have any side effects.

However, if you do not have a car wash, use shampoo. As mentioned earlier, do not use harsh soap and dishwasher. Dishwashers are made to remove stubborn oils from dishes, and it is not healthy for car paint.

Use a sponge to apply the car wash; make sure not to miss any part of the car. Do not use force to apply the car wash, do it gently.


Rinse the car nicely with a water hose. After rinsing, use a microfiber towel to dry the car. It is not necessary to dry it perfectly with a towel. Even if the car is still wet, the air will complete the rest in minutes.

You can wash a car covered with dry pollen by following those steps.

Protection step:

If you want to protect your car from pollen damage, applying wax is probably the best you can do.

The wax creates a protective layer against the pollen and acid. Moreover, wax makes the car looks shiny and protects the paint from the sun’s UV rays.

How often should you wash your car during pollen season?

Washing your car once a week should be enough to minimize the pollen damage to your vehicle during the pollen season. If you live in a rural area with lots of trees and pollen, you should wash your car twice a week.

However, washing your car also depends on you. If you use your car less often, you will not have to wash your car frequently. When your loving vehicle is covered with pollen, don’t be lazy if you don’t plan to repaint your car.

How to protect car paint from tree pollen?

Check out the ways to protect car paint from tree pollen.

Wash the car regularly:

The most obvious way to protect your car paint from tree pollen is to wash the car whenever it comes in contact with tree pollen. Use gentle liquid soap, soft sponge, and water force to clean off the pollen.

Cover your car:

Cover your car if you have to keep your car outside for a long time. Try to keep your car in the garage when you are not using it.

Use wax:

You can also apply wax to protect your car’s paint from pollen and other chemical damage.

Final thoughts

Pollen damages cars’ exterior paint, but not many people know the right way to wash off the pollen. Leaving the car covered with pollen is harmful but cleaning it with the wrong steps is worse. Using mild soap and a soft sponge is best to wash a pollen-covered car.