How To Remove Car Decals Without Damaging Paint?

Car decals take the aesthetics of your car notches higher while allowing you to make your personality known to the public.

The problem arises when you want to upgrade your car decals to better ones.

How exactly do you remove the old stickers to pave the way for the new ones without damaging your car paint?

Applying the new decals over the old ones is an easy solution, but it makes your car look unsightly.

And using harsh chemicals isn’t a wise solution.

Below, we’ll teach you some simple but highly effective DIY methods for removing car decals and stickers while leaving your car paint intact.

Using A Hair Dryer

This is one of the most popular (and most effective) methods of removing decals and stickers form your car without interfering with the paint job.

How it works?

It’s simple:

1. clean your decal and its surroundings:

You start by cleaning the area around the sticker you want to remove. Why?

Because Trying to remove the decal with dirt and grime around it can bring up the possibility of scratching your car when rubbing off the adhesive residue.


To do this, you just need a soft cloth or sponge and some soapy water. Ensure you thoroughly wash your decal and its surrounding area.

2. heat up the decal

This is where your hair dryer comes into play. The idea behind relying on the heat produced by a dryer is that heat weakens the sticky properties of glue.

Power on your hairdryer and set it to its highest heat setting. Heat your decal evenly, and be sure to heat its edges as well to facilitate easy removal.


Heat it up for a couple of minutes and then put it off and head to the next step immediately.

WARNING: we came across some people suggesting using a heat gun in place of a hairdryer. We caution you against using it as it’s way too powerful and could up damaging what you’re trying to preserve—your car’s paint.

3. Peel off the decal

You should perform this step immediately after heating up your decal. Any delay will allow the glue to regain its adhesiveness.

The safest item to use for this job is an old credit or reward card. Pass it around the edge of the sticker to help detach it from your car. Long nails can do the trick too.

You’d want to avoid using things like razor blades or knives as they can leave scratch marks on your car paint.

4. Working on the residue

After you have successfully removed the decal, you’ll see some residue that lays where the decal was. This is simply the glue residue.

How do you get rid of it so that you’re left with a clean surface?

You guessed it right; you’ll need a glue removal product.

Apply the product on a piece of cloth and use it to rub off the residue.

As long as you use a quality product, with clear usage instructions, it should do the job right.

A quick tip: if you can’t find an adhesive removal product, you can use the white vinegar lying in your kitchen. It does the job perfectly well!

5. Clean the area

With the decal and adhesive residue fully removed, the last thing you want to do is clean the area with some soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge.

Then, dry the area and wax it to help protect your car paint, which leaves exposed after the decal is removed.

Using Boiling Water (hairdryer alternative)

If you don’t have a hairdryer at hand and don’t want to run to the stores to get a solvent, then you can use boiling water as an alternative.

The idea here is to pour the boiling water over your sticker to help weaken and loosen the adhesive holding it in place (just like in the case of a hair dryer).

Keep in mind, though, that this process might turn out to be messy.

Using Boiling Water

Plus, you’ll need to do it severally until the adhesive loosens up.

After you’re satisfied that things have “heated up” pretty well, it’s time to grab that old credit card, or any other plastic item, to help release the sticker from your car.

Finally, you can peel off the decal with your hands!

See? The process is pretty similar to the hair dryer method above, only that we’re using a different heating method here.

Fishing line/dental floss

What if you’re dealing with a 3D decal, say a logo or emblem?

In this case, you might consider using a different set of items to get the job done without damaging your carry paint.

The items to use here is your fishing line or dental floss.

Which one do you have at hand?

Let’s do the job:

Things are pretty straightforward here as you just need to use your dental floss or fishing line on the 3D decal as you’d use a saw.

The decal will come right off easily. But it’ll leave adhesive residue behind.

You can then grab that solvent or eraser wheel to get rid of the residue.

Remember to clean and dry the area afterward…and apply some waxing to protect your car paint from possible damages.

Make Your Future Decals Easy to Remove!

What if a told you there are ways in which you can apply your new decals such that when the time to remove them comes, you won’t have to go through hell?

That sounds awesome, right?

Put these helpful tricks in use for hassle-free decal removal:

  • Before you apply your new decal, wash, dry, and apply a layer of wax to the surface you wish to place the decal. This will not make the removal easier but will ensure the paint stays protected all through
  • Wherever possible, avoid putting your stickers and decals on the bumper. Put them on the window where removing them will be much easier and you won’t have to worry about damaging your car paint
  • If you still choose to put your decal on the bumper, consider affixing the sticker to a bumper magnet first and then place it in your car bumper. This gives you the freedom to remove the magnet wherever you want, without worrying about damaging any paint.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to be able to remove the decals or stickers on your call without damaging the paint job.

In this guide, we have just discussed some simple and effective methods you can use to remove the decal and leave the paint job intact.

All the materials you need for the job are readily available within your house. And for the few materials you might need to get from the store, they’re pretty affordable.

Have you started working on those decals already?

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