Updated at: 03-07-2022 - By: Lucas

Acetone is used to get rid of different chemicals and other mixed materials. It is also used in a number of cleaning products for the home.

You might be tempted to wash your car with one of these common cleaning products, but the acetone in them needs to be taken into account.

But should you use acetone to clean dirt off your car? Or will it hurt your paint more than it helps?

Acetone can be very bad for your car’s paint if you use it too much, use it too often, or don’t wash it off completely. But if you use it in small amounts and clean it quickly and well, you can use acetone-based products on your car paint without harm.

This article will tell you when to use acetone to clean your car, what its pros and cons are, how to do it right, and a lot of other things.

So, keep reading until the end so you don’t do something wrong and damage your car!

Does Acetone hurt a car’s clear coat?

Will Acetone Damage Car Paint-2

The clear coat is the layer of clear paint or resin on top of the coloured layer of a car. Its only job is to protect the coloured layer underneath.

Since acetone is a very strong degreaser, if you use it on your car and leave it there for a long time, the acetone will eat through the clear coat until it gets to the coloured paint.

If you just had your car waxed, acetone will also cut through the wax layer.

Should you ever use acetone on car paint?

Since acetone is a very strong paint thinner, you should only use it if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you could damage your car’s paint in a lot of ways if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you have to use it, make sure to only put a small amount where it needs to go and wipe it off quickly with water and a clean cloth. The acidity of the acetone will be taken away by the water.

Do not, under any circumstances, let the acetone sit on the paint for even a short time. This can cause that part of the car to get a different colour or cause the waxing to be finished.

What else can hurt a car’s paint?

Car service worker applying nano coating on a car detail

There are other things that are bad for your paint besides acetone. There are a lot of things that can ruin the paint on your car for good, so be careful!

Bird excrement

Be careful when you park your car under a tree, because when you get back, it’s likely that bird droppings will be all over it.

Because bird droppings are acidic, they can damage the paint on your car. The best thing to do is to get rid of them as soon as possible.

You can do this with a cleaning solution, some soap, and a clean rag, or with a mixture of dish soap and laundry detergent.

Scrub the spot gently with the solution, and then wipe it clean.


When you fill up your car, be careful that gas doesn’t get on the frame.

Gas can be dangerous because it leaves behind stains that are hard to get rid of.

You can stop this from happening by wiping off the gas with a mixture of soap or detergent and water.

Soda or other carbonated drinks

The acid in carbonated drinks can damage your car, so don’t spill any if you’re drinking in the car.


Getting a cup of coffee in the morning can also cost you if you spill some on the outside of your car. Coffee is very acidic and can damage the paint on your car.

Tree sap

Even though it doesn’t happen as often, tree sap can also damage the paint on your car.

Tree sap can leave stains on the outside of your car that are hard to get rid of. If you live in a warmer climate, this process will happen faster.

To get rid of tree sap on your car, you can use rubbing alcohol or a homemade cleaner, preferably one that doesn’t contain acetone.

Let the solution sit on the tree sap for about 30 seconds, then use a clean rag to rub and wipe it off. You can do this again and again until the tree sap is gone from your car.

If the tree sap has hardened, try scraping it off gently with a blade or knife before you apply the mixture. Make sure you do this carefully, or you might also scrape off the paint.


Bugs will stick to your windshield and chassis, and if you don’t wipe them off, they can leave a nasty mark on your car. It’s best to clean these off as soon as you can.

You can get rid of bug stains by mixing detergent with water and gently scrubbing the spot with a cloth until the stain is gone.


You might not think it’s a big deal if you don’t clean your car and let dust build up on it, but it is! Make sure you wash your car often so that dust doesn’t leave marks on it.

This is because if you rub something against the car that has dust on it, the dust particles will scratch the paint.

If this goes untreated for a long time, it can cause long-term damage.

Final thoughts

We hope that this article answered your question about acetone and that you will use it in a way that won’t hurt your car in the long run.

Always remember to use very little and to clean it as quickly as possible.

The longer you let acetone stay on the outside of your car, the more damage it could do.

Getting your car waxed is another good way to protect the colour coating.

Aside from acetone, we also talked about a few other things that can damage the outside of a car, so make sure you clean your car often.

It’s best to have your car washed once every two weeks or once a week.