Paint Overspray Removal

One of the wonderful aspects of living in any metropolitan city is the need for paint overspray removal services because of the potential for paint overspray damaging your vehicle. People tend to forget that there is always bridges being painted, large building construction, street and highway painting and many more paint overspray sources.

Polished car wax

Paint Overspray Removal

We have a problem when they paint these structures because on windy days that paint overspray can end up traveling up to a mile or more away from its source. This results in the rough textured surface you get on your vehicle after it has sat nearby a construction site or maintenance project. It’s a never ending process and one of the reasons paint overspray removal services are in such high demand in most cities.

A Wildly Profitable Day

One of my managers called me in a panic late one night because he received an emergency call from a homeowner in a neighborhood where a house was being painted. Then he continued to receive calls and voicemails throughout the night as the rest of the neighbors passed our phone number around. The painter had neglected to account for the wind and painted both the house and 22 vehicles in the neighborhood.

Inflatable Workshop Garages

My crews and I rolled into the neighborhood first thing in the morning, set up two of our inflatable workshop garages and went to work removing thick overspray from all of the neighborhood vehicles. It was a wildly profitable day since nearly all the work involved insurance claims.

Tree Sap

Even people living in rural areas have a problem with tree sap falling on their vehicle and embedding itself in the paint. If neither of these items has happened to you yet, there’s always the every present “acid rain” that corrodes your clear coat resulting in those nice little circles in your paint and the eventual need for paint overspray removal services.

Click Here For More Information on Paint Chip & Scratch Repair.

If you have problems with any of these corrosive paint problems, the only place you can get it taken care of is at your local detail shop or a mobile detailing service. If you want to try and do some paint overspray removal yourself it’s a time consuming and quite labor intensive process. I’ll explain how it’s done and you can decide for yourself whether to outsource the job or not.

Start With a Good Clay Bar

When it comes to paint overspray removal you need to start with a good clay bar. Detailer’s clay, as it’s called, is a special mix of clay that works incredibly well at removing impurities from your paint.

It’s a simple enough system. You take the detailers clay and wet it. You are also going to need some form of lubricant for the car paint surface. This is always a subject of debate whether you need special lubricants or not. From my experience a simple solution of Joy dishwashing detergent works great. Some detailers will tell you that you need to use everything from spray on finish wax to showroom shine products to keep the clay lubricated. All you are going for here is something to keep the surface slippery while you rub the clay across it in a circular pattern.

A One, Two Process

It’s a one, two process. Rub the clay in circles and keep following behind it occasionally with your other hand to feel for the dry bumps that overspray creates. Keep going over it with the clay until it’s gone, lubricating your work area as needed. Also, keep rinsing the areas you have completed, so you don’t let the clay dry as you are moving forward on the vehicle.

Another cool feature of clay is that if you have already waxed the car, the clay bar won’t remove the wax on the painted surface, but it will remove the overspray. I’m sure there’s some science involved, but after years of detailing and several thousand cars, I’m not going to argue with this fact.

Always Have a Clean Surface

Something else to keep in mind while you are using the clay is that you need to keep folding it back into itself while you are rubbing it. The clay will start getting dirty as it’s pulling everything off the painted surface of the car. So keep folding it over on itself, and you will always have a clean surface. Eventually, the clay will need to be replaced, but one bar will do many, many cars. If you are doing this at your home, that one container of clay will last you a long time. Another thing to keep in mind. Always keep the clay wet. It should come in a bottle with a replaceable cap. Fill the jar or container with your water and Joy detergent solution and put the cap on tight before you put it away after using it. This will keep it ready for the next time you need it.

After you have completed the entire car, you’ll want to wash the vehicle using your standard car wash soap mix with a soft wool wash mit. Once it is dry, you will be able to feel for any areas that you missed.

Should You Just High-Speed Buff the Entire Vehicle?

Here’s another issue that some people mention when it comes to paint overspray removal.  Should you just high-speed buff the entire vehicle?  I tend to say yes, but only after you have completed the clay bar process.  If you don’t, you will be working forever buffing to get the paint overspray off a car.

Anybody who know’s anything about high-speed buffing will tell you that it’s best to limit the time that the buffer gets to spend with the paint on your car.  Otherwise, you are just asking for burnt paint, ripped molding or other possible damage.  It’s not usual, but it does happen occasionally.

It Looks Great Once It’s Done

A car that has been through the clay bar cleaning followed by high-speed buffing and then orbital buffed to remove any swirls looks incredible.  Apply a nice coat of Polymer Sealant to the paint after you are done, and your car will be ready for six months until you need to reapply.  The paint overspray removal process is not an easy one, but it looks great once it’s done.

When it comes to my preferences for detailers clay, I tend to stick with Meguiar’s brand detail products. They have a Meguiar’s C-2000 Professional Detailing Clay which is a great product.  These clay bars do a fantastic job for paint overspray removal. Highway paint, tree sap removal and more.


I usually discuss pricing at this point, and this again is one of those areas that depends on how the detailer does his job and prices his hourly rate. Generally speaking for the paint overspray removal, you are going to pay anywhere from $175 to $300 or possibly more depending on your market.  Some car detailers will add another $100 or more for the high-speed buffing and wax afterward if you request it.

Other detailers will lump everything into an ultimate type detail package that includes everything for several hundred dollars. It depends on your market, but I would call around and explain that you are looking for paint overspray removal services then ask what their process is so you and your car detailer are on the same page.

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Suggested Pages to Check Out

Detail Shop Liability Insurance Page with Info on Garage Keepers Liability Coverage

1099 Contractors and Other Detail Shop Tax Issues

Go Back To Home Auto Detailing Step-by-Step Page