Remove Vinyl Decals from a Car Window
Vinyl decals are designed to stick to glass and maintain their hold for a long time. Unfortunately, this means that their removal can be difficult and time consuming. Removing the decal too aggressively can result in damage to your window. With the proper products and methods, you can remove the decal as well as any adhesive residue without damaging your car window.
Scraping the Decal Off
- Heat it with a hairdryer. Heat will loosen the adhesive behind the decal and make it easier to remove. Use a hairdryer on the high heat setting. Hold it over decal until you start to see the edges fray.
- You can also use a heat gun. These are used to dry glue and can be found at any home improvement store. They can burn hotter than a hairdryer and thus are better for large or particularly stubborn decals.
- Use a plastic blade. Most home improvement stores sell plastic blades that are specifically designed for removing decals and other flat objects that are sealed with adhesives. The plastic blades will minimize the risk of damage to the window.
- Slowly slide the blade under the edges and chip away at the adhesive to separate the decal from the window. Try to hold the blade parallel to window to minimize the risk of damaging the glass.
- Look for the “Li’l Chizler” which is specifically designed for removing adhesives from glass.
- You may be able to peel the decal off once you have the edge lifted. Older decals will be more likely to split into little bits and generally are more difficult to remove.
- Use a plastic card. Use a credit card or library card if you don’t have a plastic blade available. Chip away at the adhesive by holding it parallel and slowly sliding it under the decal.
- Use a razor blade. A razor blade is the best tool for removing the adhesive but is also the most likely to risk damaging the glass. Therefore, it should be a last resort is plastic scrappers don’t work. Be particularly careful to hold the blade parallel to the glass and chip at the residue with small strokes.
- If the blade becomes dull or doesn't seem as effective, switch to a new blade instead of turning it over.
Removing Adhesive Residue
- Spray residue remover. Whether you peel the decal off or scrape it off, it is likely to leave behind adhesive residue. Adhesive residue removers are spray-on chemicals that are designed to break down adhesive reside and can be found at any home improvement store. You can also use a citrus-based glass cleaner.
- After you have applied the chemicals to the residue, wait five minutes and then try to wipe away the adhesive with a paper towel.
- Both options are non-toxic but you should still avoid direct contact with skin.
- Use a stripe eliminator. If you are dealing with a particularly large decal or have difficulty removing spraying off the residue, you may want to invest in a stripe eliminator. This is a smooth rubber wheel that attaches to any power drill and can be used to remove adhesive. A stripe eliminator attachment can be found at any home improvement store for roughly $20.
- Wipe down with a rag. Remove any chemicals or remaining reside with a lint-free cloth. Dab the area gently to remove all liquids without leaving streaks.
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