Tinted car windows are a great thing. They not only protect you from glare, but also provide privacy and style. Unfortunately, tint has a shelf life and if you don’t know how to remove window tint properly, you’ll end up with a big sticky mess.
There are two basic stain removal methods: heat and scraping. Depending on why you choose to remove the tint film from your car windows, the best treatment will be different. You’ll also need to clean the glass afterward, as these methods don’t always remove the adhesive completely.
Also Read: How to Remove Stubborn Water Stains from Glass
Reasons to Remove Dye
There are three main reasons to try to get rid of window tint in your car, each with its own challenges.
Sometimes you don’t want tinted windows, even if they are in perfect condition. This can be very frustrating, as the adhesive is probably the strongest. However, thermal methods work well against undamaged dyed film.
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Not only does the bubbly film look terrible, but there’s no way to fix it. Your first instinct might be to remove the bubbling area, but that can leave an even smaller mess of glue and dye bits.
On the plus side, the bubbles are stuck to the bug, making it a little easier to remove.
Over time, the window tint will change to a purple color and you will want to consider replacing it. Since the dye’s ability to block UV rays decreases as it turns purple, the problem is not just aesthetic.
This color change is due to the degradation of non-metallic dyes and cannot be repaired. Again, heat is a great way to deal with this problem.
How to Remove Window Tint with Heat (3 Methods)
Heat is a great way to loosen a safe film, although scraping may be necessary to remove the film completely. In general, you will need to use a scraper minimally for these methods.
See also: How to cover a broken car window
#1 – Hair dryer or heat gun
It’s an easy way to remove tint or decals from your car and works just as well with a heat gun, although it can be a little messy. You’ll want to pick a corner to start the process.
- Hold the hair dryer about two inches from the window and run it overhead until the glue melts enough to lift the edge with your finger.
- Tilt the dryer so that it touches the spot where the film and window meet, slowly peeling away as the glue moves.
- Using a clean towel, rub off the adhesive and use your hair dryer to soften it as needed.
- After removing the glue, wash the car windows with a cleaner.
#2 – Steam cleaning
Perhaps the best way to remove window tint is to use a fabric steamer. After several minutes of steaming the window, you will melt the glue and the tint will disappear immediately.
A great thing about this method is the excuse to clean your car’s upholstery as well. Once the dye is off, you just have to deal with some glue.
Here is a great video on how to remove vehicle window tint using the steam method:
#3 – Peeling the sun
You can take advantage of a warm and sunny day to make it easier for yourself. You will need two black plastic trash bags, cut to the shape of the window, a spray bottle of soapy water, a tarp, and a spray bottle of ammonia.
- Spray the outside of the window with soapy water and cover it with one of the bags, smoothing it flat.
- Cover all adjacent interior surfaces with a tarp to protect them.
- Spray ammonia inside the window and be sure to wear a protective mask so you don’t inhale the fumes. Cover with a second garbage bag before the ammonia dries.
- Let the window bake in the sun for at least 20 minutes before removing the bags.
- Dig out a corner of the film and gently remove the tint, spraying ammonia as needed to keep it moist.
- Use a non-metal scraper to remove any remaining dye, then use one of the cleaning methods below to remove the residue.
How to Remove Window Tint (Scraping Methods)
All of these options involve removing tint from car windows using mostly sharp objects. While they all work well, you need to take extra care to avoid scratching the glass when using any type of blade. Non-metallic scrapers work best on plastic windows.
A note on using sharp blades: We recommend that you use caution when removing tint film from any window with a metal scraper.
While using a knife or razor blade may work a little better than a plastic blade as an ice scraper, there is a much greater risk of damaging the glass.
If you must use a sharp blade, remember to always hold it at an angle to avoid damaging the glass.
Related: Types of scratches on cars and their repair costs
#4 – Papers, please
Old newspapers have many uses, including removing window tint. Wet the dyed film thoroughly with hot soapy water and cover it with newspaper. Let the window soak in the sun for at least an hour, adding more soapy water every 20 minutes.
You should now be able to carefully scrape off the dye with long strokes. If you can’t remove the film easily, let it soak for another half hour.
#5 – Peel and soak
The slower method is also the best option for small areas or problem windows. Carefully cut one edge with a razor blade and remove the film. Don’t worry about messy edges.
Once the film is removed, spray the area with soapy water and scrape off the glue. Finish with a good round of glass cleaner.
Remove Window Tint Glue
Finally, you’ll need to know how to remove window tint glue once the tint is gone. This doesn’t always happen as efficiently as you might expect. All of these methods work well against any remaining weapons.
One of the cheapest and most effective solvents on the market, a bottle of 90% isopropyl alcohol can quickly remove glue residue.
Apply a little to a cloth to remove small stains and a spray bottle and cloth for larger areas. Be sure to use this method in a well-ventilated area and avoid fumes while working.
Isopropyl alcohol is also great for removing oily residue from the inside of your windshield.
This popular glue remover works great against stained glue residue. Please note that this will not help remove the dye itself.
It is a very useful solvent. you can use nail polish remover, microfiber cloth, and elbow grease to remove the glue. Although this method requires extra effort, the process will polish your windows to a beautiful shine.
In hot weather or in a heated garage, you can use warm soapy water (we recommend using Dawn) and a car ice scraper to remove glue residue. Not only is it a safe method, but also a good excuse to clean the interior of the car.