Skip to Content

How to Remove Paint Transfer From a Car – Easy Home Remedy

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

When we bought this house, we were aware that it had two single garage doors (instead of a double) but never thought much about it… until we tried to pull a van into it!

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

This is what it looks like when I’m trying to pull the van into the garage.

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

There is exactly 7 inches of clearance total or 3.5 inches on each side.

Remember those cone exams when you took your driving test? Remember how stressful it was? I get to do that every day!

Since there is a structural support beam in the center of our garage, there’s nothing we can do to change the situation (without costly structural changes to the house).

Imagine this scene… I’m running late. I buckled the kids into their car seats as quickly as I could. Someone starts screaming about wanting a snack.

I start pulling out of the garage and SCRAAAAAPE, I hear the side of the van scrape on the garage. Have you ever gotten a paint transfer scuff on your car from rubbing it against something? It’s no fun!

Remove Paint Transfer Scuffs

What Are Paint Transfer Scuffs?

Paint transfer is the term used when paint from another object (or car) transfers onto your car’s paint. This can happen when another car’s door is bumped into yours or when you scrape your car against something like a parking bumper, pole, or a garage.

Can Remove A Paint Scuff From a Car With a Magic Eraser?

While I love to use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, I would absolutely NOT use them on the paint of a car. Magic Erasers are too harsh for the paint of a car.

Magic Erasers are great for cleaning plastic car interiors like cupholders, though.

How To Remove Paint Transfer Scuffs

The bad news is that I know way too much about paint transfer scuffs. The good news is that I get to share what I learned about removing those paint transfer scuffs with you!

It’s shockingly cheap and easy to remove those ugly scuffs.

Currently, on the driver’s side, we had a large amount of white paint transfer, as well as a small dent. The passenger side also has some paint transfer with a scrape that goes deeper into my car’s paint.

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

Paint transfer marks on the driver’s side (and also a small dent)

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

Paint transfer scuffs on the passenger’s side with a deeper scrape.

There are a variety of commercial auto buffing compounds that you can purchase, but I wanted to see if I could use a cheap and easy method first.

I had heard that toothpaste can work on paint transfers because all kinds of toothpaste are mildly abrasive.

Whitening toothpaste is usually recommended for these kinds of jobs because it is slightly more abrasive than regular toothpaste (that’s how it whitens your teeth!).

Remove Paint Transfer Scuffs

I dug around in my basket of toiletry samples that I keep around for guests or traveling and found two kinds of toothpaste: regular Crest and Aquafresh “extreme clean whitening”. I grabbed an old rag towel and got to work!

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

My supplies: toothpaste and a rag.

How to Remove Paint Transfer Scuffs from a Car

5-Minute Car Cleaning Hack for Removing Paint Scuffs

Learn how to remove paint transfer scruffs from your car with things you have around your house.

Prep Time 1 minute
Active Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • Toothpaste, preferably whitening


  • 2 clean rags


  1. Moisten a rag so it's a bit damp.
  2. Put a small dab of toothpaste onto the rag.
  3. Scrub the paint transfer scuff. You have to put a bit of muscle into it!
  4. When the paint scuff is gone, wipe off the toothpaste with a second clean, wet rag.


I did find that the whitening toothpaste worked better than the non-whitening. If you only have regular around, though, it can still work. It might just take a bit longer.

Results: Removing Paint Transfer Scuffs

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

Driver’s side after scrubbing with toothpaste


How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

Passenger’s side after scrubbing with toothpaste

As you can see, they’re still not perfect because there is a dent and a deeper scratch still remaining. I’m much happier with how it looks now, though.

Most people wouldn’t be taking close-up pictures of my old van and aren’t going to see these minor imperfections.

I may try some home solutions for popping out the dent, but it’s a tricky one because of the location and curve of the metal.

Here’s some side-by-side comparison photos before and after my toothpaste cleaning:

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

How to paint transfer scuffs from a car

I am very happy with the results! My old van is looking much nicer now. Knowing how to remove paint transfer scuffs won’t prevent me from doing it again, but at least I know how to fix the problem!

If you’re looking for more ways to save on car care, check out this post about the best place to buy a car battery!

How to Remove Paint Transfer Scuffs

Do you have any paint transfer scuffs on your car that could use the toothpaste treatment? Please comment below.5-Minute Car Cleaning Hack for Removing Paint Scuffs

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 21st of October 2021

Interesting! I'll try this! Thanks.


Saturday 11th of September 2021

This really works! We had the exact same situation after my wife reversed our black Acura MDX out of the garage and scratched all over the driver side fender, almost like the pictures in this article. I tried washing with car wash soap and rubbing it, etc., but it didn't do anything. Then I read this article and tried the toothpaste method. It completely removed the cream paint. All it took was about 5 minutes of rubbing. I used Crest 3D White.


Friday 13th of August 2021

I was backing out of my garage. I tapped the side of my car’s front fender. I only got the car in May. I was terrified. Then I read the article about how to get paint transfer off your car. I was skeptical. I lost a whole nights sleep. I didn’t want to report this as an accident. Next day I went to the supermarket and bought extra whitening tooth paster and two towels. I parked in a shady area of the parking lot and started on my car. To my absolute surprise it worked. You can’t even tell that anything had happened. I live with my sister and I knew she would go nuts over this. Now, I don’t have to say a word.


Thursday 13th of May 2021

This was a lifesaver after my fender bender, thank you so much! I couldn't believe it worked as well as it did.


Friday 6th of November 2020

This just SAVED MY LIFE!!! I’m currently driving a rental car and had scraped a wooden fence. After I finished having a heart attack, I realized that it was just paint transfer. I just tried your advice in a Walmart parking lot, and it’s GOOD AS NEW! I wish I could include the before and after pics. Bless you!!!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Instructions