There are a variety of reasons stickers or decals are placed on your vehicle and on car windows. In most cases, these are the work of children or people who stick state park registration stickers. As we all know, stickers are easier to put on rather than to take off. Everyone can relate to the frustration on how to remove a car window sticker or decals. It often starts to come off on its own, but if you pull hard, it ends up breaking into ragged shreds and pieces.
Types of car stickers
However, car window stickers and decals don’t just end at the rear window (aka backlighting). Dealerships often place price stickers on the windshield (which must be removed before driving). Other stickers, like parking tickets or highway maps, often end up on the inside of the windshield. Some people even put tint strips on top of their windshields to block out bright sunlight. (Always check the legality of state laws before putting anything on your windshield.)
Small children are sometimes seen building decal assemblies on the rear (side) windows, which is particularly common on trucks and SUVs. However, apart from cartoon characters, stickers are rarely seen on the side windows as they are usually reinforced with rear glass.
Whether it’s a football team logo you’re no longer interested in or the melted residue of an outdated tax sticker, this easy tutorial will show you how to completely remove every trace of that frustrating sticker.
Decal and sticker removal tools:
Before we talk about the best techniques and methods to remove decals and stickers from car glass, we need to talk about the tools that you will need for the removal process. Using the right tools helps make this a quick, easy, and painless project.
Towels are not just towels. For best results, use “store” towels. These towels are more absorbent and generate less lint.
A good quality, clean microfiber cloth will help ensure your glass is polished to a crystal clear finish.
A high quality glass cleaner is essential. A spray cleaner makes the process easier. Be sure to use a formula specifically for automotive use so you don’t risk damaging window seals and weather stripping.
An adhesive remover will help break the bond between the label and the glass.
This is the main tool you will need to lift and remove the decal from the glass.
How to remove stickers and decals from the window of your car
Maybe your child has outgrown their etiquette phase, maybe your stick-doll family got a divorce, or maybe it’s time to sell your vehicle. Whatever the reason, we’re here to help you safely and effectively remove those stickers.
Sticker removal methods:
Here are several methods to remove the stickers from your car window:
The razor blade method:
A razor blade is the easiest and most effective way to remove stickers.
- Start with a new, clean, unused razor blade, the kind used on box cutters. Dirt or rust on the blade can scratch the glass. Also clean the glass thoroughly with automotive glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and prevent scratches.
- Next, apply a generous amount of glass cleaner to the decal or sticker area. The glass cleaner acts as a lubricant to help the razor blade glide across the glass more easily.
- Hold the blade against the glass at a 45-degree angle and slide it toward the label. Start at the outer corners of the decal or sticker and work your way to the center. The razor blade separates the adhesive backing from the glass.
- After most of the sticker is peeled off, wipe the sheet clean, spray the area again and make another pass to remove any remaining adhesive.
- Flip the microfiber cloth over, apply a small amount of glass cleaner and wipe down the area one last time.
- Flip the cloth over again and polish the glass to a high shine.
FYI: Never use this method on the inside of auto glass if window tint has been applied as damage is likely.
The adhesive remover method:
If the idea of putting a wiper blade on your car window intimidates you, then this method may be a better option for you. However, keep in mind that it is not that simple. Instead of scraping off the sticker, you’ll be dissolving the adhesive, which can become a sticky mess.
- Start with an adhesive remover like Goo-Gone or something similar. Read the label to make sure it’s safe for use in automotive applications and won’t harm trim, paint, or tint.
- Clean the glass with automotive glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to remove dirt and grime.
- Use the adhesive remover in the method according to the guidance from the manufacturer. Typically, the product is applied liberally to the sticker and left to work for 5-10 minutes.
- Use a non-damaging plastic scraper to scrape off the label once the adhesive remover has softened it.
- If you don’t have a plastic scraper available, use a folded paper towel to rub the decal, starting at one corner and working your way to the center.
- Repeat steps 2-4 until the sticker and the rest of the glue is gone.
- Apply auto glass cleaner to your microfiber cloth and wipe down the area again.
- Turn the cloth over and polish the glass to a high shine.
Step 1: Clean the glass with an ammonia-free glass cleaner
- Dust and dirt can scratch windshield glass, so the first step is to remove it from the surface you’ll be working on.
- Spray the taped area with glass cleaner. You’ll want to make sure you get an ammonia-free glass cleaner, as ammonia can dry out the rubber around the windshield and cause damage.
Some brands without ammonia that you can get:
- Uline Glass Cleaner
- Windex® Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner
- spray glass cleaner
Clean the area with a cloth or microfiber cloth. The microfiber material will not scratch the surface or leave fibers behind.
Remove adhesive residue from car window.
Even after a sticker has been successfully removed from a car window, residue may remain. This is just residual glue that can be wiped off effortlessly. Once the decal or sticker has been peeled off, the following procedure will show you how to remove the decal or sticker residue from the car.
Use of nail polish remover
Rub some paper towels over the glue residue after soaking it in nail polish remover. Gently rub the area until it gets wet. Use the utility knife held at an angle to scrape the greasy residue off the glass. If necessary, repeat the process. Once finished, wipe off any residue with clean water and a damp cloth.
Using the heat method
The adhesive that holds the decal or sticker to the car window can be softened and removed with heat. This procedure is perfect if you don’t want to use cleaning chemicals on your car’s auto glass. Blow a hair dryer or heat gun over the label as often as possible for a minute or two. After heating the label, quickly remove the corner of the label and gently peel it off the glass surface. Before peeling off the glue, make sure it has cooled down. Clean up any residue with warm water and microfiber towels.
With the cold method
This decal removal approach is really simple and straightforward. All you need are a few ice cubes and a little patience. To cool and solidify the decal or sticker, fill a ziplock bag with ice cubes and place directly on sticker or decal. This will make the glue less sticky and sticky. Pick up the ice pack and gently scrape off the label with a razor blade. Be careful to hold the blade at an angle to avoid scratching the glass.
Whether it’s a dealer tag or a kid’s sticker, car window stickers and adhesive can be quickly removed with the right method and a little patience. After removing those unattractive stickers from your car window, use the best car window cleaner to finish the job.
Or you can simply take your car to the nearest car wash where professionals will take care of all cleaning methods with the right products. They ensure the optimal health of your car’s interior and exterior appearance while doing their job. Reduce the risk of unwanted scratches that you may inadvertently cause when you follow a do-it-yourself approach to removing stubborn stickers from your car window.