D.I.Y. Car Paint Spillage Clean-up

D.I.Y. Car Paint Spillage Clean-up

Some tips on what to do should you spill paint in your car.

You've got spilt paint in your car, the tins gone over and paint has gone all around on the seats, and down in the foot well, or possibly all over the boot.

New Article: Help! I've Spilt Paint in my Car!

So what do you do? There are several choices, you can call your insurance company and make a claim under insurance, you could let it dry and deal with it later, that would mean replacing parts normally but some things can be saved. Or you can attempt to clean it out yourself.

For cleaning up yourself you will need an extraction machine of some kind, either one of those carpet shampoo machines, that has the handheld part, or even a good quality wet-vac.

Spilled paint on car carpets
Paint spilled on the carpet of a car. Somebody has tried to clean this up, thankfully they got it to us while the paint was still wet, so we can shampoo it out.

You'll need a pump up sprayer. A garden sprayer that you can put soapy water in is ideal. The bigger, the better, you are going to use a lot of water.  You want to draw out the bulk of the spill as quickly as you can, as you are spraying on lots of water you are diluting the paint. It is a bit messy, and you have to make sure that you don't stop. You can't just leave it and come back in a couple of hours because it will dry. It does actually get worse before it gets better, you'll get the paint on things, but it will still be wet, so you can clean it off. A bucket of water and a microfibre cloth is also good because the microfibre tends to pull the paint out of things, and if you are rubbing it on leather or fabric it draws it into the microfibre, and you can rinse in a bucket and wring it out. You need to be near a water supply, I would recommend because you can keep changing the water and keep changing the water.

I would recommend that if it is only something like a litre of paint, then you could potentially do it, especially if some of it has landed on a mat, and you can scoop it out. Ideally a garden hose or a pressure washer is quite good, you can lay it down and pressure wash it. You just zig-zag-zig-zag over it, lots and lots of times, it will eventually rinse through clean.

It's going to take much longer than you think, the way we explain it is the 80/20 rule, which means that you get 80% of the paint out in 20% of the time. To put that another way, if you started the job, the bulk of the paint would come out pretty quickly, but it's the remaining bits that will take a long time normally.

The other alternative is if you have a cheaper car and older one, a run-around or something -- you could just choose to let it dry. That's another way of dealing with it, you can let it completely dry, You can then go on the internet and see if you can find some bits of carpet, replacement seats and things that you can buy from breakers yards and then clip them back in. If you are going to do that, before you let it dry, you establish that you can actually buy the parts. So you may want to soak it, put some wet towels over it and then get on the phone and find some replacement parts, then make the decision, if you are going to clean it up or whatever way you are going to do it. But remember with the parts, if it's a carpet or something it's going to take quite a few hours to replace a carpet. Sometimes you will have to take the seats out, sometimes you will have to have the centre consul out, and the side strips, and the seatbelts sometimes need removing. Allow the time for this, don't think you are going to get a new carpet, and it's twenty pounds from the breakers, it's not the end of it, you then have to start removing it all, and it can work out to be quite time-consuming.

Danny Argent

technical writer and customer education.

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