Sunblock on car! Ack!

I discovered this evening that my son had taken the Coppertone spray-on sunscreen and sprayed my new Honda with it! :frowning:

I washed the car with Ivory liquid soap and water, and lots of elbow grease, and it seems to have removed it, but I can see the finish is dull and doesn’t repel water like the areas without the sunblock. So, my questions are:

1. Is it really gone? What should I do to get rid of it if not?

2. Is the dullness just because it took the wax off with it and I should wax the car, or will that just be sealing nasty chemicals against the paint?


[b]The first thing one must never do is, use dishwashing detergent or any other household detergent to clean the surface of the vehicle. These products contain chemicals that can dull the vehicle finish.

What you’re seeing is where the dishsoap attacked the clearcoat. And if you’re lucky, a duff out job might restore the finish. But leave this job to the pro’s.



I assume that was Ivory hand soap not dish detergent. If so I suggest using your favorite wax or polish and that should take care of it. A good wax would be good. The hand soap is likely leaving a little oil and dish detergent can damage the finish or more likely just strip off any wax or polish on it.

You could just wash it again fairly soon with proper car wash (Turtle Wax, Meguiars, Mothers, or similar brand name car wash will do) and give it a wax job (again, with a good, quality brand name wax) and I would think your paint and finish ‘should’ be fine. I think the dish soap (if that’s what you used) is probably worse for the vehicle’s finish than the sunblock is.


Dishwashing detergents like Dawn or Ivory will strip the wax from the paint job. I washed my car with Dawn to strip off the remaining wax before I took it in for a paint job. In the future, I would use a wash specifically for cars like Meguiars Deep Crystal’s%20Brand)>Auto%20Paint%20Care>Car%20Washes&sectionID=11101

To bring back the shine use a cleaner wax, like Meguiars Cleaner Wax in the red bottle. I’ve been using it for years. I wouldn’t worry about question #2, since the cleaner wax will remove anything that doesn’t belong.’s%20Brand)>Auto%20Paint%20Care>Car%20Waxes>Liquid%20Car%20Waxes&sectionID=11501

Good luck,

Ed B.

ooooo you poor guy it was you that killed the paint. I would get some good advice and good buffer . it will take a complete finishing kit with three step job to get the paint looking close to what it was. I fyou never used a buffer learn how to do use .you can burn hole in paint and the edges will burn qukly get a slowe rpm buffler since you will be a firs time user. or take the car to a detailer shop. now tell son your son your sorry for having him stand in the corner question id the car have a great tan? I thought you was going to tell us he sprayed the car to keep the sun rays from the paint as a protection . you never told us how old he is. please car soap only.

mikell, you didn’t “kill” your paint, it’s fine. It looks dull compared with the rest of the car because -as was correctly stated- you stripped off the wax in that spot. There’s nothing more dangerous in washing your car with dishwashing soap (not automatic dishwasher detergent, something like Dawn for washing your dishes in the sink) than there is leaving your car out in a rain storm. You don’t want to do it every time, but for occasions when you need to strip the wax (or sun screen!) from your car, that’s what you can use.

Now on to step two: wash the entire car with your favorite car soap, apply a good wax, put this event in the past.

If you don’t have proper auto wash soap simply use plain 'ol water (garden hose and a clean rag).

Every summer I hear (from the grandkids), “I went swimming and all my sun block came off!” Follow me?

Once clean and almost dry, recoat with good quality car wax (I use Meguires too) (IN the shade) and polish it up.

Wait 'till he’s 16 and he totals your new car…

Seriously, if a little patch of washed-off wax makes you this psychotic, you had no business having kids.

Throw a little wax on the patch you washed and let it go… he’ll be bouncing basketballs off it, throwing rocks at it, walking up the hood and leaping off the roof, slamming the door into parked cars, klunking it with shopping carts, tossing his duffle bag on top and dragging it off again, puking in the back seat, and all the other stuff kids do.

Spritzing a little sunscreen ain’t nuthin’. Besides, there’s nothing horrible in sunscreen. It’s just oily goop. If it would permanently hurt car paint, it would probably peel the skin off his bones.

Only use dishwashing liquid if you plan to repaint the car. Don’t even use it then.

Okay, everybody is going to accuse me of being a heretic, but here goes.

Ivory Liquid is fine. It’s the dishwashing detergents with the lemon juice added that might cause problems, and I’ve never seen any real evidence that even they really attack the clearcoat. I’ve been using Ivory Liquid on my cars for decades and the finish has always looked great, even after 17 years. I have never seen any real evidence that Ivory Liquid damages a finish.

The elbow grease may have affected some spots on the clearcoat surface, but a good coat of wax should bring it back into luster. You may have to keep it waxed now, but we all should be doing that anyway. You have not destroyed your finish.

If any of you out there can link me to evidence that Ivory Liquid will damage a finish that’s more than simply anecdotal, I’d love to see it.