When it comes to surfaces cleaning one thing comes first in mind, and that is Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA). Now, if you’ve noticed, we talk a lot about IPA on our articles because it’s basically one of the key components to perfectly clean a surface, before applying a ceramic coating, and today we’ll finally analyze what it is, what it can do, and many more!

What Isopropyl Alcohol Do?

Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), is generally used for removing oils, waxes or other non-polar compounds that ‘sit’ on the surfaces and can’t be removed by common washing practices.

Its’ name may sound ‘scientific’, but believe me, it’s really common amongst households. Actually, we all have products that contain IPA, such as window cleaning products.

In the automotive world, we use IPA all the time because it helps us prepare our surfaces pretty good, before applying wax, sealant, or ceramic coatings.

Image by AvalonKing

Removing Wax Or Sealant From Car With Isopropyl Alcohol

One of the most common practices of the IPA, is to remove wax or sealant from your car’s paint.

Cleaning your surface with it before applying car protection is crucial, especially if you have applied a protective coating in the past.

Bear in mind that if you have a proper car shampoo, it can be used as a wax-stripping method, meaning that you don’t need to wipe it down with IPA every time you wash it.

We suggest you use Isopropyl Alchohol before your polish or apply a protective coating.

Removing Haze Marks From Glass Surfaces with Isopropyl Alcohol

Removing Haze Marks From Glass Surfaces

Removing haze from glass surfaces, such as windshield and windows, is probably one of the most effective uses of isopropyl alcohol for consumers in my opinion. It’s totally safe and the outcome will really amaze you!

Many detailing sprays can leave strikes, due to their oils, but isopropyl alcohol can cut through all of that oil with ease and since you are not working on a clear coat, using IPA on headlights or glass surfaces can help you a lot.

Keep in mind though that it doesn’t remove oxidation marks, but this article will help you do that.

So, don’t be afraid and use it freely.

Removing Stickers With Isopropyl Alcohol

I hate it when I put some stickers on my car and when the time comes to remove them, the sticker residue will remain there like the mark of Cain (lucifer spoiler).

After going through hell with my stickers, i have found that Isopropyl Alcohol can remove the sticker residue because it penetrates the pores of the paper, thus completely removing it. I do not suggest you use highly-chemical products because they contain acetone, and believe me, you really don’t want acetone to be anywhere near your precious surfaces.

How To Maintain A Ceramic Coating

Headlight Lens Restoration 

IPA can’t restore a headlight, same as a headlight restoration kit, but it can be used between stages to eliminate dust. You can start the restoration process with a 300-400 grit sandpaper, and once the white dust comes off, you’ll know it’s time for the alcohol.

Once you complete the restoration process, any remaining compound, polish or dust can be easily removed by the Isopropyl Alcohol.


Removing Polish With Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a great way to remove polish. For example, if you polish a surface with a supercut compound, a small amount will remain on the surface. Even if you wipe it down with a microfiber towel, it won’t do the job.

Also, you can use the IPA to check if the job is done correctly. One or two drops will do the trick.

Can Isopropyl Alcohol Damage Paint?

If you make the proper solution with the correct ratios, there will be no problem but if you use an 80% concentration? Yeap.

That being said, many pros will tell you that if you have recently painted your car, it’s not a good idea toy use IPA. This can cause swelling or soften the clear coat.

Now, if you mix it with water, it won’t do the damage that many people say. It’s just a drama man.

Keep In Mind Though

  • Isopropyl Alcohol is a great choice for beginners and it’s really cheap, while it can be found in almost any store. The tricky part is to mix it properly with water.
  • Do not use undiluted isopropyl alcohol because it’ll destroy the clear coat over time.
  • Use it only when needed.
  • You don’t have to apply force when you wiping with IPA.
  • Purchase a spray bottle and distilled water to use with the alcohol

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Constantine Stephan

Constantine Stephan is the Founder and Chief Editor of Nanex.

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