How To Remove Overspray (And Other Messes) From Glass

Silver Porsche 356 Windshield

So, you’ve got overspray (ie. paint, cement, tar) on your windows? Obviously you want to remove it, but the question is how. Before answering that, you must first consider the substance or contaminant that you are removing. For example, you remove tar differently than you would remove cement, or paint for that matter. Take a look at each scenario and get your windows clean again…

Removing tar (and other sticky substances)

When removing things like tar, sap, and sticker residue from your car’s windshield or windows, you must use a solvent (like a tar remover found at your local hardware store) to loosen the bond it has with the glass. You’ll want to spray your cleaner, let it sit, and then bust out a razor blade. Why a razor blade? Well, razor blades are perfect for glass because they allow you to get under the sticky substance without tearing up the surface. Don’t get me wrong, razor blades can scratch glass—which is why it’s important to use a lubricant (like clay spray) and keep the blade flat on the window at all times.

Removing paint

If and when paint comes into contact with your windows, don’t panic. Lubricate the surface with a clay spray and start gliding your medium to heavy grade clay bar in straight lines. If the paint has been on the surface for quite some time, you can find paint thinner and remove it that way. Additionally, you can also try steel wool to remove paint, but make sure it’s fine or superfine grade so as not to cause visible scratches.

TIP: Never use razor blades or steel wool on your paintwork.

Removing cement

If you park outside or work in construction, you’re probably familiar with cement overspray. Similar to paint, though much harder to remove, cement overspray requires a clay bar treatment. Again, grab your clay spray and your clay bar, then start the procedure. You can also use a vinegar based cleaner to etch the cement and make it easier to remove, but in most cases you will still need a clay bar.

Other considerations

IF YOU ETCH THE GLASS WHILE REMOVING OVERSPRAY, FEAR NOT. You can easily make the surface clear again. As I mentioned a few sections above, you can use fine or superfine grade steel wool on glass to remove things like paint, but you can also use it to smooth out any etching. You’ll want to again utilize your lubricating clay spray and gently buff the surface with the steel wool pad. The end result will be fantastically clear glass with no marring.

No matter what substance comes in contact with your car’s windshield or windows, removing it isn’t that tough so long as you know what to do. The above examples may seem fairly simple, and that’s because they really are. It doesn’t take too much work to fix up windows because glass is so durable and strong, unlike a clear coat for example. Just stay ahead of the game by addressing issues as soon as they arise. No matter what you’re dealing with, if you let it sit for weeks on end, you’re going to have a tougher time removing it. Take this advice and jump into action the moment you notice something stuck to your glass.