Under most circumstances the TotalBoat Aluminum Boat Etch Wash is only applied for a few minutes, then completely rinsed away with plenty of fresh water. The acid in the etch wash does have the ability to damage or remove certain paints if it is left on the painted surface for long enough. For best results, avoid getting the etch wash on painted surfaces, and work diligently. Under normal use, the etch wash should not be allowed to sit on any surface for long enough to cause damage to paints, without being rinsed off. Do not allow the etch wash to dry. As soon as each area has been cleaned and etched, rinse with plenty of water. Testing in a small, inconspicuous location will allow you to determine if the etch wash will have any effect on surrounding paints.