How To Remove Ceramic Coating

How To Remove Ceramic Coating

Ceramic coating, although highly beneficial, it’s a pain to remove. To reapply a new coat, the old ceramic coating needs to be removed. Because car detailing is so expensive, some car owners decide to apply and remove the ceramic coating on their own. To avoid damage to the car paint, you need to learn how to remove ceramic coating.

  1. Clean the car thoroughly.
  2. Clay bar the car. 
  3. Polish the car to mechanically remove the ceramic coating. 

These are the steps you need to take but it’s way more complicated than that. For car owners that are skilled in DIY detailing, this shouldn’t be a problem. Beginners will have to do some research. If you are new to DIY car detailing, you can still do this, you just need to learn some things.

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to remove the ceramic coating without damaging the paint. This will also make sure that you will have no issues with the next coating you add.

Rinse With A Pressure Washer

Rinse With A Pressure Washer

When removing the ceramic coating, it’s of key importance to have your car squeaky clean. You don’t want any contaminants on the car that can cause scratches or ruin the new coating you will be adding.

The proper start to a thorough car wash is rinsing with a pressure washer. I don’t recommend using a garden hose here. If you don’t have a pressure washer at home, do this whole thing at a self-service car wash. Or, borrow a pressure washer from a friend.

Apply Car Wash Soap

Apply Car Wash Soap


These two steps are quite basic, you do them every time you are washing your car. This time, you should take some extra measures. Usually, you just foam your car with a foam cannon or apply soap with the wash mitt.

Although this is enough for the usual car wash, when removing ceramic coating your car should be extra clean. Here, I recommend combining a foam cannon with the two-bucket method. That way, you can be sure that all dirt particles are lifted off and can be washed away.

I highly recommend using a surface cleanser along with the car wash soap. The cleanser will remove any wax and other coatings on the car. It will also help with removing contaminants. This will make sure that the new ceramic coating you will add won’t have sticking problems.

  1. Mix car wash soap and a surface cleanser in the foam cannon.
  2. Prepare two buckets, preferably with dirt trips. 
  3. Fill one bucket only with water, add car wash soap and a surface cleanser to the other. 
  4. Foam the car with the cannon.
  5. Soak a wash mitt with car wash soap and wipe in linear motions.
  6. Rinse the wash mitt in the bucket for rinsing. 
  7. Rinse again with a pressure washer. 

Blow-Dry The Car

Blow-Dry The Car


Before you move on to clay baring the car, you need to dry it completely. The best thing to do here is using a blow dryer. Cars have a lot of crevices where water gets trapped. Cloth won’t be able to reach those crevices.

More so, if you are using a microfiber cloth to dry the car, there is a chance that you will recontaminate the car. However, if you don’t have a blow dryer, you can use a microfiber cloth.

I recommend getting a highly absorbent cloth that is soft. You can avoid scratching the car that way. It’s a good idea to use several cloths to avoid scratches and decontamination.

Clay Bar The Car

After all the washing you’ve done, believe it or not, there will still be some dirt particles on the car. Road grime and contaminants are really hard to get rid of, especially those tiny pieces that stick to the paint.

For a perfect finish, we use clay bars. These cleaning tools are highly efficient at removing dirt that a regular car wash can’t. For some people, clay baring sounds complicated. It’s easier than it sounds. Here’s how to clay bar a car.

  1. Tear apart a small piece of the clay bar. 
    You want to use small pieces if in case it falls, you will still have a clay bar left to use.
  2. Flatten the clay bar with your palms.
  3. Spray clay lubricant on the clay bar and on the car. 
    Spray lubricant on the car part by part. Basically, spray lubricant on the area you are working on.
  4. Start wiping the paint with the clay bar in back and forth motions. 
  5. Wipe with a dry clean microfiber cloth in the end. 

Polish The Car With A Buffer

Now, this is the part where you are actually removing the ceramic coating. Don’t use chemicals to remove the coating, that is the wrong way to go. You want to mechanically remove ceramic coating for best results and for safety.

You will need an orbital buffer and applicator pads for this. If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to do this. Try borrowing one if you don’t have it. In case you can’t find one, you will have to pay a professional to do the job for you.

What you will be doing here is basic polishing, nothing special. Here’s how to polish a car.

  1. Put masking tape over any plastics or body parts that do not have ceramic coating. 
  2. Get a cutting polish and a pad conditioner. 
    The cutting polish will help you get rid of the coating and the conditioner will keep the pads wet.
  3. Apply the cutting polish on the pad. 
    A good way to make sure you apply evenly is to add five dots of cutting polish for every two by two areas you will be buffing.
  4. Start polishing with the lowest settings on the buffer. 
    This makes sure that you spread the cutting polish evenly.
  5. Keep the pad flat at all times. 
  6. Move the buffer inch by inch. 
  7. Set the buffer on the highest settings once the cutting polish has been spread evenly.
  8. Repeat this for each panel of the car. 

Should I Remove The Ceramic Coating

With the guide out of the way, we should answer why people remove the ceramic coatings on their cars. Ceramic coating is highly efficient at protecting your car from dust particles, UV lights, and scratches.

However, if there is something wrong with the coating, it’s not as effective. It also looks annoying when there is a bubble or a bump in the coating. So, people want to remove it.

In most cases, ceramic coating is removed because it’s installed incorrectly. People add the coating on their own so they make mistakes. Professional detailers also make mistakes. When that happens, the old ceramic coating should be removed.

You should remove the ceramic coating on your car if it’s badly installed or if it’s not effective anymore. You should also remove it if you want to add another type of coating to your car.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Does Isopropyl Alcohol Remove Ceramic Coating

Isopropyl alcohol is not able to remove the ceramic coating. It’s not strong enough to penetrate the coating and lift it off. Ceramic coating is never removed by using chemicals, it’s removed mechanically with a buffer.

Does Vinegar Remove Ceramic Coating

No, vinegar won’t remove the ceramic coating on cars. The vinegar won’t break down the coating. If there are any cracks in the coating, the vinegar will just damage the paint, nothing else.

Will A Clay Bar Remove Ceramic Coating

A clay bar alone won’t remove the ceramic coating. Clay bars are used as a prepping tool for removing the coating. You clay bar a car before polishing it to remove the ceramic coating.

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