How to Remove Stickers from a Car (Without Damaging the Paint)

How to Remove Stickers from a Car (Without Damaging the Paint)Once upon a time, you wanted to advertise your love of a favorite band or show off a fun slogan with a bumper sticker. Things change though, and now you want that sticker off your vehicle. You’ve tried to peel the sticker the old-fashioned way, but it’s not budging. How can you get rid of the sticker without ruining your vehicle’s paint job?

To strip a car of a sticker and maintain the paint, do the following:

  • Make sure the area around the sticker is clean
  • Warm up the sticker using a blow dryer
  • Begin peeling while the sticker is still warm
  • Apply distilled vinegar or a glue remover if there’s any leftover residue

What if you have an expired vehicle inspection sticker on your windshield? What should you do about that? Should you ever use WD-40 to remove a sticker? Keep reading, and we’ll answer all those questions and more in this article!

How To Remove Stickers From A Car While Keeping The Paint On

From reading our blog, you know how to remove tree sap from your car without wrecking the paint job, but what about that old bumper sticker or decal? Let’s elaborate more on the steps we touched on in the intro so you know just what to do.

Clean Around The Sticker

Debris and dirt could have caked on where the sticker is, getting caught on the adhesive. If you have to rub at the sticker at any point in the removal process (which is quite likely), the debris and dirt could scratch up your car’s exterior.

To prevent that, fill a bucket with water and dish soap. Then, using a sponge or a soft cloth, clean both the sticker and its perimeter, going a good distance away from the sticker to make sure as much of your working surface as possible is clean.

Warm Up The Sticker

Adhesive is pretty tough, but you’re tougher. To break down the adhesive qualities of your sticker, move your car somewhere close to a power source (or hook up an extension cord). Then plug in a hairdryer or blow dryer, and apply the heat directly on the sticker for a minute or so.

Avoid using a heat gun because it gets too warm. Plus, you could ruin your car’s paint job without meaning to.

Begin Peeling The Sticker

The sticker is hot, but it won’t be forever. So you want to work fast. With an expired credit card (or a related card you no longer use), scrape at the sticker. You want to skip the razor blades here, even if they’re appropriate for scraping stickers off your windshield. All it takes is scratching a little too hard and you’ve made a noticeable blemish in your car’s paint.

Clean Up The Residue

The warmed sticker should have come off with little difficulty, but if it didn’t, repeat the above steps. While the sticker is now gone, a mess remains. The sticky residue can come off with white distilled vinegar and a soft cloth. There are also plenty of glue removal products that we’ll discuss shortly.

How To Remove Stickers From A Car’s Windshield

There are many stickers you could put on your vehicle’s windshield. Again, bumper stickers are right at home here, as are parking permit stickers and vehicle inspection stickers. Whether you grew out of the sticker or it’s expired and no longer applicable, it doesn’t belong on your windshield.

The question becomes, how do you go about taking it off? You don’t want to follow the exact same steps as above since you’re removing the decal from a different surface (glass instead of metal). Here’s what you should do.

Window Cleaner

Start with a window cleaner like SprayWay. Apply the cleaner around the surface of the sticker, making sure it’s quite moist. Then, with a razor blade, carefully begin to pick away at the sticker until you can peel it off.

Window Cleaner on amazon

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Ice Pack

If you don’t have any window cleaner handy, you can always use a more common household item: an ice pack. By cooling the sticker over several minutes, the adhesive should be ready to come right off with the assistance of a razor blade.

Goo Gone

Some drivers also swear by Goo Gone, a product designed specifically for removing stickers and the gunk they often leave behind. You want to follow the usage instructions for getting your windshield sticker off, including spraying the product, waiting, and then peeling the sticker.

Goo Gone on amazon

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Rubbing Alcohol

If you’re still looking for yet another means of getting that pesky, stubborn sticker off, rubbing alcohol works just about as well as the other options here. Again, you want to make sure you wait a few minutes between application and peeling so the alcohol can soak in and do its job.

How Do You Remove A Sticker That Won’t Come Off?

Okay, so you tried the above methods and none of them worked. You’re not sure if you just didn’t use the product correctly or whether you have a sticker that’s holding on for dear life. But either way, it’s problematic. You still want this sticker gone from your car or truck, but you’re out of ideas.

Don’t give up yet. There are still plenty of other methods you can try. Let’s talk about them now.

Baking Soda

The first of these involves baking soda. You probably already have some of this in your pantry anyway, so get it out and combine it with cooking oil. You want to mix half a cup of the oil with about as much of the baking soda.

Next, take the mixture, dip a paper towel in (dry), and rub at the sticker. It should come off within a few minutes without the need for a razor blade or credit card.

Hot Water

When we say hot water here, we mean boiling, so be careful! Heat up your water, transport it to a bottle, and then stir in some liquid dish soap. You can wear gloves if you feel more comfortable.

Next, take the bottle and shake it so the ingredients mix. Then douse the sticker in the hot water/soap. The adhesiveness of the sticker should begin to loosen up on its own just by pouring water on it, but if it doesn’t, then repeat the process.

Window Detergent

Spray-on window detergent (not the tablets) can also come to your rescue. Like with everything else so far, apply the product, let it sit for a few minutes, and then try scraping and peeling the sticker away.

Through all these methods, make sure you’re careful, concerted, yet gentle with your movements. You don’t want to accidentally crack your windshield by putting too much elbow grease in!

Will WD-40 Remove Stickers?

You have some WD-40 handy. Although it’s made for cleaning grease, lubricating metal parts, and getting stuck hinges and parts to move again, you wonder if it could help with your sticker situation as well.

Yes, it can, but WD-40 should be a last resort. Your sticker should be at least somewhat removable, so if it’s not, maybe start with window detergent or Goo Gone. Then you can move on to the WD-40.

Once you can get the sticker partway off your windshield or even your car’s bumper (or elsewhere on the exterior), apply some WD-40 to the sticker. Wait at least three minutes for the product to work. From there, a semi-wet cloth should be all you need to clear the sticker from your car. Yes, that’s right, no more need to peel and pick with your fingers!

WD-40 on amazon

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Conclusion

Once you slap a decal or sticker on your car, removing it can be a major pain. If the sticker is on your car’s bumper or elsewhere on the exterior, then it’s important to take time and care to avoid ruining the paint job. Don’t use razors, abrasive cloths, or harsh products, as these can all damage the paint.

You have a little more leeway when trying to peel an old sticker off your windshield, as you can scrape with a razor. Products like WD-40, Goo Gone, and even household pantry staples such as baking soda and vinegar can all help you swiftly remove the sticker and clean the offending adhesive residue.

Best of luck removing that pesky sticker!

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