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How to: Prevent and Fix Dust
in a Vehicle Paint Surface

How can I remove dust in the paint on my car?

You’ve painted your auto, but there are dust particles in the paint. You can repair this by sanding and compounding or polishing the impacted area or, in really bad cases, by sanding and then refinishing it.

In this article, I’ll answer common questions about how to prevent dust contamination and eliminate it when it happens.

  • What is dust contamination?
  • What causes dust contamination?
  • How can I repair a surface that has dust contamination?
  • How do I prevent dust contamination?

What is dust contamination?

Dust contamination happens when small, irregular-shaped dust or dirt particles are trapped in auto paint.

What causes dust contamination?

There are several ways dust contamination can occur. The dust causing the contamination could be the result of:

  1. The surface wasn’t cleaned properly before painting
  2. The environment where the pain was applied was dirty.
  3. The air entering the spray booth was unfiltered or inadequately filtrated.
  4. Your work clothes were dirty or contained dust, lint, or fibers.
  5. Particles (dust) come from air supply lines that are in bad condition.
  6. You used a poor-quality masking paper.
  7. You used a dirty spray gun.
  8. You removed the vehicle from the spray booth before the finish hardened.

How can I repair a surface that is contaminated by dust?

There are two ways to fix a surface contaminated with dust. Depending on the severity of the contamination, you can:

  1. Sand the finish with 1200 or finer grit sandpaper, then compound and polish to restore the gloss.
  2. Sand down to a smooth surface and refinish.

How do I prevent dust contamination?

You can prevent dust from contaminating a paint finish by:

  1. Thoroughly blow off all dust from the working area, including the windows, door jambs, and hood. Use a tack rag to wipe the masking paper and the surface that will be painted.
  2. Maintain a CLEAN work area.
  3. Install proper air filters in the spray booth. Repair any tears or gaps in the spray booth.
  4. Wear a lint-free paint suit while applying paint.
  5. Use quality masking materials. Wicks found on newspaper can break away and blow into wet paint.
  6. Repair or replace defective air lines.
  7. Properly clean and maintain your spray equipment.
  8. Keep the vehicle in a clean environment until the finish is dust-free.

Are there other issues that could cause an imperfect auto paint surface?

Though similar in appearance, dust contamination is different from solvent popping.

  • In dust contamination, fine dust particles fall on a tacky surface and are encapsulated by the finish. The particles can be removed by sanding and polishing.
  • With solvent popping, pinholes or small craters appear even after sanding. Severe cases may require that you remove the affected film, then apply a new primer, seal, and recoat.

Taking these steps will keep dust from contaminating your paint finish.