Will Kerosene Damage Car Paint? (Explained)

Using kerosene to wash cars is one of the oldest and weirdest tricks we have ever come across. Car owners do a lot of weird stuff to their cars, you will be shocked by what most of them recommend on popular auto forums.

There are two ways kerosene can find itself on your car paint. One, you could spill it accidentally when moving some kerosene in your garage.

Or, you could have read or been advised by someone that kerosene when used to wash cars, leaves behind an impressive finish and removes stubborn dirt.

Irrespective of how kerosene gets on your car paint, you must wash it off right away. Car paint is very delicate. And no one should apply foreign elements to it.

A liquid such as kerosene is very harsh on car paint. Being in the same category as other fuels, would you wash your car with gas? Probably not!

Some people use kerosene on their car paint because they claim that it is a strong stain remover. However, living in times where there are hundreds of cleaners specifically formulated for cars, one would wonder, why put kerosene on car paint?

Kerosene will strip away wax and clear coat when applied directly to car paint.

This process is accelerated when the kerosene is left to dry o car paint. So, if you accidentally spill some kerosene on your car paint, wipe it immediately, wash it with soap, and rinse it with water. This should be done immediately after the kerosene gets on the car paint.

will kerosene damage car paint

What If the Kerosene is Diluted with Water?

Before we look deeper into this weird trick of washing car paint with kerosene and water, let us address this issue. Kerosene is going to damage your car paint in the long run.

At the moment, you may not see any visible effects of kerosene on car paint. But with continued use, the paint will fade.

Wax won’t always last long as the kerosene weakens it. And this will leave your car unprotected. Therefore, avoid spilling kerosene on car paint. If you happen to do so, clean it thoroughly and apply some wax.

Back to kerosene’s effects when diluted with water, most people who do this claim that it helps clean their car and gives it an impressive finish.

When diluted with water, kerosene doesn’t fully dissolve in water. Therefore it will damage car paint. Even if it was soluble, why would you use such an odd product on your vehicle?

Why go to such extra lengths to clean your car with kerosene when there are so many cleaning products out there?

Why Do People Wash Cars with Kerosene?

No doubt, kerosene is one of the best tough stain removers. It can cut through any sort of stain and on any surface.

Being such a great cleaner, some car owners use it instead of shampoo. For instance, they mix a cup of kerosene and a bucket of water and use that mixture to scrub the dirt off the car.

Kerosene has been known to leave an oily finish on car paint. It does dry plastic trims if there are any on your car. Another reason that makes this weird car wash technique popular is how it prevents rusting.

Thanks to its unique properties, when you apply kerosene to your car, you will never have to deal with rust developing in areas with chipped paint.

Most people who use kerosene to wash their cars drive older models. A while back, car paint isn’t what it is right now. It was harder and stronger.

Today’s acrylic lacquer is very delicate. In an attempt to make car paint glossier and better looking, car manufacturers use formulas that can easily be damaged by contaminants such as kerosene.

Even if you have thick road tar on your paint, don’t use kerosene to clean it. There are safer and better cleaners out there that won’t damage car paint.

How Does Kerosene Damage Paint?

The first thing that happens when kerosene comes into contact with car paint is that it begins penetrating the clear coat.

Depending on the state of your car’s clear coat, the kerosene can either penetrate deeper or stay on top of the clear coat.

When you wipe it right away, the kerosene is prevented from penetrating the paint. But if it is left to dry on the paint, tiny particles of kerosene find their way into the paint. And that’s how the damage occurs.

If you accidentally spill kerosene on your car paint, how fast you react determines the extent of the damage. If you do it fast, then there will be minimal damage.

However, if you let it sit there for longer, you risk hurting your car paint.

Those who use kerosene as a cleaning agent usually dilute it with water. After doing that, the effects of kerosene are weakened and it may not damage your car paint. It may not even strip the clear coat if the ratio of kerosene to water is low.

Is It Advisable to Wash My Car with Kerosene?

If kerosene gets on your car paint by accident, you should clean it right away. However, buying some kerosene and using it to wash your car.

This is a very crazy idea. Yes, some people praise kerosene for its ability to give car paint an amazing shine. However, wouldn’t you get the same from a quality car wash shampoo?

On most car forums, there are varying thoughts on whether it is advisable to use kerosene to wash cars or not.

It is an old-fashioned detailing trick. But, the reason why we wouldn’t recommend this option is that even experienced detailers themselves are against this idea.

With so many polishes and waxes in the market, it wouldn’t be logical to use kerosene instead of detailing sprays and waxes to give cars a beautiful finish.

Kerosene works just like grease remover. It is a common ingredient in most wax removal products.

As a car owner, you shouldn’t believe that kerosene will have good intentions for your car’s clear coat. It may end up stripping the clear coat leaving your car naked and exposed.

Is Kerosene Very Harmful to Car Paint?

It’s not as harsh as other liquids, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Kerosene is extracted from crude oil and that’s why it leaves an oily shine on car paint.

It will do that at a cost. Kerosene will remove all contaminants on your car’s surface. This includes tar, stains, tree sap, and anything else.

Kerosene doesn’t stop there. It also removes wax, strips the clear coat, and then finally gets to the paint. This is not a process that will happen in a couple of minutes.

It may take months or even years. It all depends on how frequently you use the kerosene on car paint.

Most people who use this crazy technique don’t even realize how they are damaging the car paint.

But after a year or two, the effects become visible. If you have recently been advised to use kerosene on car paint then please avoid doing that by all means possible.

There are so many products both cheap and expensive that were created solely for car paint.

Is Kerosene an Alternative to Claying?

There is no way you can compare claying to using kerosene. Though both aim at removing contaminants on car surfaces, kerosene does more harm than good.

Clay bars have for years been the go-to choice for car owners who want to get rid of stains on their paintwork.

However, some car owners perceive claying as a tiresome job that needs a lot of effort. This is where kerosene comes in.

Compared to claying the car, kerosene is faster and easier to use. Also, unlike claying where the car is left dull and some wax is applied to give it a gloss finish.

Kerosene leaves an oily shine behind. It sounds like the best product, right? But there is a catch. Kerosene and car paint don’t go hand in hand.

Lots of old-timers love kerosene as well as other car owners who have busy schedules. It is a quick fix to so many problems. However, when you weigh the pros and cons, the latter is more.

Clay bars were made to be used on car paint. Kerosene wasn’t.

Kerosene is just like gasoline. Would you pour gasoline on your car directly? If you usually spill some gas on the area beneath your fuel tank opening, you have probably seen some etched paint spots.

This is exactly what happens when you pour kerosene on your car paint, even when it is diluted.

The idea of using kerosene on car paint can be tempting. It offers a faster and easier solution to removing contaminants and giving your car a beautiful shine.

However, there is a huge chance that the kerosene will damage your car paint. It’s also important that we address how odd it is to use kerosene to wash a car.

If you spill kerosene on a car by accident, that is understandable. But washing your car using kerosene sounds like a terrible idea that you should never try.

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