How to Keep Spray Paints From Rubbing Off?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

After touching a spray-painted surface, have you ever gotten paint on your fingers? This is common when you use spray paint in a painting project.

However, due to specific variables, not all paints will rub off. Before discussing how to avoid rubbing off spray paints, it is pertinent to know what spray paint is.

What Does the Term “Spray Painting” Mean?

Spray paint is often referred to as aerosol paint. It is a type of paint stored inside a pressurized container and distributed by a valve that discharges a mixture of paint and a propellant, commonly compressed air pressured gas.

The result is a fine, smooth mist applied to a wide range of surfaces. Aside from using a paintbrush or a roller, spray painting is one of three basic ways of applying paint. It is generally faster, neater, and easier to produce a uniform coat.

Spray Painting
Spray Painting

Lacquer, enamel, and more names for these paints exist. In addition, pigments, binders, solvents, and additives are all present. When applying the paint, keep a space of 15-20cm between the sprayer and the object.

Types of Spray Paints

Latex acrylic, nitrocellulose lacquers, and bitumen are popular spray paints. Water-based paints include latex and acrylic. Acrylic paint contains chemical components; as a result, they have a higher level of flexibility than latex paint. On the other hand, latex paints are less expensive than acrylic paints.

The aerosol’s spray tip is between 80 and 120 mesh. Some models or brands offer higher mesh ranges for proper detailing, up to 220 mesh. This is a crucial point to remember regarding spray paint rubbing off.

Types Of Spray Paints
Types Of Spray Paints

Uses of spray paints

Spray paints are available in a wide range of textures and colors. You can use them for any DIY project, such as canvas painting. You can also paint on cardboard, fabric, wood, plastic, and paper. The paint color varies depending on its use, such as in exterior applications where natural light is present.

The most general characteristic of these paints is that they are unsuitable for creating a durable or long-lasting outcome. Creating murals and painting graffiti are two different uses for spray paint.

What Causes Spray Paints to Rub off?

Your spray paint may wipe off for a variety of reasons. The grit size of the nozzle is the first cause, as particles break up more when the grit size is smaller.

During the spraying process, it causes the paint to diffuse and become airborne. A bigger grit size allows for a more consistent finish and reduces the risk of “paint mist.”

Rubbing off can also occur when lacquer is used instead of latex or acrylic paints. On the other hand, lacquer may have less flexibility than these paints. As a result, the paint may peel from the surface when the weather changes.

Furthermore, applying lower-quality, less-pricey paint that may contain too many fillers can also cause.

Whatcauses Spray Paints Toruboff
What Causes Spray Paints to rub off

Here Are Some of the Most Popular Spray Paint Errors:

How many spray paint mistakes can one make? It’s usually trial and error with spray paint; sometimes, it does not flow immediately.

However, most spray paint mistakes can be fixed and avoided. To avoid committing any of these mistakes, learn the best ways to prevent them in the future by reading the following;


Poor or non-existent ventilation is one of the most typical concerns with spray paint. Spraying your object in a well-ventilated area is essential for getting the best out of your DIY spray-painting adventure.

One of the preferred places to spray paint is outside, where a moderate breeze will not interfere with the paint’s flow as it departs from the nozzle.

Many spray paints containing solvents, which are harmful to the human body when absorbed in large quantities, will need a soft but steady breeze. You’ll also want to wear the proper safety equipment, like protective gloves and a safety mask.


When you neglect the drying intervals on the spray paint bottle, the paint shrinks, fades, or wrinkles, which causes lifting. This happens when you apply a fresh coat of spray paint to an item before properly prepping it or curing it.

To fix lifting, remove the paint from the spot and sand it down. Using a primer might be among the list of things you might need to help the spray paint stick to the item’s surface. Then you need to reapply paint or finish to the targeted region afterward.

Ensure you provide enough drying time between coats to prevent this from occurring again. Prepare the surface well; this might take a long time and must not be hurried because it will only cause problems in the long term.

Finally, you should be certain to use the appropriate paint. While a person may be tempted to use spray paint because it is less expensive, high-quality paint like RAL color aerosols is better.

Dulling Gloss Coats

Gloss finishes are a terrific process for making your item look classy and elegant. Unfortunately, due to environmental conditions and the age of the coating, any finish might become dull with time.

Spray paint can suffer from premature dulling, commonly caused by moisture. Spray painting any item or surface in a humid or wet environment can damage the gloss coating’s appearance.

If an item, such as a metal, requires polishing, doing it too early can affect how glossy it remains. The appearance of a surface that has been improperly cleaned and contains dirt or dust particles can also be affected.

Flaking or Peeling

Peeling happens when the base coat, topcoat, or primer is sprayed and does not stick effectively. As a result, several layers of paint detach and peel away from each other.

Peeling seems to be a regular occurrence if the surface is incorrectly prepped. Most individuals fail to clean the surface post sanding thoroughly or after preparation.

Failure to do this can cause the coating not to adhere to the surface since it will not be able to contact the substrate. If that happens, we usually recommend stripping a region slightly larger than the damaged region back to the bare substrate, ensuring it does not occur again.

Ways to Avoid Rubbing off Spray Paint?

Ways To Avoid Rubbing Off Spray Paint
Avoid Rubbing off Spray Paint

To prevent spray paint from rubbing off, follow these instructions:

  • Use finer spray tips with water-based acrylic or latex paints.
  • Choose aerosol spray cans with more propellants where the temperature fluctuates a lot.
  • Keep it at room temperature to avoid lacquer coatings within the spray can.
  • For improved adhesion, use primer before spray painting.
  • Allow 24-48 hours for the paints to dry completely; this ensures that the paint remains on the surface.
  • Select a day when the weather is conducive for painting. Spray paints should never be used in extreme heat or cold.
  • Ensure the paint is of suitable thickness. It is not good to use very little or very thin paint.
  • A primer will help protect the spray paint by preventing cracks and water absorption.
  • Spray cans should not be kept in a refrigerator. Lacquer coatings may form inside the aerosol if stored in such conditions. It could result in clumps or grainy outcomes.

Final Thoughts

There’s no need to be concerned about spray paint peeling off. To improve the adhesion of the paints:

  1. Follow the directions above.
  2. Choose the correct grit size of the nozzle, use latex or acrylic paints, and apply primer first, followed by spray paint.
  3. Do not rush when painting; instead, allow plenty of time to dry.
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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