Home car painting Will Vinegar Damage Car Paint? + video

Will Vinegar Damage Car Paint? + video

by Peter Morris
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A typical home ingredient called vinegar is frequently lauded for its adaptability. There appears to be nothing this straightforward solution can’t handle, including cooking and cleaning. But can vinegar solution be a friend or adversary when it comes to car maintenance, especially paint job?

This article will examine vinegar’s impact on car paint and consider both its advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also discuss vinegar’s use in car detailing, its effects on the car tires, car windows, and car interior, and how it stacks up against other cleaning agents like car wash soap and baking soda.

What Is Vinegar?

When bacteria that produce acetic acid ferment ethanol, they produce an acidic liquid that produces vinegar. Acetic acid is the main cause of its acidity, as determined by pH. Vinegar’s distinctively sour flavor and strong aroma are both a result of this acid.

White vinegar is a frequent variety used as a cleaning agent because of its clear color and comparatively greater acetic acid concentration. There are many other forms of vinegar, but for the sake of this post, we’ll focus on white vinegar.

Does Vinegar Damage Car Paint?

The method of application has a big impact on whether white vinegar may damage car paint. As was already said, washing your car with a white vinegar solution that has been appropriately diluted may be both secure and efficient. A white vinegar solution can harm the car paint, though, if applied incorrectly.

Cleaning the car body with vinegar

Cleaning the car body with vinegar

With increasing white vinegar solution concentration and time spent on the car paint, there is a greater chance of damage to the clear coat or paint job itself by this acetic acid. Vinegar in concentrated form or vinegar left on the car’s paint job for a long time can remove the clear coat, leaving the car paint bare and vulnerable to additional vinegar damage.

Does Vinegar Remove Car Wax?

You can indeed remove car wax with a white vinegar solution. Vinegar’s acetic acid is great in removing wax from your car’s surface by dissolving it. While this can be helpful if you want to remove old or extra wax, it’s something to be aware of if you recently waxed your car and want to keep its shine.

Cleaning the car body with vinegar

Cleaning the car body with vinegar

Use a less concentrated vinegar solution and properly rinse your car after using this cleaning agent to prevent removing wax when using white vinegar to clean your car and dry to avoid water spots. The wax may always be reapplied after using this cleaning agent if you unintentionally strip it.

Does Vinegar Remove Car Scratches?

Although it won’t actually get rid of the scratches on your automobile, white vinegar can assist in cleaning the region surrounding them and lessen their visibility. When the clear coat or the paint job itself is physically harmed, scratches develop on your car’s paint job. White vinegar can’t fix the actual harm caused by the scrape because it only functions as a cleaning agent and not a filler or paint.

Use a scratch remover or rubbing compound if you want to get rid of little dings on the car paint. You might need to apply touch-up paint or seek expert assistance for deeper scratches that go through the car paint.

Also Read: Mysterious Scratches on Car:16 reasons and how to repair

Does Vinegar Remove Car Stains?

White vinegar may be used to successfully remove certain stains from the car paint. Vinegar’s acetic acid helps dissolve stains-causing chemicals including bird droppings, tree sap, and some forms of road filth. However, you might want a specialized cleaning agent for stains that are oil-based or brought on by certain chemicals.

Although white vinegar can assist in stain removal, this acetic acid should only be used sparingly. To avoid potential vinegar damage to the clear coat of your car, always use a diluted vinegar solution and properly rinse and dry your car after cleaning to avoid water spots as well.

What Should I Do If Vinegar Strips Your Car Paint?

Avoid panicking if white vinegar strips or damages the car paint. In order to get rid of any vinegar residue, thoroughly clean your car with water and also avoid water spots. Consider the vinegar damage after that. If the clear coat was removed but the car paint is still in good condition, you might be able to restore the clear coat using a tool like a clear coat pen or a premium auto wax.

Washing the car after cleaning it with vinegar

Washing the car after cleaning it with vinegar

To cover the vinegar damage to your car paint or your car’s clear coat, you might need to apply touch-up paint. You could want expert assistance if the vinegar damage is serious.

Vinegar Alternatives

While white vinegar is a good cleaning agent for cars, it’s not the only one. You may also clean and deodorize your automobile with common home goods like baking soda. Baking soda is particularly good in getting rid of persistent odors.

An excellent car wash soap is difficult to beat for washing your car’s paint job, glass, and tires. These car wash soaps are made especially to clean your car without damaging the car paint or clear finish. Just dry it after to avoid water spots.

What Liquids Aside From Vinegar Damage Car Paint?

The number of damaging agents that affect car paint will surprise you. The following are some liquids that can damage car paint besides vinegar:

Coffee and soda

These acidic drinks might harm the car paint or clear coat besides vinegar damage. They destroy the barrier and leave a sticky sugar residue in their wake. After a coffee or soda spill, wash your car as quickly as you can and dry it to avoid water spots.

Also Read: Will Baking Soda Damage Car Paint? + Best tip to use it


Eggs are frequently used in pranks. Eggs may completely strip a coat of paint off a car. Once more, it would be preferable to fully remove the egg by washing the area with water and car shampoo and be careful not to let water spots remain on your car.


The primary chemical in nail polish remover is this one. It could eat through the car paint in a matter of hours if it were to leak. You should quickly wash the acetone with lots of soapy water due to how caustic it is. Keep in mind to not let water spots be left on your car.

Brake Fluid

This auto fluid acts as a paint thinner, making it easier to chip and peel the paint job from the surface of the automobile.

Also Read: Brake Cleaner on Car Paint: Damage and Dangers

Shaving Cream

If left unwashed, another popular trick may degrade the paint job. In case it dries on the car paint, you may touch it up.

Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream

Rubbing Alcohol

When applied without being diluted, this chemical will damage the car’s clear coat or paint job, much like white vinegar will.

Also Read: Will Denatured Alcohol Damage Car Paint?

All-Purpose Cleaners

The majority of all-purpose cleansers for homes are abrasive. Although they could be effective in cleaning grease as a cleaning agent, when you rub the cleaner, it might damage the car paint.

Uses for Vinegar on Your Car

Here are the best uses of white vinegar on your car:


Cleaning your car with white vinegar is simple and economical. As we’ve already said, you may clean the paint job, glass, and tires of your car using a mild white vinegar solution as a cleaning agent. To carefully remove difficult filth or grime, take into consideration employing a soft-bristle brush or a microfiber cloth.

Always use a suitably diluted vinegar solution while washing your car but dry it later to avoid water spots appearing. After thoroughly cleaning the entire automobile with the white vinegar solution, give it a good rinse with water and wipe it clean to avoid water spots appearing. For a more thorough clean, you might choose to use a car wash soap afterward and dry clean to avoid water spots. This will aid in avoiding any white vinegar damage.


Your automobile may be deodorized using white vinegar as well. It can effectively mask a range of offensive odors because of its strong aroma and antibacterial qualities. Combine white vinegar with water in a spray bottle for use as a deodorizer.

Spray the vinegar solution sparingly over the fabric of your car’s seats and floor mats, then let it dry. As it dries, the vinegar scent will fade away, taking the bad smells with it. Vinegar’s acetic acid has the ability to harm several materials, including leather and some types of textiles.

Use vinegar to deodorize

Use vinegar to deodorize

Always test white vinegar on a tiny, concealed area first before applying it inside your automobile. If there isn’t any damage or discoloration, it should be okay to use.

Removing Stickers From Glass

Stickers on automobile windows may sometimes be removed successfully using white vinegar. Acetic acid, a component of vinegar, can dissolve the adhesive on stickers, making removal simpler. Use the vinegar solution for this by dabbing a little bit of white vinegar on the sticker and allowing it to settle for a few minutes. After that, carefully remove the sticker. With additional vinegar and a soft cloth, you may get rid of any remaining adhesive residue.

Preventing Frost and Ice

Did you know you could use white vinegar to keep your automobile from getting frost or ice on it? Your car’s windows may be defrosted at night by misting them with a solution of three parts white vinegar to one part water. The vinegar solution should not, however, be applied to the car paint since it may damage it.

Also Read: Damage Car Paint: 25 Common Causes You Need to Avoid


As a result, even while white vinegar may be a useful cleaning agent for cleaning and maintaining cars, this acetic acid should be handled with caution. Your car’s paint job, windows and tires may be safely cleaned with a suitably diluted vinegar solution. But vinegar damage to the clear coat or car paint itself can be experienced if you apply vinegar incorrectly.

As with any cleaning agent, white vinegar solution should be used appropriately and tested first on a tiny, concealed area. White vinegar solution may be an effective addition to your cleaning agents for cleaning your car with the correct information and safety measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to wash your car with vinegar?

The answer is yes, as long as you use a suitably diluted vinegar solution and completely rinse and dry your car after cleaning to avoid water spots as well. But since it can potentially peel the wax from the car paint, vinegar shouldn’t be used in place of car wash soap for routine washes.

What liquid destroys car paint?

Numerous liquids have the ability to corrode car paint. Strong acids or bases, certain types of oil, petrol, and even specific cleaning agents are among them. If not properly removed, tree sap and bird droppings can potentially harm a car’s paint job.

How long does vinegar last in your vehicle?

It’s advisable to avoid leaving vinegar on the car paint for longer than a few minutes while cleaning it with vinegar. Rinse your car completely with water after using the vinegar solution to get rid of any leftover vinegar and dry clean to avoid water spots.

Does baking soda damage car paint?

When used properly, baking soda shouldn’t harm the car paint. However, it should be handled cautiously, much like vinegar. Because baking soda has a small abrasive quality, improper usage might result in scratches on your car’s paint job or clear coat. Always wash your car after cleaning with a completely diluted baking soda solution and dry it to avoid water spots appearing.

Will vinegar remove car wax?

Yes, vinegar will remove car wax. Vinegar’s acetic acid is good at dissolving wax and removing it from your car’s surface. Consider using a less concentrated vinegar solution and properly washing your car after cleaning to prevent removing wax when using vinegar solution to clean your car and dry it to avoid water spots.

Can I clean the outside of my car with white vinegar?

Yes, the exterior of your automobile may indeed be cleaned using white vinegar. Your car’s tires, windows and paint job may all be cleaned using a weak white vinegar solution. To avoid any damage done to the clear coat or paint job by this acetic acid, make sure to fully rinse your car after using a vinegar solution to clean it and dry it to avoid water spots.

Can I use vinegar and baking soda to wash my car?

While vinegar and baking soda may both be used to clean your car, they shouldn’t be combined. It may be nasty when vinegar and baking soda react to create water and carbon dioxide gas. Instead, wash your car with a mixture of vinegar or baking soda, but not both at once.

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