How to Remove Plasti Dip: An Easy to Follow Step by Step Guide

Plasti dip is a product that has a wide range of automotive applications. From customizing your paint job to protecting your bumpers, there’s a lot you can do with it.

If you’re here reading this article, you probably don’t want this substance on your car anymore – for one of multiple different reasons. You just regret plasti dipping your car, it happens!

Getting rid of plasti dip from your car might prove to be more of a challenge than applying it.

Perhaps you’re not sure how to start and want to avoid accidentally damaging your vehicle – in which case, you’re doing the right thing by researching this first!

Parked red car with shiny looking rims

Whatever your case may be, don’t panic – we’re here to tell you everything you should know about how to remove plasti dip from your rims (or any other part of your car) the safe and effective way.

In this article, you’ll learn about the different methods at your disposal to get it off, and we’ve set out step-by-step guidelines for each approach so you know exactly what to do.

The Challenges of Removing Plasti Dip

Plasti dip is a rubber coating that’s supposed to be easy to peel off. However, the reality can be quite different, and removal is not always simple.

There are a few reasons why you may be having difficulty removing plasti dip from your car:

Uneven or Thin Layer

If you didn’t apply this adhesive substance evenly, peeling it off will be particularly difficult. The thinner layers will likely remain stuck.

Scraping these thin layers off of awkwardly-shaped surfaces like your rims can be tedious. You run the risk of scratching the surface underneath if you use too much force.

Bits and Pieces Left Behind

It’s great if you manage to remove the bulk of the thick coat of plasti dip. Large sections might come off without much effort, but smaller pieces might remain behind.

If there are lots of these little pieces, picking them off one by one can be time-consuming, not to mention the frustration involved as well. No one wants a car that looks patchy!

What Techniques to Avoid When Removing Plasti Dip from Cars

Before we dive into the ways you can get your car spotless again, let’s discuss what you need to avoid doing first.

There are a few strategies that you should stay away from, since doing these could end up scratching away more than just the rubber coating:

Using Sharp Scrapers

Don’t use knives or metal-edged blades on your vehicle. Even if you feel confident that you won’t make a mistake, there’s no guarantee.

You might get the offending substance off, but are unsightly scratches or grooves worth taking such a risk?

Applying Harsh Chemicals or Acids

You might have a bottle or two of a heavy-duty chemical at home. Perhaps it’s an acid that eats through rust or one of those powerful grout cleaners.

Whatever the case may be, this certainly isn’t the time to experiment. Sure, some of these chemicals might be capable of eradicating plasti dip, but at what cost? You could also cause irreparable damage to your vehicle.

On the same note, never attempt to create your own plasti dip removal solution. Mixing solutions or using them for purposes they were never intended for can be very dangerous.

Peel off as Much as You Can

Now that you know what not to do and why it’s important to avoid doing it, let’s go over what you can do to remove this product from your vehicle.

Let’s try the most obvious tactic first: If you haven’t already, gently peel off the plasti dip as much as you can. This will leave less for you to take off using other steps, for which parts peeling off didn’t work.

You’ll also avoid wasting your plasti dip removal product of choice on the thick coating that could have been simply peeled away. And of course, this will in turn save you some money.

Here are a few tips to make the process easier:

Start From the Corners

Don’t start picking away in the middle. Instead, begin from the corners or edges of the part you’re clearing.

For example, the sides of your rear bumper or the top of your hood.

Go Slow

Ripping it off quickly is more likely to cause sections to tear off. Go as slowly as you can to avoid shredding.

How to Remove Plasti Dip with WD-40

You can use WD-40 in all sorts of DIY projects—including removing plasti dip.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with WD-40, it’s a multipurpose lubricant. Most people have at least one can in the garage, due to how many tasks you’ll need this product for.

So, if you don’t want to buy a specialty product to remove the plasti dip from your car, try WD-40 first.

Equipment Needed:

  • Rubber gloves.
  • Reusable spray bottle.
  • Plastic-edged razor or scraper.
  • Microfiber cloths or paper towels.
  • Car shampoo or mild soap.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Car-safe sponge.

Gear Up

Get your gloves on so that you don’t expose your skin to the WD-40.

Transfer WD-40 to Spray Bottle

Standard WD-40 cans have a wand rather than a spray nozzle. If you have a large amount of adhesive to remove, a spray bottle will make the job go faster.

Start Spraying

Spray the lubricant on any leftover plasti dip on your car, making sure you don’t leave any part dry. Use your microfiber cloth or paper towels to rub it in.

Take care not to let extra to drip beyond the surface you’re treating, such as underneath the hood of your car. WD-40 isn’t necessarily harmful to your vehicle’s inner workings, but taking precautions is always preferable.

Let It Sit

Take a break—you should let the WD-40 sit for at least five minutes.

Wipe It Off

Use a fresh microfiber cloth to wipe off the WD-40. Any pieces of rubber coating should come off too.

For stubborn bits, take out your plastic-edged razor or scraper. Gently scrape at the pieces in a sideways motion.

Be careful not to use too much force, as pushing down too hard may scratch your paint, plastic, or metal.

Wash Your Car

Fill up a bucket with warm water and your soap (or car shampoo) of choice, and rinse off the area you’re working on.

Make sure that the surface doesn’t feel tacky or greasy to the touch. Keep washing until all traces of the WD-40 are gone.

How to Remove Plasti Dip with Mineral Turpentine

Mineral turpentine is a strong, petroleum-based solvent.

It’s tough enough to remove rubber coating, but shouldn’t harm any external surfaces on your vehicle.

Equipment Needed:

  • Mask.
  • Gloves.
  • Paper towels.
  • Plastic razor or paint scraper.
  • Large container.
  • Car shampoo or mild soap.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Car-safe sponge.

Safety First

There’s no need to risk inhaling chemical fumes.

Park your car in a well-ventilated area, gear up, and put your gloves and mask on.

Prepare Turpentine

Pour the mineral turpentine into your container.

You don’t need to fill it to the brim, but it should be deep enough to soak your paper towels in without much effort.

Soak and Apply Paper Towels

If you have many pieces of coating spread out, don’t treat them all at once. Instead, do them section by section.

For instance, if you have layers to remove on either side of your hood, do them one at a time.

If you’re targeting your hood, avoid letting this fluid drip through to your engine compartment. Be careful when you’re working at or near the edges.

Tear off a paper towel and soak it in the liquid. Then, carefully remove it and place it directly on the leftover adhesive.

Press down firmly so the wet paper towel is covering the rubbing compound. If it isn’t sticking, dampen another sheet to place over it. Repeat until the whole surface you want to treat is covered.

Let It Sit

Wait several minutes, keeping an eye on things. If all goes well, the solvent should begin to break down the plasti dip.

You’ll see spots of color start to form on the paper towels – that’s a sign that the rubber coating is getting soft.

Scrape Away

Remove the paper towel and get your plastic scraper ready.

You should see a soft, gooey substance underneath. Scrape it away—it should come off easily at this point.

Wipe Down

Soak a paper towel in mineral turpentine, and rub at any stubborn pieces that might be left.

Wash It Off

Wash the part you’ve just treated with soap (or car shampoo) and water. Ensure that you do a thorough job to get rid of any remaining mineral turpentine.

How to Remove Plasti Dip with Goo-Gone

Goo Gone is a petroleum-based cleaner that can tackle adhesives (goo) of all types.

This includes candle wax, glue, chewing gum, and much more. An added benefit is that it isn’t toxic.

All in all, it’s a very handy product and is great for our purposes here.

Equipment Needed:

  • Goo Gone.
  • Paper towels.
  • Plastic-edged razor or scraper.
  • Car shampoo or mild soap.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Car-safe sponge.
  • Gloves.

Put Your Gloves On

Even though Goo Gone isn’t toxic, it’s better not to expose your skin to it.

Depending on the size of the area you’re treating, you may be working for a while, so be prepared to spend some time!

Those of you with sensitive skin may risk mild irritation using this method, so be advised.

Apply Goo Gone

Spray or apply the product to one paper towel.

Make sure the sheet is saturated, but don’t overdo it. Otherwise, it’ll fall apart before you can place it on your car.

Set the wet sheet over the rubber coating patch you want to remove, and repeat until all the remaining plasti dip is covered.

Let It Sit

Wait for around five minutes—you can take a break at this point.

If you stick around to observe, don’t be concerned if it seems like no action is taking place. You might not see spots on the paper towels like you would with turpentine.

Goo Gone shouldn’t melt away coating like other solutions we’ve discussed so far. Instead, it should only loosen the whole patch (or piece) from the surface of your car.

Scrape Away

Take the paper towels off and dispose of them. You should now be able to peel away the underlying adhesive without much effort.

If you need to, use your plastic-edged razor or scraper for the smaller bits.

Are there still some stubborn pieces sticking to your car? If there are, then no problem: just repeat the steps above and they should come off.

Clean Your Car

Use your chosen car shampoo or mild detergent to wash your car or the surface you’ve targeted.

How to Remove Plasti-Dip with Dip Dissolver

If none of the methods we’ve talked about so far appeal to you, you can try out a dip-dissolving product.

As the name implies, these are solutions that are specifically formulated to dissolve plasti dip.

Equipment Needed

  • Gloves and mask (depending on the product).
  • Plastic-edged razor or scraper (depending on the product).
  • Dip dissolver of choice.
  • Car shampoo or mild soap and water.
  • Car-safe sponge.

Protect Yourself

Read the guidelines for your chosen dip dissolver. Some are non-toxic, whereas others require that you wear gloves and a mask to stay away from harm’s way.

Apply As Directed

Apply the solution to the leftover adhesive as directed.

The rubber coating may dissolve entirely, or residue will have to be scraped off. It’ll depend on the strength of the product you’re using.

Wash It Off

Get rid of any traces of the dissolver by giving your ride a good old car wash.

Can Plasti Dip Be Removed Professionally?

Any one of the above tactics should work just fine to get your car free and clear of plasti-dip.

However, not everyone may have the time or inclination to go the DIY (do it yourself) route, and – in very rare cases – you might not be able to use any of the above mentioned methods.

In that case, you can try calling up your local detailing shop and asking for a quote. However, know that you’ll save yourself money by solving the problem yourself at home.

Also, not all professionals will work on removing plasti dip from your car for you. Certain businesses may only recommend products rather than offer to do the job.

Conclusion

When you first bought and applied this rubber adhesive, removal was probably the last thing on your mind – at least not until you got tired of it and decided you wanted it gone.

We hope our tips on how to remove plasti dip from cars have been helpful to you!

It really isn’t all that complicated of a process, and if you can follow a simple list of easy steps and gather the required equipment to work on this, you should be just fine doing this yourself. If you purchase similar products for your car in the future, be aware of the removal process.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, as application and removal can be vastly different when it comes to the amount of effort required.

Now, if you choose to use this adhesive again, you’ll know how to take it off!

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars. Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned. Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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