Cleaning Up After Halloween Mayhem
Ok guys, Halloween is just around the corner. For some of you that might mean dressing up and going to parties, for others it means taking your kids trick or treating. For me it means keeping my car out of harm’s way. Every year, without fail, kids all over the country run around egging, and TPing, and sillystringing, and smashing pumpkins. Sometimes this can translate to harmless fun, but it tends to veer quickly into property damage. And for real, I don’t want egg and dried shaving cream all over my car, and I’m pretty sure you don’t either. Take a peek after the jump to find out what to do if this stuff happens to you…
Ok, so here’s the big one that can really mess with your paint. People just love to throw eggs at stuff. Don’t know why. But when the target is your car it can be a giant headache. First off, the most important thing to do is to make sure to catch it early. If can remove the egg while it’s still wet then you’re a step ahead of the game. Most likely you can simply rinse and wipe it off with a soft towel. Unfortunately this usually isn’t the case.
Chances are you notice it after you wake up the next morning and it’s already dried on your paint. In this case the cleanup process becomes a bit trickier. The first thing you’ll want to do is pick out large pieces of the shell and rinse the area so that any large debris will come off before you even begin cleaning. Then spray a degreaser on the affected area and let it soak onto the egg residue for a few minutes. Once the degreaser has had time to sit, wipe the area with a soft cloth.
Hopefully at this point the mess will be taken care of, but if the egg has stained the paint you’ll have to polish the area in order to get it back to normal. In extreme cases the proteins and acids in the egg will etch the paint this can only be fixed by wet sanding and respraying the panel. You’re probably looking at body work at this point.
Shaving Cream, Silly String, Toilet Paper
I’m going to repeat the same refrain here, and this will apply to pretty much every substance you get on your car. The sooner you can remove a foreign material from your car the better. Both shaving cream and silly string dry rather quickly, and can harden on your paint. Neither of which, however, is inherently harmful to paint. Wads of toilet paper are similarly harmless. Where you can run into problems is when you start to pick this stuff off when it’s dry (this can cause fine scratches).
Your best bet here is to rinse the area first. Simply rinsing with water should be enough to soften the hardened substance to the point where it’s easily removed. After it’s softened, use some water pressure to hose it right off the surface. If there is still some residue left, wash the car with a pH balanced car wash soap and it should look good as new.
Well if someone’s been hurling entire pumpkins at your car you’ve probably pissed someone off pretty bad and your problems may run deeper than cosmetic car care. And you probably have some nice sized dents that you’ll want to have a local body shop remove. But in the meantime you might as well remove all that pumpkin goo from the surface. The best thing to do, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, is to remove it as quickly as possible. It shouldn’t have stained or marred the paint by the next day so chances are simply rinsing off the surface and then washing the car afterwards will do the trick for you.
This one may not be quite as easy to take care of as the last few, but it can still be remedied at home. First you’ll want to use a general degreaser just to get anything loose off the surface. If you have the materials handy try polishing the surface to see if that removes any of the damage. If not you may need to try another method…
Working on one panel at a time, pour a small amount of paint thinner onto a rag and lightly rub the spray paint. It will come right off with no adverse affect to the clear coat. As soon as the spray paint is removed rinse the area with water. After rinsing you’ll want to neutralize the surface with an exterior pH neutralizer before waxing. Wax the panels you used the paint thinner on in order to protect the area going forward.
These are some of the most common problems you’ll run into at the end of the month. Hopefully you’ve got a neighborhood full of extremely well behaved kids who respect other people’s property, but let’s be real here. Of course, you could avoid these problems entirely if you have a garage or own a car cover, but we’re not all so lucky. Any other Halloween or mischief night related damage you’re having troubles with? Let us know in the comments and we’d be happy to help!