Taking Care of Matte Paint Finishes

Custom Matte Chevy Pickup Truck

Matte Car Care Products available now!

So it seems our friend David Beckham has made a new purchase. Good for him. Recently he bought this brand new Chevy Camaro SS with a custom matte gray paint job. Sweet car, but he may not realize that he won’t be able to take care of it like he would a regular car. See, matte paint can’t be waxed and needs special care. Luckily we offer exactly what he needs to take care of it.

The car gets that flat look because the paint is intentionally “rough”. There are microscopic imperfections in the paint which refract light at random angles, decreasing the amount of gloss the car gives off. (Learn More) A carnauba wax or traditional paint sealant would fill these imperfections in, making the paint splotchy and uneven and rendering useless the fancy new paint job that could cost more than the car.

So you can’t put a carnauba protectant or traditional sealant on the car, which means it can be vulnerable to the elements and airborne contaminants. And when you inevitably get some small scratches on the car how do you get rid of them? Normally one would get out their favorite polish and buff out the scratch, but that would smooth out the paint particles, again ruining the finish. (Luckily matte paint hides light scratches better than glossy finishes do so this won’t be as big of an issue.)

So how in the world do you take care of this thing? We’ve got just the trick. We’ve developed a full line of car care products designed specifically for matte paint, so you can rest easy knowing that your beautiful new ride is taken care of.

The key is preventative maintenance. So the most important thing you can do is to protect the paint finish with a liquid paint sealant specifically designed for matte paint finishes. Most car manufacturers that offer a flat paint option suggest washing the car regularly with a soft mitt or sponge, using a car wash soap which contains no wax, polish, or other “shiny stuff”. Some even go so far as to make you sign an agreement about how to care for the car.

The moral of the story is this: if you like polishing/waxing your own car this is not the one for you. You can practice preventative maintenance if you have the proper matte finish products, but claying, buffing, and traditional waxing are a no-no. I’m sure Mr. Beckham is going to miss those Sunday afternoons in the driveway polishing and waxing his ride. Someone should have warned him.

Source: Celebrity Cars Blog

  • kris

    looks like i screwed the pooch on that one then… Just bought a Matte black Subaru Forester which is a bitch to keep clean. I’m washing it lots and am investing in a car cover but what about all the specialist matte finish care products available on line? I need to get a few minor scratches out. Any advice other than a re spray of panels / the whole car?

    • James @ Dr. Beasley’s

      The best thing for you to do is find matte touch up paint and an artist brush. If a product online tells you it can polish out a scratch from a matte surface, you’ll see some leveling and smoothing of your matte finish (obviously not desired). With the touch up paint, a reputable detail shop should be able to fill in the scratches with the paint fairly well.

      On another note, we’re in the process of testing some new protection and cleaning products for matte finishes with our chemists, so we’ll be providing some solutions for matte paint relatively soon.

  • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

    Hey everyone. Just wanted to leave an update. After extensive research and testing we now have our full product line for matte paint finishes available for purchase. Check them out and let us know if you have any questions!

  • Rashad Butler

    I just bought a Matte white Maserati GT MC Coupe and I wanted to know would I been fine if I took it to a local car wash and told them, "it's a matte finish and I would like a hand wash" would I be fine. Or am I better off just using your products off line and washing it myself? Also when washing the car is there any type of water that should be used?

    • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s


      Congrats on the new purchase, that’s a sweet ride. To answer your question, most car washes use soaps that contain glossing agents, optical brighteners, and\or fillers. These are great for traditional glossy paint jobs, but for a matte cars they can damage the finish. The paint on your car is special and should only be washed with a product designed for matte finishes. Our Matte Body Wash doesn’t contain any ingredients that would be detrimental to matte paint so it’ll be perfectly safe for your new Maserati. If you don’t like washing the car yourself some places will let you bring in your own car wash soap and they can wash your car with our product. Remember not to wax the car, but instead use a product designed for matte paint protection.

      And you shouldn’t have to worry about the water you use; most any water will be fine. If you only have water on hand with heavy mineral deposits (like well water), it should be purified because minerals can cause water spots. But regular garden hose water should be fine. If you have any other questions leave another comment or email me at andrew@drbeasleys.com. Good luck with the new Mas!

  • Rashad Butler

    Thank you. What should I use to wash it and dry it with?

    • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

      I’d use a couple of standard wash pads for the car wash itself, and soft microfiber towels for drying. If you’re interested we do have a matte paint care kit which comes with everything you’ll need for taking care of your paint.

      • ivan

        Hi their
        iv just painted my car matt black is their a finisher i should use to seal the paint??

        • Ivan,

          We’ve got just the thing for you. Our Matte Paint Sealant is exactly what you need to seal and protect a matte car. Here’s a link to all the products you’ll need to take care of your matte paint. Thanks for the question; let me know if you have any others.


    hi everebody
    i just received my new m3 frozen grey ,beutiful but i wonder if dust will damage the matt finish faster than normal glosy paints?
    waxing with special matt wax is it ok???

    • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s


      Dust can cause damage to a matte finish fairly easily since they’re so delicate. Applying a protectant is a great idea to keep your paint looking great and protected from dust, dirt, and environmental contaminants. I would not, however, apply a wax to your car, even if it says it’s matte specific. Waxes will begin to fill in the microscopic imperfections in the paint surface and can damage the surface. What I would recommend is to use a liquid matte paint sealant. This type of product will not fill anything in (thus not damaging the surface), but will provide a long lasting barrier which will protect the paint surface from contaminants such as dust.


        thanks for advice ,howevwe swissvax is saying that their products are totally and especially made for wax paints includind their wax .whats your opinion ???
        another question is this matt paints made from original bmw will last as long as normal shiny paints,knowwing and doing the right care ?

        • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

          Philippe, glad to help. When we set out to formulate our Matte Paint Sealant we wanted to improve on other existing matte products, including waxes. Here’s why: waxes fill in imperfections in paint. That’s a great thing for normal paint but matte paint is intended to have microscopic imperfections so avoiding filling these in is key. This is why our product is a liquid sealant and not a hard or paste wax. It won’t fill anything in, guaranteeing that your paint won’t be damaged or look uneven after use.

          The other main thing we wanted to improve was the length of protection. Carnauba based waxes generally last about a month or two. Our synthetic formula offers much longer protection than a regular wax would (closer to 6 or 7 months), meaning you don’t have to use as much of it. Obviously I won’t discourage you from trying another brand but we feel for these reasons that our product is the safest on the market.

          To answer your other question, yes, with proper care and attention there’s no reason that a factory matte paint job such as BMW’s frozen paint shouldn’t last just as long as another more traditional glossy paint finish.

  • Skyler

    So what do you suggest if i already waxed the car? is the finish ruined? it was Maaco

    • Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

      Skyler – Tough to say without looking at it, but if you waxed your matte car and it still looks ok then you may have dodged a bullet. If it looks like there’s a sort of white film or it’s splotchy in some way then you may have a problem on your hands. Sometimes with these paint finishes the wax will start to turn white or splotchy over time (even if it looks ok right now) and once that starts to happen, there’s no guaranteeing that you’ll be able to reverse it.

      It’s probably best to spray some Matte Paint Cleanser on the surface, let it sit for a minute, and then gently wipe it off using a microfiber towel (that should begin to remove the wax). Wash the car as you normally would (hopefully with a matte specific car wash soap) and in a month or two the wax should be all gone. The important thing here is to make sure not to be too aggressive in trying to remove the wax (you never want to be harsher than necessary with a matte finish).

      From this point on I’d make sure only to use a matte specific protectant. Even if your car hasn’t sustained any adverse affects from that particular wax job, I wouldn’t risk it again in the future. (trust me , I’ve seen plenty of waxes take their toll on matte paint.)

  • Miguel Valenzuela

    Is back in black is good for flat paint

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  • Kratos

    I just got my Mitsubishi vr4 painted matte black n was wondering exactly which products out there I can use to maintain the finish yet keeping the car clean?

    • Kratos,

      Everything you’ll need can be found here: http://www.drbeasleys.com/shop-drbeasleys/products/matte-car-care.html

      Also here’s a helpful article we put together: http://www.drbeasleys.com/blog/2011/08/09/matte-paint-care-guide/

      Hope this helps.

      – James @ Dr. Beasley’s

      • ladz

        i own a carwash, and a gentle man came with a matte black car to get it washed, upon completion he said we damaged his vehicle…… leaving watermark looking stains. how can i get rid of this? if i can’t, he has to spray it over and will bill me.
        does anyone know any solution for this?

        • Ladz,

          If washing the car and using microfiber towels doesn’t completely dry the car, I recommend two options. One is using compressed air to whisk water off the car as well as out of the crevices of the body. A thorough drying process is best because as the customer drives away, a little water can seep out and dry on the surface.

          If the water spots are tough to remove. Use Dr. Beasley’s Matte Paint Cleanser. http://www.drbeasleys.com/matte-paint-cleanser.html. As long as the water spots haven’t etched the paint, the product is very effective in removing water spots that are otherwise tough to remove.

          Please let me know if you have any other questions! I hope this was helpful.


  • James

    I have a flat white Tahoe and it seemed to get stains very easy whats the best way to clean it and to get some of the stains out I am in need of help I was goin to jus repaint the truck because of it and I just had it painted !

    • James,
      Your best bet to remove stains from your matte truck is to use some Matte Paint Cleanser. Spray it on the stained area, let it dwell for a few minutes, and then wipe it down. You may need to do this a couple times depending on what kind of stain it is, but it should do just the trick for you. Of course, the only way to prevent stains in the first place is to use a proper paint sealant.

  • robert willis

    i recently painted my civic with auto air colors base dark water base, then cleared it with a hot rod flatz and love the way it looks, i ran it through the tocuhless car was bare minimum wash and it didnt harm it, i want to get the dr beasley’s matte finish prescription kit but it costs as much as my paint did lol, is there a coupon code or something to get it cheaper?

    • Robert,

      I wish I could help, but the Matte Paint Prescription already has a built in discount. When purchasing all four of our matte paint products as a kit you save 10% on the retail price. If you are only looking to use 1 or 2 of the products you may consider buying them individually, but if you’re looking for the full system then the current kit price is a great deal. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Brandon

    I have a matte finish on my car, but it is not paint, it is a vinyl wrap (matte black). Would this be a beneficial product for me to use?

    • Brandon,

      Definitely. Even though matte wraps are vinyl, they can still be damaged from the sun and the environment it’s in (heavy rain, bug splats, bird droppings, etc.). In many ways vinyl wraps are amazing for protecting the paint layer, yes, but keep in mind the vinyl itself is not immune to potential damage, clouding, and discoloration. All of our matte products are formulated to work perfectly on matte vinyl wraps as well as factory finishes and clear coated aftermarket finishes.

      Don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s any other questions we can help you with.


      James @ Dr. Beasley’s

  • Josh

    Hi, I just painted my car with two stage urathane{sp} followed by cc900 flat clear. Now on with the questions. 1. Is care for a flat CLEAR the same as flat paint? 2. Are there any ways to fix runs or sags, can I wet sand a flat clear ( I don’t think so ) or just repaint the panel? Thank you

    • Josh,

      Yes. Our products are designed for matte cars with a “flat” clear coat. All factory finishes are clear coated, and most, if not all, aftermarket finishes should be, too. The term matte paint (in our blogs and on our website) is used to describe the combination of paint and clear coat that gives a unique flat appearance. They’ll work great on your finish.

      For your second question, I would not wet sand flat paint (including the clear coat of course). I would repaint so the finish isn’t compromised. While runs may seem unsightly, it’s not worth sanding down the flat finish and risking an uneven finish. Although I haven’t tried it, I’m quite positive you’d be able to tell exactly where you did the wet sanding work on the panel. To me it’s not worth ruining the consistency of the flat look.

      I hope this helps, and let me know if there’s any other questions I can answer.

      – James @ Dr. Beasley’s

      P.S. Let us know how it goes. We’d love to see pictures of your process.

  • Kristian

    Hello just painted my motorcycle matte balck an the paint scratches so easy is there anything out there that will take these little white scratches out

    • Kristian,

      Unfortunately you cannot polish matte paint, as the “flat” effect will begin to wear down and gradually become reflective. Your only real quick-fix option is to use touch up paint. I do, however, think you have a bigger issue. If I were you I’d make sure you have a clear coat. While a gas tank and fairings aren’t much space, a non clear coated matte finish is basically just like spray paint – it can chip easy and be scratched with little to no effort. To me, your situation sounds like you’re running into this issue.

      How did you paint the motorcycle (professionally, kit, manually, etc.)?


      • kristian

        the bike was painted professionally, what i gathered from the painter is that he sparyed it with the black paint then a clear coat with flattening agent in the mix..

        ok so you think i need a straight clear coat over?

        • Not necessarily, there are many factors at play. There are specific matte clear coats, but in your situation I’m assuming it’s not as thick or durable as a traditional one. Third party painters typically vary their products, so I can’t say for sure. For example, a friend of mine has a 2001 Ducati Monster in matte black – Ducati’s matte paint (of old) was very thin, almost satin looking, and not so durable… his bike is covered in hairline scratches. On the other spectrum, their new factory matte paint options are stunning, durable, and wont scratch easily at all.

          If I were you, I’d talk to the painter again and see if there is a more durable matte clear coat available. Additionally, if/once it is applied, make sure to protect the bike immediately. Obviously if a belt buckle is hitting up against the tank, scratches are quite hard to prevent, but that goes without saying. Explain to them the issues you’re having with the paint itself and see if they have the option for a more resilient clear coat (or maybe just another layer). Tough to say from my end without seeing the bike, but I’m interested in helping any way possible.

          I’m going to do more research, talk to the team, and try to dig up more answers for you.

          – James

  • Alex Gomez

    I am a painter at a body and paint shop. We dont do many matte finishes here but i recently did some satin paint jobs and a couple of matte paint job. We recently did a matte paint job that sat in the shop for 2 weeks and while it was parked it received some light scuff marks that will not come out. On a normal gloss paint i would just buff them out. I called my paint rep he said that i could try to lightly scrubb out with a fine brush but no luck!!
    Is there anything i could do in the future to remove scuff marks out of a matte paint job? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you very much.
    Alex Gomez

    • Alex,

      Because you cannot polish matte without altering the ‘flat’ effect, we designed Matte Paint Cleanser to remove scuffs and light staining – if the contaminants haven’t already caused harm to the paint. Basically if the substance is on top of the paint and hasn’t been embedded, the product should work great. Really without seeing the car I can’t say, so if you have pictures I’d like to see them so I can give you a better idea of what you’re up against. I would want to know what caused the scuff, how big is it, etc. All will help to better remedy the situation.

      Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions.


  • Matthew Bissell

    I’m considering buying the new 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo and would love to get it in the matte gray finish, that they are offering.

    My question is regarding my location. We can get some serious weather in Pennsylvania, during the winter, so with the car sitting out in the elements for long periods of time, is it a bad idea to choose the matte finish? What about long periods in direct sunlight (for example; at the airport parking lot)?


    • Matthew,

      I appreciate your question and I’d be happy to help. Matte paint is no different than glossy paint aside from the fact that it doesn’t shine and you can’t polish it. That said, the elements have the same effect on a matte surface as they would on a glossy surface. If the car is sitting outside I would recommend washing and protecting the car on a regular basis (which should be done anyway). The only way to keep contaminants out of your clear coat is to protect against them, so long periods of sunlight, a harsh winter, a wet spring – it’s all natural and the car will be fine as long as you take good care of it. The kit that comes with the matte Veloster Turbo (our Matte Paint Prescription) will have everything you need to maintain the finish to perfection.

      Hope this helps!



      • Matthew


        I couldn’t have asked for a better answer to my question!

        I guess thats why you get paid the big bucks 🙂

        Thanks for the info. It’s very much appreciated. Now I just hope I can get my hands on one…


  • John Dawson

    Hi, i just painted my mustang with what i believe is a stage 1 matte black paint that i think doesn’t require a clear coat on it. would your products still work on my car? it also has a boss 302 stripes on the sides that are glossy black, does your product damage glossy paint. oh and my rims were also painted in this matte black paint.

    • John,

      Yes as long as it is automotive paint our products will work. Also, none of our products will damage glossy paint.

      For your rims I suggest using Matte Wheel Seal to protect them. It’s matte safe and holds up to extremely high temperatures. Check it out.

      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with!


  • Matt

    Hi, I am debating whether I should paint my next vehicle Matte black or not. I love the colour but I have heard horror stories about the paint getting destroyed. I have heard that after as little as 2 months a lot of scratches will begin to show and it will be hard to get out. I am only looking to lease for 2 or 3 years, so long term maintenance is not an issue for me but I am still concerned that the paint won’t look very good by the end of my lease. What can I do right from the day of purchase to keep my vehicle looking fresh until the lease is over? Also, could you go into a little more depth about how long I will likely spend using your products to keep my vehicle it tip top shape? Your reply will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Matt,

      No problem! Thanks for your interest and question. First things first, the only way your matte paint will look like that after a few months is if you treat it like garbage or take it to an automatic car wash. We recommend protecting the finish with Matte Paint Sealant immediately to give the paint a barrier against environmental elements (dust, fallout, debris). This application will last 6-9 months and goes on in minutes.

      To answer your next question, I’d have to say not long at all. Matte Paint Sealant goes on with water, so it’s best applied immediately after a car wash. You can wash and wax in under an hour quite easily. The other products (Matte Paint Cleanser and Matte Final Finish) are to be used as needed and will help make sure nothing comes in contact with your paint that shouldn’t be there for an extended period of time. You should wash the car every 2 weeks or so and protect it 2-3 times per year (depending on climate, conditions, etc.) for best results.

      When all is said and done, matte paint is super easy to maintain and can look great for many, many years as long as it’s protected regularly and properly cared for. Check out our many matte articles and you’ll see how to do that!

      Thanks again for your comment! Let me know if you need anything else.


  • Matt

    Just to add to my last post. I also live in canada and plan to drive it in the harsh winter. Thought it was worth mentioning since i still am deciding if I should go with matte or a regular paint.

    • That’s okay, Matt. Many people don’t know this, but modern matte clear coats are actually a lot more durable than even glossy ones. They stand up to harsh weather very well, and again, as long as it’s protected you’ll be totally fine. Hope this helps!


  • Gunk

    Hi I just painted a Mercedes Benz flat white and I discovered a few dirt nibs. I was wondering if I can wet sand with 3000 grit so it will be a slight scuff mark. Would you’re cleansing product act like a polish to match the flat shine?

    • Do not wet sand or polish matte paint. If you did, the area won’t just be a slight scuff mark, it will noticeably reflect more light than the rest of the car – the exact opposite look of matte paint.

      If you have dirt and gunk stuck on your car, spray Matte Paint Cleanser (http://www.drbeasleys.com/matte-paint-cleanser.html) on the area, allow it to sit for 30 seconds to a minute, rinse and repeat. We’ve been able to remove anything from overspray to caked on bug guts, but it depends on the substance and how long it has been on the surface.

      If you have picture I can probably assist you a bit more, but again I stress, do not wet sand or polish the car.



  • John Lonsinger

    I have a Challenger that I had stripes and the trunk lid painted matte black.
    Since it is not the whole car, I was wondering if the motorcycle detail kit would be better for me? I don’t want to have a ton of extra left over. Does this product have a shelf life once opened?



    • Makes sense to me. The only difference is size and since your car has much less matte paint it seems like a logical option. All of our products do have a shelf life and will last quite some time. The motorcycle kit should be perfect.

      Let me know if you have further questions! Hope this helps.


  • jim

    I have been a car painter for 25 yrs and latley I have seen a lot of the matte finish paint jobs. I like the way they look and after reading your answer to questions I feel it is a paint that can be durable if the right products are used to maintain it. My question is there are paint companys that see simply ther single stage matte finish and also the matte finish clear to be sprayed over just single stage gloss paint. They tell me that neither is more durable than the other? As far as the maintence of the matte finish which one would you recommend and why? I would appreciate your reply because I have a car of my grandsons prepped and ready to spray. Thanks

    • Jim,

      Matte finish clear is much more durable than single stage paint. As far as maintenance goes, Matte Paint Prescription has everything needed to properly wash, protect, and maintain matte paint.

      Let me know if you have additional questions and I’d be happy to help!


  • mike g

    i have a car that was painted with Matte white. My son decided to refinish the trim which was orginally black from the factory he got a few places on the white with black overspray. He just used a spray can of semi flat black paint. What can I use to remove the overspray without damaging the finish.

    • Mike,

      That’s a tough one. It depends how long the paint has been on the finish and whether or not it’s soluble. I would try Matte Paint Cleanser, which has worked on overspray before… but again, if the paint has been on for a little while or has really bonded to the surface you’re going to need to get the panel repainted. You can’t polish the area or you will change the appearance of the finish so your best bet is to try the cleanser.

      Good luck!


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  • Jake

    I am going to paint my rig with a product called Montana 94. This paint has a flat finish, but is not classified as a automotive paint. I see a lot of people using it on cars so it must be a decent product. My question is the matte sealer compatible with this product.

    • Jake,

      Our Matte Paint Sealant should be perfectly compatible. We’ve tested the sealant on many different paint surfaces and it holds up equally well whether the surface is clear coated or single stage paint. As long as the paint surface has had time to fully cure then you can seal it with our product. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      – Andrew

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  • Jake

    How far does a 4 oz bottle of sealer go

    • Generally we can do a regular sized car with just under 1 oz of Matte Paint Sealant. So a single 4 oz bottle of the sealant may last several years for a normal sized vehicle. If you have a much larger vehicle we do also offer that product in a 12 oz size.

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  • Ryan

    Hi I just got new rims for my camaro a couple weeks ago and have noticed little chips in the paint, do you have anything to help with that or recommend anything?

    • Hey Ryan, Unfortunately once chips in the paint have occurred there’s not much you can do in the form of applying products to it. To fix them, we recommend either getting some touch up paint from the manufacturer, or getting the rim refinished.

  • Aaron

    I have heard that rubbing alcohol and deionized water together can be used to spot clean. Would you please confirm if its safe for matte?

    • Aaron, in short, that combination is not going to hurt a matte finish. It is safe, but it is not the most effective cleaner. Specialized products like Matte Final Finish have more than just alcohol for better cleaning. Whatever product you do use, make sure it contains no silicones, waxes, or fillers.

  • trent

    Hey, I have matte black rims. They have this white/grayish tint on them now and I’d like to get them back to the normal finish. What would you recommend?

  • ladz

    Emergency!!!!! i own a carwash, and a gentle man came with a matte black car to get it washed, upon completion he said we damaged his vehicle…… leaving watermark looking stains. how can i get rid of this? if i can’t, he has to spray it over and will bill me.
    does anyone know any solution for this?

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  • Chris j

    Is it okay to drive the vehicle in the winter? If so do you just keep rinsed,