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Does Hot Water Hurt Car Paint?


Concerned that using hot water to power wash or clean your car may harm the paint?

One of the main aspects of a vehicle’s maintenance is its thorough cleaning. It removes all the dust, smoke, and other particles from the outer body. 

Though it might seem simple, washing also requires following some guidelines. So, does hot water hurt car paint? What happens when you wash your car with hot water? Here is a short answer:

Hot water can damage and ruin the pigment if the paint is of average quality or sensitive to high temperatures. It can also start melting if the coatings are not applied properly.

I have tried to cover this important aspect in detail on hot water and its effect on car paint here.

Hot Water Cleans Dirt: But Is It Safe For Cars? – Expert Analysis

Hot water works wonder as cleaning when used in conjunction with certain vehicle wash chemicals. Use it minimally if at all possible when washing cars. But Is it safe for daily washing your cars? That’s the main thing we will discuss today.


You should avoid using hot water when washing your car for a variety of reasons. But here are the most significant ones.

Reason 1:

It is not recommended for use with a high-pressure washer since it might damage automobile paint more quickly than cold water, leading to rust.

Reason 2:

Some waxes and sealants can withstand the sun’s heat, but only to a limited extent. Sealers for vehicle paint can handle higher heat, but only up to a certain point. They will be destroyed by hot water, which will expose the exposed paint job on your vehicle.

Reason 3:

Winter washing your car with hot water might lead to glass shattering due to the significant temperature differential.

Reason 4:

Using hot water in your vehicle to wash buckets is challenging since your hands will burn. Your skin will be rapidly burned.

Reason 5:

Using hot water on microfiber cloths will lead them to melt. Therefore you’ll have to buy new wash mitts at a high cost.

Reason 6:

It’s possible that hot water can dissolve the glue on your vehicle’s stickers, causing them to fall off.

When it comes to cleaning automobiles, motorbikes, RVs, trucks, etc., I believe that these six reasons are more than sufficient.

Effect Of Using Hot Water On Car Paint

It is a common perception that hot water is best-suited if someone desires to achieve deep cleaning. High-temperature water indeed facilitates achieving deep cleaning.

hot water on car

In addition, those who reside in the cold regions experience snow for most of the year. It gets difficult to enter the car and start the ignition when the car is almost invisible due to heavy snow. They might think of a quick solution to this problem by melting the stored precipitation by throwing hot water.

However, these procedures are not suitable when it comes to washing a car. Generally, car paint is made of several components such as pigment, extender, binder, some volatile organic compounds, and material for providing a glossy finish.

There are high chances that some of these elements, including the binder or wax which holds other ingredients, cannot sufficiently resist contact with the boiling water.

Therefore, if someone pours an adequate quantity of hot liquid on a car’s outer surface, the binder loses its effectiveness, and the elements are exposed as it starts to wear off since it can no longer adhere to them.

One might face a worse situation in case the coatings have been applied poorly or the car has been on multiple trips with you and the paint job has become old.

Currently, several manufacturing companies prefer kinds of enamel paint that are highly resistant to wear from environmental conditions and heat.

As these formulations have more tolerance than other products that have average tolerance, they involve fewer chances of getting ruined. It is also beneficial to choose these paints due to the perfect regulation of temperature they provide during hot sunny days.

Indirect Effect of Hot Water On Paint And Nearby Parts

The contact with the hot water damages the pigment and adversely impacts the material beneath it, that is, metal. As metal has two main properties of elasticity and malleability in response to immense heat, it can be dangerous to target the metal body with a hot-water pipe.

If someone continues to do this, the metal will visibly deform and bend, causing a rough appearance and cracks in the shiny pigment above it. So, even if the paint is of premium quality, it will undoubtedly get affected as the surface it adheres to is no longer smooth.

Furthermore, if a person tries to melt the snow with hot water, one will likely have to pay more cash due to the damage. The paint will get ruined due to the sudden variation in temperature, the mirrors will crack, and the metal beneath might warp, which will reduce its strength.

Therefore, it is better to think of other possible ways to get your car on the track. One of them is using a suitable-sized torch as a heat source.

Using Hot Water To Remove The Dents

Among several popular troubleshooting methods to renew the car’s metal body by decreasing the dents is pouring boiling water. 

However, one should keep in mind that this method is only safe and non-risky if you want to correct the plastic parts of the body.

You can successfully work on the deformed plastic bumper of your automobile while protecting the metal part. I suggest looking out for other ways, such as using a Dremel tool and repainting later or a hot glue gun in case it is the paint and metal you are dealing with.

Bottom Line

I hope I have been able to provide sufficient information about the dynamics of utilizing a high-temperature water source on a car. 

You might not notice the damage at first since it can be minimal, but it will be noticeable after a few washing procedures, and the repair can cost you hundreds of dollars shortly. 

Therefore, I highly recommend using other options and alternatives in case your car’s metal surface has dents or you want to discard the snow.

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