How to Remove Stickers From Car in Three Steps

June 09, 2015

Sick of looking at that 2008 campaign sticker or faded jam band sticker from college? The time to remove it is now. The longer you wait, the harder the sticker will be to remove, because the adhesive breaks down and the paint around it may bleach.

The key piece of advice for removing bumper stickers: Don’t rush it. If you attack your bumper without a plan, you may ruin the finish, scratch the paint or be left with a patch of sticky residue. Here’s our guide for how to remove stickers from your car.

How to Remove Stickers From Car in Three Steps

    1. Warm the sticker with a hair dryer. Blast the sticker with hot air for about a minute. If your dryer is on low heat, you can hold it close to the sticker; if you set it to high, hold it further away.
    2. Gently peel back a corner of the sticker. Using your fingernail or a rubber spatula — nothing metal — peel one corner of the sticker. Once you have a good grip, continue peeling the sticker back, not up, until it comes off. Continue to apply heat, if needed.
    3. Remove the leftover adhesive. For this step, you can use rubbing alcohol, Goo Gone or an adhesive remover designed for cars. Rub gently with a cloth until the surface underneath is clean.

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How to remove stickers from car with solvents

If you don’t have a hair dryer handy, or if heat alone is not working, you can use various solvents to try to loosen the adhesive and soak the sticker off your car. These include:

  • Boiling water: Soak a cloth in boiling water and (carefully!) apply it to the sticker, or pour the water directly over the sticker.
  • White vinegar:  Use the same technique as for boiling water.
  • Miracle Whip: The book Joey Green’s Fix-It Magic suggests smearing mayo on a bumper sticker before trying to remove it.
  • Vodka
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lighter fluid
  • WD-40

Be sure to use caution with all flammable solvents. While some people suggest using nail polish remover with acetone or gasoline to remove stickers from a car, these can damage the finish on your paint. Use nail polish remover only on glass.

How to make removing bumper stickers easier

Some stickers have built-in expiration dates, like political campaign stickers or parking decals. If you plan to remove a sticker from your car before long, use one of these techniques so it’ll be easier to remove.

  • Apply it to the glass. Removing bumper stickers from glass is a cinch, as long as you have a razor blade and something to remove sticky residue. Never use a razor blade on the inside of the rear windshield, because you could damage the defrosting wires.
  • Apply it to a magnet. We love this idea. Attach your sticker to a bumper magnet and then stick it on your car.
  • Apply wax first. Some car experts say that if you use a product like Turtle Wax on your bumper and apply the sticker before buffing, it will be easy to remove later.
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