Will Rubbing Alcohol Damage Car Paint?

If you’re curious if rubbing alcohol can damage car paint, you’re not alone. Many people are unsure of how to best care for their car’s exterior and whether rubbing alcohol is a good or bad idea.

In this post, I’ll explore the effects of rubbing alcohol on car paint and how to use it!

Will Rubbing Alcohol Damage Car Paint?

No, rubbing alcohol will not damage your car paint as long as you dilute it properly. It evaporates faster and won’t damage your car paint. 

And we are not just spouting theory here. You can have our word for it.

However, it would help if you kept in mind several safety procedures and precautions before spraying down your car. The last thing you want is to use the rubbing alcohol at full strength or improperly. This could have adverse effects on your car paint, including permanent damage. Here’s why.

You know that alcohol has high concentrations of ethyl, and that’s why you need to take caution when using it. Ethyl can eat through paint severely. Worse enough, it can cause damage that is more likely to appear in the form of fading of the affected part. 

Therefore, you should dilute isopropyl rubbing alcohol at all times before you apply it on your car surfaces. What’s more, you need to know that you should not use rubbing alcohol on freshly painted cars. 

How to Use Rubbing Alcohol Properly?

rubbing alcohol on car paint

Now you know why you need to take precautions while using rubbing alcohol on car paint. Remember, don’t use pure rubbing alcohol on your car. There are no two ways about it here. You’d instead use other solvents or cleaners to avoid causing severe damage to car paint. 

Let’s have a quick look at how you can use rubbing alcohol properly on your car.

First up, we highly recommend diluting rubbing alcohol in water. This should be preferably between 10% and 15%. You can, however, stick with 10% unless you are handling thick wax or even stubborn grease — these don’t come off quickly. 

The most exciting part is that you have to dilute rubbing alcohol yourself. Of course, it is unlikely that you’ll find diluted rubbing alcohol on any store shelves. So, you have to take a leap of faith and do it. It should be pretty straightforward, though.

For example, here’s how you can create an easy mixture to achieve a moderate 12.5% concentration of alcohol in a bottle:

● Ensure you have a quart-sized container, preferably 32 ounces.

● Next, fill it quarter way with 50% strength rubbing alcohol

● Then, fill the whole container with water. 

The mixture should be fine and safe for use on your car paint. This is because it is a lower-concentrated mixture. 

Besides, we have mentioned earlier that you should not use full-strength isopropyl on your vehicle’s paint. This can end up causing severe damage to your car paint permanently unless you want to incur additional costs in cosmetic repairs.

What is Rubbing Alcohol Used for?

Rubbing oil has a wide range of applications both at home and in car detailing. At home, for instance, rubbing alcohol is commonly used as a disinfectant and cleaning agent. You know you can use it here in higher concentrations to kill bacteria.

On the other hand, when cleaning your car or detailing, ensure you are only using adequately diluted rubbing alcohol. 

Here are a few uses of rubbing alcohol on car paint:

1. Removing Sticker Residue

Not everyone enjoys applying stickers on their cars. For some, the rigorous process involved in removing the stickers is pretty hectic. But, with rubbing alcohol at your disposal, you have to least worry about this. Rubbing alcohol has the strength to penetrate through the pores in glue and paper.

2. Removing Wax or Sealant

We all know how car sealants and wax can give your car paint a mirror-like finish. Moreover, they can help to prevent paint from discoloring due to UV rays. But, what if you want to correct your car paint? 

That’s where rubbing alcohol comes in very handy. It will help you remove sealant or wax thoroughly. 

3. Clearing Haze from Windows/Windshields

Car windows can get hazy, just like the headlights. While you can use rubbing alcohol to remove haze streaks from windows, you have to keep one thing in mind – rubbing alcohol can drip onto the paint. So, remember to dilute rubbing alcohol to avoid any chances of damaging your car paint. 

4. Restoring Headlights

Did you know that you can also use rubbing alcohol on your hazy headlights? It can help a great deal in removing any polish or dust on the lens. Just take the precautions we have highlighted above. 

Buy your rubbing alcohol below:

Swan 70% Rubbing Alcohol

Swan 70% Rubbing Alcohol

Is isopropyl alcohol the same as rubbing alcohol?

Yes, isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol are the same. They are both types of alcohol that can be used as cleaning agents or solvents.

Does 70 isopropyl alcohol damage car paint?

No, 70 isopropyl alcohol will not damage car paint. In fact, it can be used to clean car paint and remove stains or streaks. However, it is important to dilute the alcohol with water before using it on paint, as undiluted alcohol can damage the finish.

Sum Up

We have had a look at the various uses of rubbing alcohol on car paint and how you can use it properly. To ensure you are staying on the right lane, here are some of the key takeaways we thought might be helpful from now on:

● Don’t exceed 25% when using rubbing alcohol. We recommend a starting point of between 10-15% IPA to water when using rubbing alcohol.

● Avoid using pure rubbing alcohol on your car paint. It should never be in contact with your car paint.

● Rubbing alcohol is an excellent cleaning agent. But, avoid using it regularly on your vehicle. It is even safer to use it on particular sections and not the entire vehicle. 

● Don’t apply pressure, or worse enough, be vigorous when you are using rubbing alcohol. Take it easy; the ingredient can accomplish the task from the surface. 

Lastly, full-strength isopropyl alcohol can have severe effects on your car paint. Don’t use it undiluted.

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