Matte Paint Care Myths: DEBUNKED!

Matte White Ferrari

There’s nothing in this world quite like allowing fact to bust the cap off mere theories. Believe me, in the detailing community, all sorts of nonsense churning out on the interwebs. Troll some detailing forums, you’re guaranteed to see them – a whole muck of unadvised claims without much evidence to back it up. Still don’t believe me? Well believe this… there are actually people out there who think polishing protects their car. Nevertheless, I’m here to shine some light on a few matte finish myths that have been circulating for quite some time.

MYTH #1: You can’t protect a matte paint finish.

Busted. While this may have been the case when matte paint first emerged into the automotive marketplace, it certainly is not the case today. At the same time, this myth does make sense if and only if the protection product uses fillers, silicones, or any type of wax. So what’s that mean? It means the only (effective) way to protect matte paint is with a liquid matte paint sealant specifically formulated not to increase the surface’s gloss rating.

MYTH #2: It’s hard to take care of a matte painted car.

The problem here is in the wording. If you consider taking care of a “regular” (non-matte) car hard, then sure, maintaining a matte car might be tough for you. Chances are if you’re on this blog you care about your car and how it looks, and with that said, chances are you understand where I’m coming from here. Taking care of a matte painted car is no more work that properly caring for a glossy car. By the way, the mere fact that you’ll never be polishing your matte car makes it that much easier to care for. Matte finishes are way less susceptible to clear coat scratches and swirl marks simply because the matte finish is non-reflective. If you know about the science of scratches, you also know that when there’s no light to reflect off a scratch the human eye has a hard time really seeing it. Myth tackled.

MYTH #3: Matte paint is just regular paint without a clear coat.

Absolutely not. In rare cases, maybe your aftermarket matte paint job has no clear coat, but if you get it from the factory it definitely will. In fact, it’s actually the clear coat that makes factory matte paint look flat with its microscopic imperfections and “dimples” (read more). If you got your car or motorcycle painted matte in a booth by a third-party, I recommend making sure they put on a matte clear coat over the pigment layer of paint. Without a clear coat your messing with fire.

MYTH #4: Dish soap is safe to use on matte paint.

Dish soap is formulated to do one thing (unless you use that brand that moisturizes your hands), and that thing is to strip grease and grime off of hard surfaces (ie. plates, glass, etc.). As you now know, you can most certainly protect matte paint – using dish soap to clean the car will weaken the bond of any sealant or substance on the painted surface of your car. So in a sense it may not do damage to the paint, but it’s certainly doing more than just cleaning it. Do yourself (and your matte finish) a favor and get a no-shine matte car wash soap that uses no fillers, no silicone, and won’t strip your matte paint of its layer of protection.

MYTH #5: Matte paint is super fragile and not at all durable.

matte finish rulesEhhh, not quite. Not sure where this one started from, but I guess everybody speculates on exotic items and that they aren’t built to last. Matte paint, if it’s from the manufacturer, is absolutely designed to last the entire life of the car. Going back to Myth #3, that’s why we put clear coat on our cars – longterm protection for the pigment layer of paint. Because most matte paint does in fact use a clear coat layer, the only thing you have to worry about is protecting that clear coat layer with a matte paint sealant.

MYTH #6: The dealership will know what to do.

If only I had a dime for every instance I’ve heard this one. Trust me, dealerships are good for just about one thing: selling you a car… and most of them are terrible at doing that. They did not manufacture your car, they are not related to the development company who created the paint, and they definitely don’t read the entire manual before telling you how many miles your car should go without an oil change. Leave the paint care to professionals who understand the science behind matte paint and not those who only get paid if and when you purchase the car from them. Face it, most dealerships are rigorously trained to say “yes” no matter the customer’s question. Think about it… does this model have ABS? “Yes, for an extra $3,200.” You get my point.

Anyway, when all is said and done, if you’re lucky enough to own a matte car… it needs specific attention. There are things you should know and things you should avoid. There are secrets and tips, and believe me there are a whole bunch of knuckle heads online who’ll take any theory that pops in their head and post it to a forum as advice. The bottom line is trust the experts – that’s why we’re here. Whether you drive a 2004 Subaru WRX or a matte C63 AMG, we can help… just email myteam@drbeasleys.com, comment below, or ask us on facebook to get your answers straightened out once and for all.

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  • J

    Thank you for this writeup!

    How soon should we get bugs and bird droppings off our car? Being in Florida, this is a concern because it happens often. Obviously you don’t want to let anything sit there for too long, but would a couple of days be fine?

    Down here, bugs and bird droppings are almost a daily occurance.

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com Dr. Beasley’s

      J,

      I certainly understand your concern being in Florida. Simply put, you really want to avoid allowing the substance (bugs, sap, bird droppings) to harden. If it does harden, you’re really going to have a tough time trying to get whatever it is off with Matte Final Finish. In that case you’ll have to get Matte Paint Cleanser out during the car’s next wash to remove anything stubborn. Bottom line, if bugs are on the surface for a day or two it’s not going to ruin the paint, but we do recommend removing anything from the surface as soon as you can.

      Just remember to always keep your matte finish protected and you’ll be okay. Hope this helps!

      - James

      • Dave

        You talk about using the Matte Paint Cleanser to clean off stubborn dirt, bugs, etc. Is it ever OK to use a clay bar on a matte finish? What about the various iron cut products out there that remove iron particles that have embedded themselves in the clear cut over time?

        • http://www.drbeasleys.com Dr. Beasley’s

          Dave,

          Don’t use a clay bar on matte paint. The fine imperfections will basically grate the clay bar like a block of cheese. We did a test with medium grade clay and it didn’t look pretty. As far as iron cut products, I cannot say. I wouldn’t recommend it simply because we haven’t tried it, but this is something I am going to look into with our Production team.

          Hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have further questions.

          James

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  • ramaudio

    thx for the write-up… you just sold another matte grey Hyundai Veloster turbo..lol

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Happy to help :) Share some pictures with us when you have a chance to our kit out!

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  • Range

    What if you dont have a wash bay where you live, should you be taking it to the wash bays and avoiding the drive throughs?

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Range,

      Thanks for reading and your comment! I assume you’re talking about washing a matte car, in which case you have a few options. First is to find a reputable hand car wash that will use the appropriate products (more and more are popping up everyday). Second, yes, a wash bay would work fine so long as you avoid using the chemicals and tools they provide (you never know what’s in there). Lastly, just wash in your driveway – obviously this weighs heavily on where you live and the weather.

      There are other options that professionals use, such as inflatable wash bays, but this can be tough to get into your garage depending on the available space. At the end of the day, don’t bring it through a drive-through car wash. The brushes, the chemicals – none of it is good for matte paint, but interestingly enough, it’s terrible for glossy paint, too.

      The choice is up to you. Let me know if you have anymore questions!

      James

  • Savy

    What does the factory do differently in terms of paint that an autobody shop doesn’t when it comes to matte

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Savy,

      It depends on the shop you go to, but some will not use clear coats. Instead, you’ll find a single stage paint job. No factory would do this and be able to sell the car.

      All matte clear coats are different, too. Some produce more glare/sheen than others, while some are absolutely dead flat. No matte is alike.

      Hope this helps clarify a bit more!

      Thanks for reading,

      James

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  • danny550

    are there any products you would recommend keeping in the car to use right away for cleaning like birdpoop for example?

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Danny,

      Thanks for your comment! Check out Matte Final Finish.. it will be just what you are looking for. Let me know if you have more questions!

      James

  • cousinboy

    is it ok to use any clear coat over the paint once you use an additive for no shine ? or is there a specific clear coat for the paint.also i noticed a particular brand of “matte clear” claiming that everything is already mixed into there clear coat, so its just to spray on. do you have to use hardener as well when spraying the clear. looking forward to a video on how to mix the clear coat/

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Yes, just be sure the clear coat is a matte specific clear coat and not glossy. Regardless of the surface beneath, if the clear coat is glossy the surface will shine.

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  • JRJalapeno

    Hi. How long can you wait to wash or detail the car after its been rained on?

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      As long as the paint has been sealed there’s no reason to immediately wash the car after it rains. Our Matte Paint Sealant will help prevent waterspots from forming and the barrier it provides makes cleaning those that do form much easier. My recommendation would be to make sure the car is sealed and wash the car at least once a month and you should be fine.

      • JRJalapeno

        Awesome thanks! I was just worried about acid rain because I live in Pa. If I want to be extra careful, can I use your finishing spray after it rains to remove any water spots? Sounds like a quick solution between washes.

  • JRJalapeno

    One last question :) . Can the finishing spray be used to clean the car after a rain storm if I don’t have time to wash it? I get acidic rain. Thx again for everything. You guys are an amazing company with unsurpassed customer service. I never would have had the courage to buy a matte car without you. You have a customer for life.

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Thank you for your kind words! We are more than happy to help. To answer your question…

      Yes. You could use Matte Final Finish to touchup the entire car, but at that point it may actually be easier (and slightly more beneficial) to just wash it. Since your finish experiences acid rain, the most important thing to do is keep the finish protected at all times.

      As always, let us know if anything comes up!

  • Joseph O.

    Just bought a Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Matte gray. Came with the full matte wash kit and was surprised to see a letter from the president of Beasley… Jim… signed ink personally and a 10% discount on the next kit! That was an awesome touch… I’m blown a way at all the little surprises that I keep finding with the car. I will definitely be buy another kit once the fist one runs out.

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Congrats on the Veloster! We’d love to hear what you think of the products after you get a chance to wash and seal the car. We also have larger sizes of everything included in the kit. So if you, say, run out of Matte Body Wash we have quarts and gallons available. The discount you received is valid for 10% off your entire next order so get whatever you like! As an aside, we’d love to see some photos of the car, post a couple photos on our facebook when you get a chance so we can take a look.

      -Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

  • Todd

    Hi does the matte products work on dipped cars? Especially in white. Thanks

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Absolutely, Todd! Our Matte Paint Prescription works great on dipped cars, wrapped cars, and matte painted cars. You get the same cleaning ability, same protection, and same convenience regardless of the finish.

      Hope this helps!

      • Todd

        Thanks for your reply, just had another question, can I use the matte cleaner and sealant on wheels with matte paint? Instead of your matte wheel cleaner and sealant? Thanks

  • Mrjoe

    If I suspect my finish had been treated with some other product that contained silicone or waxes, is there anything I can use to “de-wax” the finish prior to using your products?

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  • MRALBERTO1

    Hi, I have a matte white BMW and some brown tree sap from a magnolia tree seeped onto my car while I was at work and had the consistency of spilt soda, it had not dried at all and i was able to take it off with a soft sponge and and a little soapy water, but now there appears to be a tea stained drip on the car (its about a 6×8 space) and I can’t figure out how to get this out? What could I do????

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Hey MRALBERTO1, sorry to hear about the stain. Good thing you got to the sap as soon as you did. Without seeing the car I can’t say for sure, but we’ve had success with getting sap stains out before with our Matte Paint Cleanser. You’ll want to spray it on there, let it dwell (not dry) and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Repeat as necessary if the stain is still there. The Cleanser is formulated for matte paint so it won’t hurt the paint, but it’s more aggressive than just soap and water so it will have a much better chance.

      Hope this helps!

      http://www.drbeasleys.com/matte-paint-cleanser.html

  • Ace

    I have a matte white ducati. Will this product work on the bike too?

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Ace, The Matte Prescription is designed to work on any and all non-glossy finishes.