How to remove stickers from car windows

How to remove stickers from car windows

If you put stickers on your car,

whether on the glass or the bumper, sooner or later there will come a time when you will want to remove them. Maybe it’s a bumper sticker with a message you know longer identify with or a political campaign sticker for an election long past.

Even if you still like the stickers you put on your car years ago, chances are they are looking pretty bad after years of sun and rain. Even those stickers that go inside the window glass get faded and start deteriorating in the ultra-violet light of the sun. Everyone has seen unsightly stickers like this, and even worse, the partially-peeled off ones that the owners attempted to remove without proper tools and techniques.

Actually, it’s quite simple to remove stickers from a car’s glass, chrome bumpers, or painted surfaces. The first step is to go to the hardware store or a paint store and buy two items: a razor blade scraper with a straight edge and a handle to safely hold it, and a small container of denatured alcohol. These items and perhaps a clean rag or two are all that you need.

Stickers on the glass are the easiest to remove. The razor blade scraper will take them right off, and will not scratch the surface of the harder glass. There will probably still be some residue after all traces of the sticker are removed, and that is where the denatured alcohol comes in. Dab some on a rag and use it to scrub away the glue residue. That’s all there is to removing stickers from any kind of glass.

Getting old stickers off of a painted surface is another matter altogether. The razor blade scraper will work, but you must be very careful or you will take off a layer of paint as well. The key is to hold the scraper at a low angle and work on small areas of the sticker at a time, starting with the corners.

If you can slide the blade carefully between what is left of the sticker and the painted surface, you might be able to peel at least part of it up. Relatively new stickers come off with ease and can sometimes be peeled up in one piece. The older the sticker, the harder it will be to remove. You might have to remove it in tiny bits, alternately scraping with the razor blade and scrubbing with denatured alcohol to loosen the glue. Denatured alcohol is an excellent all-around solvent that is mild enough not to damage paint.

Stronger solvents such as acetone would work faster, and are okay on glass, but might dull the paint finish permanently. Some solvents might even remove paint and ruin the finish. So no matter how resistant the sticker and residue are to removal, don’t be tempted to try anything but denatured alcohol.

Once all stickers and their residue have been removed, wash the car with soap and water. The alcohol should have evaporated by now anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to wash it off. Given the difficulty of removing really old stickers from a painted surface, you might want to limit future stickers to the glass or replace them after a year or so before they start to deteriorate.

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