What Eats Car Paint the Fastest? 26 Jaw-dropping Substances – Flawless Car Guide

what eats car paint the fastest

Car paint is an important part of your car’s exterior, and without it, your car will look like a neglected mess. Though it may seem like a good idea to try to save money on cheaper products, it can actually end up costing more in the future when you have to re-paint your car every few years.

People often ask about what eats car paint the fastest? To be very clear, there isn’t one thing that I would say is what will ruin car paint overnight. There are 26 substances that enjoy car paint as a meal. 

The harmful UV rays of the sun damage the car paint badly. However, we already have written 17 ways you can use to protect your car. 

Other than the sun’s UV rays, the following are the 26 substances each of them is what eats car paint the fastest.

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what eats car paint the fastest

What eats car paint the fastest:

  1. Acid rain
  2. Battery acid
  3. Gasoline
  4. Tar on roads and driveways
  5. Hydraulic fluids (Brake fluid)
  6. Road salt
  7. Bugs
  8. Bird droppings
  9. Insecticides
  10. Rust
  11. Soda
  12. Vandalism
  13. Chemicals
  14. Coffee
  15. Snow
  16. Sand
  17. Shaving cream
  18. Sharp Objects
  19. Bleach
  20. Tree sap
  21. Salt
  22. Silly string
  23. Shoe polish
  24. Dirty towels
  25. Dust
  26. Ashes

Let’s get a detailed perspective:

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what eats car paint the fastest

Acid rain:

Acid rain on car paint is the worst that can happen to your car. Acid rain often starts as sulfur dioxide gas released into the air from car and factory emissions and other types of the burning of fossil fuels. This gas turns into sulfuric acid in the air and falls to earth as acid rain – causing damage and rusting metal. And this is just the beginning of the havoc that these moist droplets can wreak on our cars.

The worst thing about acid rain on your car paint may not be the damage to the paint itself, but rather the rusting of metal parts underneath the layer of paint. It will seep through the paint, rusting metal. It leads to corrosion, which will cost you a fortune to fix at a body shop.

How to Protect Cars From Acid Rain?

Acid rain is harmful to cars, and anyone who owns a car should know how to protect it from this. There are some precautions that people can take to protect their cars from acid rain. 

Cars should be washed and dried off after every time they go out in the rain. You can use a dual-action polisher and a watermark remover to remove acid rain. If you are unable to do it yourself, seek help from a professional.

Likewise, parking the car inside the garage or under a shade (canopy) will prevent acid rain on car paint. Not only acid rain, but It will also protect the car from the sun’s UV rays, and other harmful substances. 

Battery Acid:

Every car owner is well aware of the damage that can be done to a car by driving through a puddle or spilling food and drinks on the seats. But, what happens when you accidentally pour battery acid on your car? 

There are two problems with this: first, the acid will cause permanent paint damage, and second, the acid can eat through metal and corrode electrical wiring. One of the most difficult problems you may find yourself in is having your car paint damaged by battery acid. 

The best way to keep this from happening is to wash off any trace of the acid before it has time to dry and do damage. Once you have washed away any visible traces, be sure that you clean the area with soap and water.

what eats car paint the fastest


Gasoline is the most commonly used fuel in automobiles, but it can be surprisingly damaging to car paint. Although it evaporates, if left untreated for a long time, gas on car paint can lead to severe paint damage. The more you let it sit, the worst it will get.

Gasoline can eat away at the protective coating on your car’s paint, leaving the surface potentially susceptible to scratches and other damage that can cause corrosion and rust down the road. A few simple steps can protect your car’s paint by making sure that there’s no gasoline on car paint. 

If a few drops fell onto the paint, just take your car to a car wash or wash the car at your home. Be sure to wax the car after you are done. This will create an extra protective layer to prevent other harmful substances as well. 

Next time you fill the gas tank, be sure there is no gasoline on car paint. Even tiny drops of gas on car paint can lead to paint damage.


Tar is a thick black substance that is used during road construction. During hot summer days, you may notice tar getting melted. Driving the car on such a road or a freshly built road can cause tar to be attached to the paint. Likewise, tar on car paint can form when the vehicle hits a puddle, construction zone, or even drive over spilled gravel.

It is not easy to remove this material, but some techniques can help. One way to get rid of tar is to clean the area with soap and water, scrub with a brush, and rinse off the tar with water. This process may take some time but it will leave your paint looking like new.

what eats car paint the fastest

Hydraulic fluids (Brake Fluid):

Hydraulic fluid, also known as brake fluid, is a thick, oily liquid that is used for the proper functioning of the brakes. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, then you should be aware of what liquids damage car paint. Other than acid rain, battery acid, and gasoline, hydraulic fluid can ruin the car paint as well. 

Brake fluid on car paint can lead to severe damage, however, the damage varies from fluid to fluid. Silicon-based brake fluid on car paint will act as a thinner eating away the paint coating. Likewise, some fluids can create a corrosive environment leading to cracks in the car paint. 

In contrast, few fluids are gentle on car paint. To be on the safe side, take caution every time you use brake fluid near the car. If you get brake fluid on car paint, clean it as soon as possible.

Take a microfiber cloth and let the fluid get absorbed. Create a soap solution and start cleaning the affected area. Don’t use the same cloth as it will spread the brake fluid on car paint. Once you are done cleaning, rinse the affected areas thoroughly. 

Road salt:

Road salt on car paint is a common winter nuisance. Road salt is well-known for being a deterrent against ice and snow. It’s not always the most desirable substance to get on your car’s paint, though, as it can cause significant damage if left on the surface for an extended period. 

Cars typically have a clear coat, which is baked onto the paint to protect them from ultraviolet rays and other environmental exposure. 

The salt on the roads that coats your vehicle can cause irreversible damage to your car’s exterior finish. Salt also tends to discolor and etch away at paint, which can lead to rusting and corrosion if left unchecked for too long.

If you live in an area that is prone to cold weather, it’s important to take care of your vehicle by washing it more often. When you wash it, use a car wash soap and an exterior cleaner to eliminate any salt residue from the car exterior.

what eats car paint the fastest


You might get confused at looking at bugs in the list of what eats car paint the fastest. Yes! Bugs are what will ruin your car paint overnight. Every time you come home after a long drive, your car has done murder of several bugs out in the air. Although it is normal, however, these bugs act as a silent killer on car paint.

If a bug is smashed against the car while it’s wet, the acidic residue left behind can cause etching in the paint surface. The acid in their body can ruin even the most perfectly pristine paint job. It will dissolve the paint and can leave permanent stains on the vehicle. In addition, untreated surfaces will experience fading as well as rust which can lead to porous areas on the vehicle.

To protect your car finish from these deadly bugs, get your car washed as soon as you can. While washing the car let the solution sit for a minute and give it time to do its work. Once done, wipe the solutions using a microfiber cloth. properly rinse the surface to ensure no residue is left behind.

Applying wax after cleaning is a good idea. It will add an extra layer of protection and prevent the car paint from future damage.

Bird droppings:

When it comes to maintaining your car, many responsibilities will need to be met. Cleaning bird droppings off of the paint is one of them. It might be a dirty job, but removing bird droppings from your car is crucial to maintaining its pristine paint. Bird droppings are acidic and if not removed will eat through the paint on your vehicle. 

It’s wise to clean the area as soon as possible before the poop gets dry. Even if it gets dried, the good news is that you can easily remove them with soap and water. There are also many products on the market which specifically deal with this problem. 

All you need is to create a cleaning solution and gently scrub the poop with a soft-bristled brush. If it’s too hard to remove, let the solution sit for 1 minute as it will allow the solution to weaken the dropping. And wipe away to clean the paint.

If you have a large number of bird droppings it might be wise to visit an auto detailer who specializes in this type of service. They can remove the residue with various chemicals and machinery that most people do not own.

what eats car paint the fastest


The list of what liquids damage car paint isn’t complete without mentioning an insecticide that kills bugs. The insecticide not only kills bugs and insects but also has the potential to damage car paint. The ingredients present in the insecticides are harmful and can create a corrosive environment. 

All of it can lead to disturbed paint finish eventually leading to rust. The ideal approach to get rid of this problem is to wash the car as soon as insecticide gets onto it. Waxing the car after the wash is a wise decision as it will create an extra layer of protection. 


Rust is a reddish-brown coating that forms when metals, especially iron, are exposed to water and oxygen. Rust is caused by the combination of iron with oxygen in the air. Iron reacts with oxygen in the water to form iron oxide or rust. Iron rusts quicker in the presence of salt, which increases the rate at which it absorbs water, accelerating corrosion.

Rust is a natural part of the weathering process for metals, but on car paint, it can be unattractive and quite damaging. Rust is an issue that many people encounter and it’s not always easy to see the signs of rust on your car until it gets worse. 

However, measures can be taken to reduce its effects and avoid costly repairs in the future. For example, one simple but effective deterrent is applying wax or sealant to your car’s exterior paint. Wax helps create a protective shield that resists moisture and rust-causing chemicals. A sealant also does this, but it may last longer than wax.

what eats car paint the fastest


You may enjoy drinking soda, you may not be aware that soda on car paint is what eats car paint the fastest. Sodas have a high level of acid in them that is enough to ruin the paint of your car if left untreated for a long time. 

Likewise, the acid in the soda can cause the paint to corrode and get stained over time which eventually causes the paint to peel off completely. To clean the soda on car paint, wash the car with water as soon as possible. 


Vandals are what will ruin car paint overnight. You may successfully file a claim with your motor insurance for graffiti or scratches.

Vandals, and if not caught soon enough can lead to the paint rusting and corroding under the surface. The acid content in vandals tends to increase with heat. Therefore, vandalism in hotter climates has been seen to cause permanent damage because of the increased acidity.

If you notice vandals on the car paint, get your car inspected by a professional. He would guide you on what necessary steps you need to take to restore your car paint. 

what eats car paint the fastest


Car paint is a material that is subject to wear and tear, including from exposure to the chemicals. Chemicals can be found in many products in your garage, that may spill all over the garage and car paint. 

Chemical spills can create a difficult situation for car owners as not only do they have an unsightly mess to clean up, but the spill may also damage the paint. The chemicals from a chemical spill on car paint can cause slight discoloration and extreme damage if left untreated long enough. 

Chemicals, what ruins car paint, can corrode or eat away at your paint, making any repairs much more expensive. The chemicals in the spill can eat through your vehicle’s protective coating and you may need to repaint the car.

Although, It can be difficult to understand which chemical has a more adverse effect on the paint and which one is gentle. However, a decent approach is to take all the recommended measures after you notice a spill. It will remove any apprehension of damage that could happen. 

If a chemical spill on car paint is noticed, it is recommended to immediately wash a car before proceeding with any other actions. If you have not done so already consider applying an acrylic coating that has been proven to protect your paint from spill after spill.


Taking a sip of coffee from your favorite mug causes you to pause momentarily, as the rich aroma of coffee beans fills your nostrils. But imagine if your morning cup spilled onto the paint on your car. The scenario is both horrifying and expensive – not to mention, a nightmare for any car enthusiast. Yes! Coffee.

You would be astonished to see coffee in the list of what eats car paint the fastest. A lot of people are unaware that spilled coffee can easily cause damage to car paint! The acidity and sugar in coffee will cause the paint to corrode and dissolve. 

Coffee will cause permanent damage to paint if not properly cared for within minutes of the spill. Never fear! You can always wash your car ASAP to prevent expensive repairs. However, If the coffee stays longer, you must re-polish the surface to get the old shine back. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep your caffeinated beverage off your car’s exterior.

what eats car paint the fastest


Winter is here and the ground is starting to be covered with snow. Along with this, we can expect to see more of it on cars too. And this is what ruins car paint. Snow can do way more damage to the car paint than we think.

It’s easy for snowflakes to get stuck on the paint of your vehicle and stay there for days. This is a problem because flakes can add up quickly and cause rusting, chipping, and other damage to the paint.

There are, however, some precautions that should be taken if the snow gets on your car. To avoid any paint damage, you should use a shovel or brush to remove snow from your car so that there is no snow build-up on the car.


Do you find sand clinging to your car’s body? It’s no wonder, with so many dirt roads and beaches out there. If you want to keep your car looking perfect, it is important to maintain a clean exterior by removing these pesky particles before they wreak havoc on the paint. 

Many people do not realize the damage sand can do until too late- a single grain of sand rubbing against a waxed car can cause a scratch that cannot be fixed. Likewise, these tiny particles can stuck in your car paint which can lead to corrosion. 

However, to prevent these repairs, wash your car more often. Rinse the car properly and avoid wiping the car with force, as these particles will leave irremovable scratches. 

what eats car paint the fastest

Shaving Cream:

It is not common for car owners to encounter a surprise of shaving cream on car paint. However, the shaving cream on car paint is what will ruin car paint overnight. Shaving creams are made up of a combination of acidic and alkaline compounds. It’s these compounds that make shaving creams help soften facial hair and make it easier to cut.

But, when these compounds come into contact with the highly polished and sensitive surface of your car’s paint job, they can cause chemical corrosion. The combination of both creates a deadly solution for your car paint. This is why it’s so important to rinse the car off immediately after you’re done shaving to avoid having the shaving cream sit on your paint for long periods of time.

Sharp Objects:

There are many ways in the list of what eats car paint the fastest, but the most common is hitting something with sharp edges. A sharp object that strikes the surface of a car’s paint can result in scratches. These scratches can range in-depth, depending on what action caused the damage.

If a key is rubbed against the paint, it can create long and deep scratches. Likewise, if a rock is thrown at a car, it will create much deeper scratches than those made by a key. The type of material that caused the scratch also makes a difference; metal objects will cause more severe damage than plastic ones. Even a small scratch can cause a blemish on your vehicle with seemingly no hope of removal.

When the paint is scratched, it exposes the car body to the outer environment leading to rust. Rust is a major issue as it can cause significant damage to the car and eventually require expensive repairs. The only remedy you can seek will be to repaint the car.

what eats car paint the fastest


Bleach is a powerful chemical that can be used to remove stains from clothes, floors, and surfaces. However, it can also ruin the paint on a car if not used correctly. 

Automotive paint can be ruined by bleach in a matter of hours because it attacks the paint’s clear coat. Bleach also has the potential to strip away sealants and waxes that keep your car looking shiny and new. Prolonged exposure will eventually turn the car’s paint peel away to reveal the metal underneath. You can imagine its after-effects.

To prevent these damages, make sure to rinse the bleach off the car paint properly. 

Tree sap:

Tree sap is another natural substance what will ruin car paint overnight. Tree sap is a sticky substance that is released when the tree is wounded. Other trees emit sap when they are attacked by insects or other organisms. Sap can also be produced in large quantities when the tree is tapped for syrup. 

Sap, which is composed of complex carbohydrates, will eventually dry and harden into a resin. Once it dries, it can peel off of things that come into contact with it, your car paint is no exception. 

Tree sap can cause serious damage to car paint when it dries. If you find tree sap on your car, try to remove it as soon as possible using a rag or paper towel. Pour soapy water over the area and gently scrub the sap away. If the sap is dry, use a solvent such as acetone or rubbing alcohol with a soft cloth. The more you leave, the harder it will get to remove the sap off the car. 

what eats car paint the fastest


Salt, as discussed above, can have an adverse effect on your car’s paint. Salt can be corrosive to metal surfaces, including steel and aluminum. It can cause significant damage if left on your vehicle. Salt can also lead to rusting, weakening the metal further.

Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to prevent salt from damaging your car’s finish.  The first step is washing the salt off your car with water immediately after getting back to your driveway. Another option is using a brush or sponge to remove the salt outright if it’s an area of the vehicle that can’t get wet.

Silly string:

Cars are notorious for being difficult to keep clean, but the problem becomes much worse when you combine them with a substance that leaves behind a sticky residue. Silly string is a product that has been popular among kids and teenagers for many years. Its popularity has not diminished with time, and in fact, teenagers might be using it more than ever.

Most people think Silly String is harmless for use on car paint, but the truth is in a list of what liquids damage car paint. It sticks to surfaces like car paint and other materials all the while attracting dirt and grime while drying to a tough finish. 

The best way to remove this sticky substance is by giving your car a quick wash at home. You can also use WD-40 to clean the strings from the paint.

what eats car paint the fastest

Shoe Polish:

You may find it awkward in the list of what liquids damage car paint. But yes! when used improperly on car paint, shoe polish can cause permanent damage. The polish can seep into cracks and crevices where they can create another mess. In addition, shoe polish is difficult to remove from car paint, so it could take hours of scrubbing to get the job done. 

However, some simple steps will protect your car from shoe polish while also removing it quickly if it does happen. At first, create a cleaning solution and wash the surface immediately. If the polish had stayed longer, wash your car using a specialized cleaner.

Dirty cloth:

Cleaning a car is a hobby that most car enthusiasts enjoy. What most people don’t realize is that this satisfying hobby can turn into a new problematic mess if not performed properly. Cleaning a car without a cloth seems impossible. However, using a dirty cloth can lead to scratches all over the car paint.

Cloths such as microfiber towels or rags pick up dirt and tiny particles which then require the need to be washed properly. Using a cloth that is not properly cleaned can create scratches all over the paint. Which will become noticeable over time. 

what eats car paint the fastest
what eats car paint the fastest


If you have been driving around in a dusty environment, it may be time to clean your car. Dust on car paint can be harmful and can lead to costly repairs, if not addressed. 

Dust, dirt, and debris can make a layer of filth on any surface that will cause your car paint to deteriorate over time. On car paint, it poses the risk of staining the clear coat and causing permanent damage. 

To combat this, you can clean your car with water or wet wipes. If you are feeling up to it, you can also use a wet towel or rag to gently wipe down your car’s exterior. Rinsing a car properly is another good idea.


Ash is what ruins car paint in no time. Ash has active ingredients, calcium, and potassium. The combination of both can create a corrosive environment when reacted with water. 

If left untreated for a long time, it can cause corrosion to occur and leave dark grey stains over the paint. However, to clean the ash from the car paint, and seek help from a professional, you may end up creating a new mess.

Following are the 26 jawdropping substances what eats car paint the fastest. However, the damage depends on various factors such as paint quality, paint age, wax layer on the paint and how long do these substances stay on the paint. 

The best practice is to wash the car as soon as you notice these 26 substances on the car paint. 

what eats car paint the fastest
what eats car paint the fastest

Tips for the longevity of the car paint:

To keep your car paint in good condition, the following are the steps that you can take. 

Wash your car more often. Try to use a detergent that is gentle on the car paint and dry the car immediately using a microfiber towel after you are done washing. 

Make sure to park the car under a shade when possible. This will not only protect your car from the harmful UV rays of the sun but also protects your car from harmful natural elements. 

You may wash the car more often, but if you don’t wax the car once in 4 months, your car paint will remain at risk. Waxing the car adds an extra layer of safety that protects the paint from natural elements, scratches, and UV rays. 

While washing the car, make sure to use a clean towel or you will end up creating scratches on the car. Avoid the towel sitting on the ground and switch the sides while cleaning.

what eats car paint the fastest
what eats car paint the fastest


Does vinegar eat car paint?

Vinegar does not eat car paint, but it can damage the paint because of its acidic nature. Vinegar is a mild acid, so It’s best to avoid using it on your car because it can leave behind residue that will make your paint look dull. 

People often compare the effects of vinegar and acid rain on car paint. Although both are acidic, acid rain on car paint can affect the paint severely because of its more acidic nature. Vinegar, on the other hand, has a mild effect on car paint.   

Is acetone harmful to car paint?

Acetone is a strong solvent and can damage the paint of your car. If the car’s paint is not protected with a sealant, then acetone can strip the paint and cause it to peel off.

If you need to remove the acetone from the surface of your car, you should use a gentler solvent.

Does the paint get damaged by WD-40?

WD-40 is a spray lubricant that is made for maintaining machinery. It is often used in removing tar, sap, bird droppings, bugs, etc. from the car paint. It does not contain any harmful chemicals that can damage the paint on your car, but it is best to use it sparingly and in small amounts.

Does coke damage car paint?

Yes, coke is what ruins car paint. Coke is widely known to clean battery corrosion, however, if the coke is left to dry on the car paint it will create a sticky mess. It is recommended to wash off any soda residue as quickly as possible after spilling it on your car.

Does nail polish remover ruin car paint?

Nail polish remover is what ruins car paint if it is not used properly. It should be applied sparingly and only to the area that needs to be cleaned, and then wiped off with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Nail polish remover that is non-acetone is mild and gentle to be used on the car paint. 

Does brake fluid destroy the paint?

As discussed earlier, brake fluid on car paint is what will ruin car paint overnight. However, the damage varies from fluid to fluid. Silicon-based brake fluid on car paint will act as a thinner eating away the paint coating. Likewise, some fluids can create a corrosive environment leading to cracks in the car paint.

What liquids damage the car paint fastest?

All the liquids mentioned above are deadly for your car paint. However, those that are acidic in nature such as acid rain on car paint, battery acid, some sodas, etc are what eats car paint the fastest comparatively.

It is advisable to keep an eye on these fatal substances and take precautionary measures to prevent damage down the road. 

Is it safe to use a magic eraser on car paint?

It’s not recommended to use a magic eraser on car paint. Magic erasers are designed to remove dirt, grime, and other buildups from surfaces. They are not designed for use on car paint or any other surface that is sensitive to abrasive materials. The abrasive material can scratch the surface of the car paint and cause damage.


In conclusion, the above-mentioned 26 substances are what will ruin car paint overnight. The quicker you can get to these substances, the less likely they are to do significant damage. If you see that your car may have come into contact with something foreign, act fast.

In order to have a long-lasting vehicle that looks as good as new, it is recommended that you maintain the car’s paint with a good quality wax. Take precautionary measures before these substances create a new mess on your car paint.