Car stickers have been around for a long time. They emerged in the 1940s as promotional labels placed on car bumpers. In 1958, the Automobile Information Disclosure Act introduced window stickers, commonly known as “Monroney labels,” or dealer stickers, to provide basic information about new vehicles displayed for sale. Today, they have evolved to include parking permits, inspection stickers, membership labels, and of course, decorative decals.
But with time, permits expire, trends go out of style, and vinyl decals will eventually fade. Needless to say – you’ll have to remove the sticker at some point. And while most stickers are designed to peel off neatly, it is not unusual for their adhesive to break down and become difficult to remove after a few years. Keep reading as we discuss the different methods to remove stickers from your car window without damage.
11 Ways to Remove Sticker From Car Window Without Damage
Before attempting any of the methods discussed below, you first want to clean the sticker and the area around it. This eliminates the dirt and debris that can scratch the glass when peeling off the label.
Glass cleaners would do, but since the solution could spill onto your paintwork, you should use an ammonia-free cleaner. Either Windex Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner or Sprayway Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner would make a great choice. You can also use any other ammonia-free cleaner or clean it with soap and water.
1. Spray Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol, otherwise known as denatured alcohol, is a sure-shot way to easily remove stickers and adhesive residue from car windows.
Pour some rubbing alcohol around the edges to get it under the label, and leave it for some minutes to dissolve the glue. Then try peeling the label by hand or use a plastic card to scrape it off. Removing the sticker should be pretty easy once the alcohol has dissolved the adhesive. Or you may have to pour on some more alcohol.
Once you’ve removed the label, soak a dry paper towel or microfiber cloth in rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe clean the remaining adhesive.
2. Use Warm Water
Although not the most effective method, warm water can also help dissolve the adhesive preventing the sticker from coming off. However, you want to be sure that the water is warm and not hot, as rapid temperature changes in auto glass can cause it to crack.
Using a bowl, douse the label with warm water a couple of times. For stickers pasted from inside the window, you can soak a microfiber towel in warm water and use it to rub the sticker. This should help soften the adhesive, after which you can peel off the label. However, the chances of this method working are hinged on how long the label has been on the glass.
3. Use Soapy Water
Another effective way to remove a headstrong label on your auto glass is by using soapy water. Start by peeling off the label. Try to peel off as much as you can, leaving the adhesive backing and the tough portion of the sticker. Once you’ve done this, mix warm water and a little bit of dish soap or liquid detergent (either one is fine) inside a bucket.
Using a wet rag, soak the remaining sticker and adhesive residue with the solution. Once you’ve completely soaked the entire surface with the soap-water solution, use a rag or plastic scrapper to remove all the residue. Then you can continue to wipe the glass surface with water and dry it with a cloth.
4. Use Window Cleaning Detergent
You can also take off stickers from your auto glass using window cleaner. Almost all window cleaners contain chemicals that can dissolve adhesives. Spray the window cleaner on the label and leave it for some minutes to soak. Then get a razor blade or plastic card to scrape it off.
After removing the label, spray the surface area again and wipe it clean with a microfiber towel or dry cloth.
5. Apply Adhesive Removers
Adhesive remover, otherwise known as an adhesive cleaner, is the quickest way to remove stubborn stickers from any part of your vehicle. As the name suggests, an adhesive remover is a formulation made to break down adhesives and glue for easy removal.
While we recommend Goo Gone, 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner would also get the job done. Spray the adhesive remover on the label and leave for a few minutes to dissolve the glue. Once the solution works its magic, peeling off the sticker should be straightforward. Then you can proceed to clean off the sticky residue from the window.
6. Use a Mix of Baking Soda & Cooking Oil
Another method that can be used to remove window stickers is to use baking soda mixed with cooking oil. While this method is totally harmless, it is not advisable if you have window tints installed, as it could damage the tint. Mix half a cup of cooking oil with some baking soda. Apply the mixture and wait till it dissolves the glue before attempting to remove the sticker. You can use a plastic scrapper or razor blade for the removal, whichever one works for you.
7. Try Acetone Like Nail Polish Remover
You can also get rid of stickers using something as simple as nail polish. Acetone-based nail polish remover is strong enough to dissolve sticker adhesives. But they also contain strong chemicals that can damage your paint job. So, when using Acetone-based nail polish remover as a sticker remover, you must exercise extreme caution and limit to only windows or windshields.
After peeling off the label, rub the nail polish remover on the residue. Using a cotton ball or rag, try to get the acetone under the sticker to soften the adhesive before scraping off the residue using a blade or plastic scraper. Clean any residue left behind using a damp cloth.
8. Apply WD-40
Using WD-40 multipurpose lubricant is another way to remove stickers. Besides containing anti-corrosive properties and being a good lubricant, it is also an excellent glue remover. Using a plastic scrapper or razor blade, peel off the sticker leaving the difficult part. Spray WD-40 on the residue and leave it to soak for a while. Peel the residue and clean the area with a paper towel to remove any product or residue left behind.
9. Try Using Vinegar
Vinegar is yet another non-toxic method for removing stickers from car glass. The usefulness of something as basic as a bottle of white vinegar in your kitchen cupboard cannot be contested. However, using the vinegar at full strength is unsafe for your vehicle’s clear coat and could cause it to fade. You can check out our step-by-step guide on how to fix peeling clear coat.
Apply the vinegar on the window sticker using a dry rag, carefully covering the entire sticker. Allow the vinegar to do its job for a few minutes. Use a scraper or razor blade to gently remove the sticker. Once you’re done removing the sticker and glue residue, rinse with water to wash away the vinegar from the surface.
Again, undiluted vinegar should be restricted to only your car’s windshield or window.
10. Use a Heat Gun
Using a heat gun is one of the safest methods to remove a sticker without damaging it. You can also use a hair blow dryer if you don’t have a heat gun. But always remember to regulate the heat because rapid temperature change can cause the glass to crack.
Set the temperature to medium heat and evenly distribute the heat throughout to soften the adhesive moving from the middle to the edges. Start peeling from one corner using a razor blade or plastic scraper. Continue the process until the label comes off. Repeat the entire process to remove the remaining residue and wipe the surface area using a glass cleaner.
11. Leave an Ice Pack on the Stickers
Our last but not least tip on how to remove window stickers is to use an ice pack. Research and tests have shown that cold harden sticker adhesives, making them much easier to peel off. The ice-chilling effect raises the viscosity of the bond to the extent that it loses its grip.
To begin, place the ice pack on top of the sticker. Then use a razor blade to peel off the stickers. However, you have to be mindful of the blade so as not to scratch the window or, even worse, cut yourself.
Can You Remove a Sticker Without Damaging it?
Yes, it is possible, but there are some tamper-resistant stickers that break apart when removed and cannot be re-used. Your safest bet is using a heat gun, which still requires extra caution.
Set the heat gun to medium heat and run it through the sticker several times from a few inches away to soften the adhesive. Then try peeling off the sticker using a plastic scrapper or card. Run the gun through again at any point you feel the sticker is stuck to soften the adhesive impeding the removal. Repeat the process until the sticker comes off.
How Do I Get Dried Stickers Off My Car Window?
There are several methods to get rid of dried stickers from your car window. However, some methods may be more effective than others, depending on how long the sticker has been stuck on your window.
Can You Use Windex on Car Windows?
Yes, Windex may be used to clean the inner surface of your car windshield and the windows. Moreover, it has been established that ammonia in Windex does not damage factory window tints, but we don’t recommend using it on tints installed by third parties.
Is Goo Gone Safe on Windshield?
Yes, it is. While the solution was designed to remove strong adhesive, it is still mild and safe enough for use on any part of your vehicle, including the windshield.
Does Vinegar Get Stickers Off?
Yes, it does. Soak a rag in vinegar and place it on the sticker for some minutes to soften the adhesive. Proceed to peel or scrape off the sticker.
However, undiluted vinegar is unsafe for your vehicle paint, but when diluted, it is a potent cleaning agent and can be used to remove stains on car paint. We have a detailed guide on removing stains from car paint using vinegar.
Will WD-40 Remove Sticky Residue?
WD-40 works to peel stickers off any surface, regardless of how long they have been there. This water-displacing spray quickly and easily gets rid of sticker residue. The sticker’s glossy water-resistant surface should be peeled off to allow the WD-40 to soak through the adhesive.
Remove Sticker From Car Window Without Damage – Summary
Considering that modern car stickers employ lower-tack adhesives, one would expect them to peel off without fuss. But oftentimes, drivers struggle to peel them off. The good news is there are several ways to remove stickers from your car window. And you’d be surprised that you can use something as basic as everyday cooking oil mixed with baking soda.
But ultimately, some methods may prove to be more effective than others, depending on how long the label has been stuck on your window.