Repainting Your Car? Don't Let Dust Spoil Your Work Before It's Even Dry

Posted on: 12 May 2016

Dust that gets into your car's paint job can rob you of the rightful joy you ought to feel after painstakingly perfecting your vehicle's look. If you'd rather not finish everything and suddenly notice a scratch or smudge where dirt has messed up your car's flawless polish, here are a few ways you can proactively stop dust in its tracks.

Be Thorough In Your Initial Cleaning

Much of the dust and other particles that can threaten your car's new paint job are already on it, which means you have to be very deliberate in your initial wipe-down. Ideally, you'll need to clean off not just the surfaces you intend to paint, but the undercarriage, tires, and other places that dirt and dust might be lurking. This significantly reduces the environmental sources of dust that might get dislodged during the painting process.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a coin operated manual car wash to get your car sparkling clean, then pat it dry with non-abrasive towels. Once you've attended to every accessible surface, you'll need to take care of any rust spots your car might have. Cover up health sections of your car's panels and sand off any excess rust, being careful to collect the dust on a drop cloth or newspaper so it can be easily removed. Then, spray trouble spots with rust inhibitor, which will make it easier to paint over them. 

If you choose to do the painting indoors, keep your work area well ventilated and run a humidifier. Clean, humid air will keep dust from floating around while you prep your car for painting, but be careful to monitor the humidity once painting begins: if the air has too much moisture, it will take too long for each coat to dry.

Paint Slowly And Deliberately

Dust sticks to wet paint, which means the longer the paint is wet and the wetter it is, the more your car is at risk for gathering unwanted particles. To reduce this risk, you'll need to practice patience and care when you apply coats of primer and new auto paint

Make sure to stand back from the car, allowing your paint sprayer to mist it lightly instead of dousing the vehicle with paint. Only spray until you can see a thin film of paint, then move on to the next area. This keeps the paint thin so that it's tacky, rather than wet, and it dries faster in between coats. However, the downside of this process is that you will need to apply many coats before you reach your desired color, so patience is crucial.

Make Friends With The Tack Cloth

A tack cloth is a special kind of cloth that has been infused with a tacky substance to help it pick up dust without the use of water. If you're absolutely determined to keep dust away from your car's new paint job, you can use one of these cloths to wipe it down after each coat has dried. Tack cloths are also handy for keeping your tools and general work area clean.

However, remember that even a good tack cloth can become a double edged sword, if you aren't careful. You have to keep the cloths from gathering too much dust at one time, or they might end up simply transferring it from one surface to another. Check your cloth periodically and give it wash when the dust has accumulated significantly.

Sand And Polish The Old Fashioned Way

Buffing and polishing tools may help you get the job done more quickly, but they can also damage your paint job if used improperly. Moreover, the fine details of your car's final polish will need to be handled manually anyway. Using your hands to sand down the paint and bring out your car's new shine may take extra time and effort, but it's a good way to ensure you pay the sort of thorough attention needed to achieve perfect results.

Once your new paint job is polished to a glossy shine, you can also go over it one last time with a clay bar, which is gentle enough to pull out any stubborn particles without damaging the fresh polish.

If you take proactive steps to block dust from messing with your car's paint job, you'll be able to bask in the glow of your success without worrying. Though it does make the painting process take longer, isn't the reward of a job well done worth the added effort?