Does Shaving Cream Ruin Car Paint?

All the advertisements for shaving cream show you how to use it for shaving your face or legs. There are no advertisements to show you what else you can use shaving cream for, but somehow, humans are creative and have invented all sorts of ways to use shaving cream other than what it is intended for. Prank messages are often left in shaving cream on cars, but the cost of cleaning and repairing someone else’s joke be expensive. So does shaving cream ruin car paint?

Yes, shaving cream can ruin car paint, and the longer it stays on the car, the worse it gets! Wipe the shaving cream off as soon as possible to prevent the damage from getting worse. Shaving cream can cause permanent damage to your car’s paint job and may need professional repair.

While shaving cream has traditionally been used for all sorts of uses other than actually used as a shaving cream, which is its intended purpose, it should not be used on cars and other expensive toys, should it? Surely if shaving cream is strong enough to damage the paint on a car, it shouldn’t be used on your skin, either!

Why Does Shaving Cream Ruin Your Car Paint

The answer to this question is to be found in the chemical composition of the shaving cream. Shaving cream is a soap that includes a surfactant soap, which acts as an effective dirt remover without being corrosive.

However, this is not good news for the paint job on your car! The ingredients in the shaving cream will effectively strip the outer coat, the top lacquer, from the paint on the car. This will expose the paint underneath and allow it to oxidize and fade.

As a result, the paint that was under the shaving cream will appear dull and faded compared to the areas that the shaving cream did not touch.

If the shaving cream is left on long enough, it will even start to remove the actual paint from the metal of the car too.

Many people use shaving cream as an effective way to clean their jewelry. It will lift paint and other dirt from the metal, but it is not corrosive enough that it will cause damage the surface of the metal.

How Do You Get Shaving Cream On Your Car Paint?

This is a question that I’m sure every parent has asked their offspring at some time! Child drives off in parents clean, just washed and polished car, and returns at the end of the day/evening with a car covered in shaving cream! It could be worse, right!

Teenagers playing pranks on each other will often use shaving cream to write obscenities on the paintwork of their buddy’s car or cover the car with shaving cream to stick objects to the car.

This prank will quickly become an expensive joke if the shaving cream is not removed quickly enough to prevent damage to the paint job.

It is a tradition at a wedding ceremony to “decorate” the happy couple’s car with tin cans tied to the back bumper, and, you guessed it, cover the car with shaving cream. The happy couple becomes somewhat less happy when they try to clean the shaving cream from the car the next day, only to find that it has permanently marred the paintwork!

Keep your shaving cream away from your toddler! They may find the can and want to “help” mommy or daddy by cleaning the car with shaving cream! This may end up being possibly the most expensive car wash your car has ever received!

What Will Fix Your Car After Shaving Cream?

The quickest, most effective way to deal with shaving cream while it is still wet is to spray a soap solution over the offending shaving cream, let it sit for a short while, then rinse off very carefully.

Don’t scrape or pick off the shaving cream if it has hardened, as this will only cause more damage to the surface of your car. Wet the hardened shaving cream with water, followed by a gentle all-in-one wash using a soft-wash mitt or towel. Make sure to keep the surface of the car wet while washing in case there is any hardened shaving cream that you missed during the first shower.

If the shaving cream is left on for too long and hardens, then the chances of no damages are very slim! At worst, the clear coat on the car is damaged, in which case the car or damaged area will need a respray. If the clear coat has not been too badly damaged, a good quality wax should be able to cover the area if it is not too tarnished.

Shaving cream can even damage the paint under the clear top coat if left on for a few days. If you deal with the mess immediately and don’t leave it any longer once you have discovered it, it can be fixed! Using the correct products may be able to restore your car paint job back to its pre-shaving cream, pristine self!

The steps to assessing the damage and the corrective measures that you can take would be as follows.

  • Remove the shaving cream. If the shaving cream is still wet, rinse it off immediately with water, then wash the car with a car shampoo or car soap to make sure all the shaving cream residue is removed.
  • If the shaving cream has dried, wet the shaving cream down as much as possible to try and dissolve the mess. Warm soapy water may be your best option to remove the caked-on shaving cream.
  • Assess the damage. Once the shaving cream is removed, you can assess the damage and take further steps.
  • Polish the paintwork. If you can still see the area where the shaving cream was applied, try to buff the area with a very good quality car wax. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the container to the letter. It may take several coats of wax polishing to remove the damage.
  • Take it for a professional assessment. If you have gotten this far and the damage is still visible, then you are about at the end of the measures you can take to repair the damage yourself. Your next best course of action is to take your car to an autobody shop and get a professional assessment of the damage. The topcoat or lacquer coat may have been removed by the shaving cream, in which case the lacquer may need to be stripped from that panel of the car and re-applied.
  • The worst case. The worst-case would be that the paint under the topcoat has also sustained damage. This could mean that it will be necessary to repaint the entire panel and then apply a new topcoat. Depending on your make of car, this could be a relatively expensive undertaking.


The bottom line is shaving cream will ruin the paintwork on your car. Some shaving creams are worse than others, depending on their specific ingredients, but all shaving creams will cause some sort of damage to the paint on the car.

If you are looking to pull a prank on a friend or decorate a newly-weds car, rather use something other than shaving cream.

The cost to repair the damage can run into several hundred dollars and result in an insurance claim, in which case the insurance company may come knocking on your door to recover their costs should they find out that it was you who damaged the paint job on the car!

If any of your buddies are intending to use shaving cream to pull a prank on a buddy’s car, you now have the knowledge to warn them that it is not a good idea, and you can distance yourself from these activities if they decide not to heed your warnings!

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