How to Remove Car Window Paint

How to Remove Car Window Paint

Car window paint is used to write on or otherwise decorate car windows. People often use it to write “Just Married” on the back window of a couple’s vehicle. Sometimes people use it to decorate their own car windows with their school colors or their children’s school colors. Very often parents will write the names of their children on the windows of their own vehicles to celebrate a happy occasion such as a graduation.

The process of car window paint removal can sometimes be a difficult one. There are two different types of car window paint, water based and oil based. The steps listed below can be used as a guide when attempting to remove both types.

Tools Required:

  • Paint dispenser
  • Paint removing razor
  • Hand broom
  • Dust pan
  • Water based liquid detergent
  • Clean towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray can of WD40
  • Container of acetone
  • Water based liquid detergent
  • Clean, dry towels

Step 1: Type of Car Window Paint

Determine what type of car window paint you are dealing with. Check whether the paint is water based or oil based.

Step 2: Remove Debris

Use a razor designed to remove paint to scrape off as much of the paint as you can, removing the debris as you go. The razor will not totally remove the paint, but will simply make the next two steps more effective.

Step 3: Clean Car Window Paint

Thoroughly clean the painted area using a solution of warm water and a water-based liquid detergent. This alone will remove any water-based car window paint.

In the case of oil-based car window paint, you can either go for the WD40 method or the acetone method.

WD40 Method: Thoroughly wash the painted area with a solution of warm water and water-based liquid detergent. The goal here is to remove any surface dirt and grime. Use a clean cotton towel to apply a light coat of WD40 to the car window paint. Allow 10 to 20 minutes for the WD40 to deactivate the paint. This may take more than one application. Clean the painted area once again with the warm water and a water-based detergent solution. Repeat if necessary.

Acetone Method: To use this method you will need a well ventilated area, preferably outside. Thoroughly clean the painted area with a solution of warm water and a water-based liquid detergent. Take the rags and the acetone outside to the vehicle. Put on the rubber gloves. Use a clean and dry rag to apply the acetone to the window. Be careful not to inhale the vapors put out by the acetone. The paint should begin to come off immediately.

Step 4: Wash the Window

Both types of car window paint can leave a nasty residue that, if not cleaned properly, will tend to linger for a long time. In order to get the windows absolutely clean you must complete this last step. Thoroughly wash the area of the window that has been painted with water-based liquid detergent.

Car window paint is definitely fun to use when celebrating a special occasion, and removing it once the celebration is over does not have to be difficult.

To Remove Thick Paint Coverage

If you’re dealing with a rather large glob or an area of the window that’s covered in a denser paint layer, you’ll need to bring in some reinforcements.

What you’ll need:

  • Paint scraper
  • Vacuum (can substitute with rag)
  • Acetone
  • Gas mask


  1. A paint scraper is a specialty razor made specifically for paint removal. You’re going to use the scraper to carefully shave off excess paint while being mindful to make sure that shavings don’t drop down into the car vents.
  2. Position the vacuum’s hose or a rag under the area to catch scrapings as they come off.
  3. When you’ve gotten down to the window’s primary surface level and removed all of the shavings, use an acetone-dipped rag to get up any remaining paint.
  4. Wash the car and dry the window as you would normally.

Want More Pro Painting Tips?

Whether you’re dealing with a tiny dribble or a thick paint faux pas, carefully following the steps above will have your vehicle’s windows paint-free in no time.

If you found this article helpful, you may be interested in downloading ATC’s DIY car painting checklist that’s chock-full of handy tips and techniques to ensure a precision paint job every time.

You’ll learn how to mix, blend, and apply paint like a professional with the inside scoop from our collision repair technology program instructors. Get your copy today!
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Step 4 – Remove the Paint Residue

In the removal process described above, you will have paint residue on your window glass. This may include tiny paint chips you missed during the removal process. As you wipe away the paint debris with a scrubbing pad you’ll find some of these chips still sticking to the glass. If scrubbing them away with the scrubber doesn’t work, try the razor blade again. You may have to repeat this process a few times to remove all the paint residue and chips. When you are finished removing the paint debris, rinse off the glass with fresh water.

Step 5 – Clean the Glass

When you’ve removed all paint debris from the window, dry the glass, using a soft, dry cloth, chamois, or paper towel. Finally, use a good window cleaner and clean the glass with a second soft, dry cloth. For an even better spot remover when cleaning the glass, try using a wadded up newspaper after applying the window cleaner.

With your window now cleaned of paint, check other windows where paint might be stuck on the glass. Use the process as described above to remove this additional paint from your car’s window glass.

Using a Razor to Remove Paint From Windows

Warning! Using razors can be dangerous. Do not use a razor without reading the instructions and receiving proper training.

As with any project, it’s important to always start with the right equipment.

Triumph 6in Angled Scraper

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bucket of Soapy Water – Dish washing soap works great. Use about as much soap as you would use when doing the dishes in a sink.
  • Professional Grade Window Scraper – Your local hardware store carries many brands, we like the 6-inch Triumph Angled Scraper.
  • Painters Tarp & A Broom – This tarp catches the paint “sheets” and shavings. The broom, well it’s a broom. What do you think it’s for?
  • Window Cleaning Equipment – We recommend using a squeegee, mop and some clean dry towels. Have some #0000 fine steel wool handy too.

Got everything? Ok, let’s get started.

Step #1: Spread the Tarp & Apply Lot’s of Soapy Water

Lot’s of Paint to Remove

Start by laying down the tarp along the glass. Next, drench the paint and glass with soapy water. Wait about 2-4 minutes and then re-apply more soapy water before proceeding.

Always make sure the window’s surface is slippery or you can scratch the glass. Using lots of soapy water causes the paint to stick together as you scrape instead of flaking off in small pieces.

Step #2: Scrape in a Small, Inconspicuous Area First

Remove a little paint with your scraper to make sure the glass isn’t scratching. If you hear a coarse, gritty sound stop immediately and check your blade – it may be dull or broken. If so, replace it with a new one.

Also, if you see scratches, there may be imperfections in the glass and you should either stop the job or apply even more soapy water and proceed with extreme caution.

Important Note: As you stroke, always push your blade forward and lift it from the glass as you finish and reload for the next one. Scratching may occur if you drag the blade across glass during an unnecessary back stroke.

Step #3: Scrape Around the Window’s Perimeter

Halfway There – 2.5 Hours

Angle your razor 30° – 45° away from window’s frame and remove the paint along the frames. The angle prevents the blade from catching and scratching the frame and caulking.

If the window has been drenched, you’ll notice the paint comes off in big pieces, or “sheets”, as you move across the glass.

Try to keep the “sheet” intact as you finish your stroke and gently put it on the tarp. It’s efficient and much cleaner.

Step #4: Scrape the Rest of the Window

Once the frames are clear, keep your razor’s 30° – 45° angle and use overlapping horizontal or vertical strokes to remove the remaining paint. If the glass/paint is getting dry, use more soapy water – you want big sections of paint to come off as described above.

Some newbies use their blade at a 90° or “right” angle to the paint as they try to “chip” the paint off. Do this and you’ll create flakes and probably break your blades frequently. Using a 30° – 45° angle efficiently “slices” the paint off the glass and reduces flaking.

Tip: If the paint is flaking, apply more soapy water and make sure you are keep the razor’s proper angle as you stroke.

Step #5: Clean the Glass and Clean Your Work Area

Looking Good Sonya! Total Job: 4.5 hours

You’ve removed most of the paint off but small pieces remain. Re-apply soapy water and use a combination of the Razor and the #0000 fine steel wool to remove what’s left.

Once complete, remove & fold your tarp with the paint “sheets” and flakes, you should have caught about 80% – 90%. Discard the paint appropriately.

Use your mop and squeegee to clean the windows and remove any remaining flakes from the glass.

The remaining 10% – 20% of the paint flakes need to dry on the ground. Attempting to sweep them while wet only rubs them into the ground. It should dry in about 30 minutes.

Do you remember the broom? Good, let’s use it!

Follow these 5 efficient steps and you’ll have paint-free windows with less hassles!

Now Let’s Get Ready for the Memorial Day Sales!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Removes Glass Paint?

There are many options available to remove glass paint. The most common option is to use a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, followed by applying the solution to the affected area. Another option is to pour boiling water onto the paint and then scrub it with a soft cloth or paper towel until the paint is removed.

Do Window Markers Ruin Car Paint?

No, window markers do not ruin car paint. Window markers are used to provide information about a vehicle’s speed limit and the presence of traffic enforcement cameras.

They are made from a reflective material that is highly visible in daylight conditions and will only interfere with the clear visibility of your vehicle if they become too close to your windshield.

Is Window Paint-safe on Car Paint?

No, window paint is not safe on car paint. The chemicals in the paint can cause damage to the clear coat of your car and leave unsightly marks on the paint. To avoid this, use a different type of product, such as an aerosol wax cleaner that has been designed for cars.

Does Vinegar Remove Paint?

It is very difficult to remove paint from a surface using vinegar. Vinegar will not remove the paint; instead, it will cause the paint to peel off the surface you are trying to clean.

Can You Use Dry Erase Markers on Car Windows?

In general, the answer is no. However, if you are a professional window cleaner or have some other reason to use dry erase markers on car windows, then yes.

To be safe, it is best to avoid using markers on your car’s windows because they can damage them over time and make it difficult for your windshield wipers to work correctly.

Chewing gum can be difficult to remove from any surface. A quick trick for getting it off a windshield is to use ice to harden the gum. Once you have pulled off as much as possible, put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and place it on the remaining gum. Hold it there for a few minutes. Then, peel the remaining gum off the glass. If the area is still sticky, spray it with a bug remover product and rub it in with a clean rag. To clean up, use soapy water and a sponge.

The one downside of the summer is bug splatter on the windshield. Specific bug removal sprays, such as Turtle Wax or BEST Bug-Off, are available and usually do the trick. However, a great DIY alternative is using WD-40.

Soak the dirty spot with the oil and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, scrub the glass with the scratchy side of a regular kitchen sponge. Finally, wipe that area of the windshield clean with a microfiber cloth.

How to Remove Paint from Car Windows

You may have used paint to make special announcements on your car, or it may simply be an act of vandals in your area. In this article you can find out how to remove paint from car windows with a few easy steps.

You may have used paint to make special announcements on your car, or it may simply be an act of vandals in your area. In this article you can find out how to remove paint from car windows with a few easy steps.

Scenario 1: You probably are one of those people who likes everyone to know when it’s time for celebration. Whether it is your marriage, the birth of your child, the graduation of your little one, or any other announcement, your way of doing it is by painting your car windows. However, when the news becomes stale, you simply must get rid of the paint.

Scenario 2: You wake up one morning to find your car windows colored in some random ‘modern’ design. Obviously, it is the work of some vandals who derive great pleasure in ‘expressing’ themselves by means of their art on automobiles. You simply cannot take your vehicle out with it looking like this, and you must get rid of the hideous graffiti.

If you have ever faced any of the above scenarios, you are probably aware of the dilemma of dealing with them. However, you must also know that getting the paint off is actually easy. So whether it is your own piece of art, or a creation by vandals in your locality, follow these tips, and get rid of the paint without damaging your vehicle.


Materials Required

  • Rubber gloves
  • WD40 spray, 1 can
  • Razor
  • Paint dispenser
  • Acetone, 1 container
  • Liquid detergent, water based
  • Clean towels
  • Hand broom
  • Dustpan


  • Begin the removal procedure by first checking the kind of paint that has been used to decorate the automobile. The method of removal of water based paint is different from that of the oil based variety.
  • Take the razor, and try to carefully scrape away the paint. Use it till you can remove as much as possible. This step will ease the process of removal.
  • If the colors are water based, then use the water based liquid detergent (you may also prepare a homemade cleaner) for the removal. Do this by means of a sponge. Use a towel to clean the window dry.
  • If the color is oil based, then you can resort to the use of either acetone, or WD40 to remove it. Before using either, follow step three. If you wish to use WD40, spray some on to a towel, and rub the colored surface with it. Let it remain for about 20 minutes, and then proceed to wipe it clean. If there are still any remnants, repeat the entire process of first washing with the liquid detergent and then spraying and cleaning the WD40.
  • If you prefer the acetone method, ensure you perform this step outdoors. After washing the window with the detergent, wear the gloves, and dip old rags into the acetone. Then rub it on the surface. Keep your nose covered during this whole process to prevent yourself from inhaling the acetone. Be careful not to destroy your car’s paint during this process.
  • Finish off by washing the windows and removing any debris with the liquid detergent. Once completed, clear up the area by means of the hand gloves and dust pan.

As you go for a complete car wash, you will find your automobile as good as new. Hopefully these tips have helped.

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How to scrape off paint

WikiHow also came up with a tutorial on how to remove paint from the windshield and vehicle windows.

The step-by-step instructions, which came with pictures also come up with a tutorial on how to carefully scrape off the paint stain without damaging the glass.

“Always scrape in one direction only, lifting the blade from the glass at the end of the stroke. Scraping the blade backwards and forwards across the glass is more likely to cause scratching. Pay attention to the sound the blade makes as it moves across the glass. If it makes a coarse or gritty sound, the blade may be dull or broken. Switch to using a newer, sharper razor blade instead.”

Check out the continuation here.

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Behind the Detail also came up with advice on removing paint and overspray on a car windshield. It also assured vehicle owners that etches and scratches, when minor can be removed too.

“IF YOU ETCH THE GLASS WHILE REMOVING OVERSPRAY, FEAR NOT. You can easily make the surface clear again. As I mentioned a few sections above, you can use fine or superfine grade steel wool on glass to remove things like paint, but you can also use it to smooth out any etching. You’ll want to again utilize your lubricating clay spray and gently buff the surface with the steel wool pad. The end result will be fantastically clear glass with no marring.”

Take a look at the whole article here.

But when the paint seems stubborn, it may be best to consult with a windshield repair specialist.

Final Thoughts

The process of removing paint from car windows can be a stressful task that requires a whole lot of time. The question, How to get paint off of a car window? should be among the top priorities of any car owner. A spotless car windshield always makes the vehicle look unique and sleek. Therefore, you must observe all the necessary steps and guidelines to ensure effective paint removal and a smooth finish to the window surface.

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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