decal on windshield

How To Remove Decals From Car Windows

Remember that decal that you thought looked so cool you just had to stick it on your car’s window? Days, weeks, months, or even years later, you’ve probably changed your mind about it. It’s time for the “shocker” sticker to go.

Most decals can be removed from automotive glass fairly easily. Make sure to clean the area first, then heat up the sticker. Once it’s soft, you can begin pulling at a corner until you can peel the whole thing off. You can remove glue residue with products like rubbing alcohol or Goo Gone.

There are several ways you can remove your car decals. If you take the right steps, you can carefully remove them without damaging your glass. 


Tips for removing car decals from glass

The age of the sticker you’re trying to remove will play a role in how you choose to remove it. A fairly fresh decal will likely peel right off with no extra work. One that’s been on there for a long time might require some effort.


Heat the sticker up first

The best way to increase your chances of an easy removal is to heat the decal up first. This will soften it and loosen up the adhesive. You can use the heat from a hair dryer or a hot air gun to weaken the glue on the decal.


Use a razor blade to carefully peel up a corner

The tip of a razor comes in handy at this point. Put the tip of a razor blade underneath one edge of the decal to get started. Then, gently push the eased part of the sticker against the razor blade. If the decal begins to peel at any time, reheat heat and begin peeling it from another edge.

It’s preferable to use a blade instead of your fingertips to remove the decal. Your fingers are more likely to bend the corners, making them harder to peel.


Wash the area with soapy water 

Get a clean sponge or cloth. Next, fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Wash the surrounding area and moisten the adhesive with a towel to allow it to retain water.

Repeat this process until you have immersed the entire adhesives in the solution. Then you can detach the glue using your fingertips, a plastic scraper, or a towel after saturating it. Wipe the window with water and a soft towel after removing the glue. 


Scrape the remaining glue with a razor blade or credit card

A credit card is a very useful tool in removing decals from your vehicle window. It’s perfectly safe to use and won’t scratch the glass. If you’re not confident enough to handle a razor blade, then it’s advisable you use a non-marring scraper like a credit card. 

However, keep in mind that using a credit card may take you extra time to remove the decal on your car window. But, it’s effective. Apply window cleaner to the decal and wipe the glass using a gentle chamois rag or microfiber towel. The glass cleaner will eliminate grime from the surface, allowing the card to glide smoothly across it.

Then, place the card at a 30-45 °angle at the outer edges of the decal. Use a moderate recurrent force to pull it inside toward the center. This force will make the decal covering gradually peel from the window. Rinse the spot once more with a glass cleaner and wash away any leftover glue after removing the decal. With a soft towel, rub the spot to make it seamless and dry.

If you aren’t happy with the results, step up to a razor blade. Make sure the glass is lubricated with a glass cleaner or you run the risk of scratching the window. 

In most cases, this will be enough to completely remove the decal and its remaining adhesive. 


Alternative methods for decal removal:

Here are a few other methods to try:


Apply rubbing alcohol

When peeling stickers from the window, rubbing alcohol is a wonderful product. Moreover, you can get it right at home. Using a paper towel or cotton balls, dab some rubbing alcohol on the residue and hold it in place. 

Allow for a while before removing the glue with a moist paper towel or cotton ball. Carefully remove the glue of the decal from the sides with a razor blade until it eventually falls off. Then wipe any residual glue remnants away with a clean rag.

If the residue isn’t easily removed from the above technique, using rubbing alcohol on the remaining glue will often do the trick.


Apply Goo Gone

You can also use Goo Gone, a cleaner available at most hardware stores. Its main function is to eliminate decals and adhesive from any object. Let the Goo Gone dissolve the enduring effect on the sticker by spraying it on and letting it sit for a while.

Carefully peel off the decal with a plastic scraper. Use an expired bank card if you lack a tool for removing the decal. After removing the decal, wipe any leftover debris with warm, soapy water and a towel.


Use WD-40

WD-40 is a domestic staple with several uses that keeping track of is difficult. Further benefits you may add to this continuous list include eliminating stickers and taking glue off metal surfaces. Use your fingernail or a plastic scraper to peel off the decal.

Slowly raise the edge of the decal with your fingertips, then apply a little dose of WD-40 or any other versatile lubricant right on the area. To avoid tearing the decal, spray it with lubricant many times while you remove it.

To remove the glue on the sticker, spray it with WD-40 and let it submerge for a while. Mildly erase the WD-40, residual decal, and weakened glue with a warm towel dampened with heated water.

Soak a towel in warm water to clean the WD-40 or any other lubricant with mild force.


Apply baking soda

Believe it or not, baking soda can be used for removing decals. Combine half a cup of regular cooking oil with some baking soda. To apply the mixture, whisk it together and drop it on the decal.

Allow it to absorb for a few minutes before removing the decal away from the sides. You can pull it away using a plastic card, a plastic scraper, or your fingers. Try to avoid using baking soda for colored glasses because it will ruin the color.


Use hairspray

As strange as it may appear, hairspray and razor blades are also a great combo for removing decals. Hairsprays possess a lot of oil for shine, and as usual, oils weaken the glue. Simply spray the decal with hairspray and set it aside for around five minutes.

To avoid ruining the glass and damaging the window, peel off the decal with a sharp, ideally brand-new razor blade after it has dried a little. Find your way through the decal from the edge to the center. If necessary, re-use hairspray to weaken the glue again. To erase the glue remnant, wash the area with any adhesive remover until there’s no debris.


Apply ice

A bag of ice and a razor blade is everything you need for this procedure. Place an ice bag onto the sticker. The glue will solidify and relax when it’s exposed to ice. This reduces any sticky effect and enhances the removal of the adhesive. The ice hardens the adhesive and can make it easier to chip it off.

Discard the ice and pull the sticker away with the razor blade. To avoid scratching the glass, keep the razor blade at a 45-degree angle and lubricated with glass cleaner. You should use a new blade because used razor blades may have contaminants like rust, which can damage the window irreparably.

decal on windshield

What makes car window decals harder to remove?

A car decal can be very hard to remove if it’s old and has been baked on by the sun. Sun-damaged stickers tend to want to come off in a million pieces and that can certainly be frustrating.

The area where you have the car decal can also be the reason. Considering glass is more resilient than paint, removing the decal from the body of your car is harder than removing it from the window. In fact, peeling it from paint is a delicate process because of the chance of creating scratches. 

Some people also find it hard to peel because they may be applying the product wrongly. Others even try to use their fingertips, razor blades, and plastic scrapers without cleaning solution. Using a liquid cleanser is very important in making the process easy. Applying ice or heat to the decals makes the removal much easier.


Can you reuse a sticker after removing it from a car window?

The type of decal you use has a significant impact on the possibility of reuse after removal. Paper-based decals are flimsy so, it’s likely you’ll have a minimal chance with them.

All of that adhesive you’ve been scraping off your window is supposed to be on the back of the sticker – so it won’t be sticking on a new surface any time soon. You’ll also damage the corners and edges by picking at them, making them unusable.

Plastic car inspection decals are a different story. They’re a more durable option so you can reuse them. You still need to be careful when removing them though so take your time.


Final Word

Despite the fact that decals serve aesthetic purposes, they’re bound to wear off at some point. This means removing them is inevitable. When removing decals, the aim is to do it carefully and easily without causing any damage to the window. If you’re not reusing your car decal, removing it with a razor blade, soapy water, and rubbing alcohol, is an excellent choice. 

The most important thing is to be patient. As soon as you get frustrated or start rushing, you’ll make things worse. So take your time, and peel away.

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