There are several reasons that you may want to remove tint from your windows. Perhaps you’ve bought a new car and don’t want it, you may have noticed it needs to be redone, or perhaps you simply fancy a change. Whatever your reason, getting rid of window tint can be difficult.
Thankfully, there are a few different methods you can try. By following our step-by-step process, you’ll be able to remove that tint in no time at all. Before we start looking at those steps, let’s look at the tools you’ll need for the job.
The Tools You Need
Before we get into the step-by-step guide, you’ll need to gather tools and equipment to complete the job successfully. The tools you need depend on the removal method you use:
1. Steam Method
- Clothing steamer
- A hand-held steamer with an extension cord or hose attachment
- Distilled water
- Garbage bag
- Plastic tarp
- Old towel
- Utility knife
- Plastic or razor scraper
2. Chemical Method
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Spray bottle
- Paper towels (or old newspaper)
- A plastic scraper
- A razor scraper
- Utility knife
3. Mechanical Method
- Soap and water
- Razor scraper
- Plastic scraper
- Utility knife
Tools to Remove Tint Glue
- A heat gun
- Rug or sponge
- Warm water with detergent in a bucket
Remove Window Tint & Glue: Step-by-Step Guide
The following are the steps to remove window tint based on the method you choose:
1. The Steam Method
Steam is one of the most effective methods of removing window tint. The heat softens the adhesive and allows the film to leave the glass. The only downside is that this method can be expensive if you need to buy a steamer.
Step one: Protect the Car’s Interior
Use the garbage bag, plastic tarp, and an old microfiber towel to cover the car’s interior. That will protect it from potential steam damage. You’ll regret it if you don’t follow this step so be patient and make sure no areas near the window are exposed.
Step Two: Steam the Window Tint
Work the steam on the car window to heat the tint and weaken the adhesive. Be careful not to burn yourself with the steamer. Try holding the steamer attachment approximately one inch away from one of the corners of the window tint. Expose the window to the steam for about 2-3 minutes, and you will see the glue melt. Try to remove the film using the utility knife when you see it start to peel away.
Step Three: Remove the Tint
Using a utility knife or your fingernail, pick at the tint edge. Now continue applying the steam to the exposed window and tint, peeling off the entire film. You may need to use a plastic or razor scraper, though continuously exposing the glass to the steam might be enough.
Pro Tip: Avoid using a razor scraper on the rear window defroster grid because it will damage it.
2. The Chemical Method – Ammonia
The adhesive used on window tinting is soluble in ammonia. Thus, you can use this substance to weaken the bond. The easiest way is to spray ammonia directly onto the film. Since the film isn’t completely impermeable, it will allow the chemical to penetrate and do its work.
Step One: Protect Yourself
Ammonia is toxic. Ensure you wear appropriate protective equipment for safety. Safety glasses can protect your eyes in case of overspray. A high-quality respirator (rated for ammonia) would be best to keep fumes from getting into your nervous system. Wearing vinyl gloves will prevent your fingers from absorbing the chemical.
Step Two: Protect Interior Surfaces from Oversprays
Cover your car’s interior using a garbage bag, a plastic tarp, and an old microfiber towel. Also, open the doors and windows to ensure sufficient ventilation.
Step Three: Spray the Windows
Spray the interior side of the window, then plaster paper towels (or old newspaper) to the glass. The paper towels will prevent the ammonia solution from drying out. Apply 2-3 layers of paper to keep the window as wet as possible.
Step Four: Wait for Some Time, Then Peel off The Tint
Waiting will allow the chemical to react with the tint adhesive and weaken the bond. After about half an hour, peel off the paper. Using a utility knife, pick the tint at a corner. Mist the window occasionally to keep the reaction active and facilitate easy removal of the shade. You may require a razor scraper to speed up the removal of the tint and the glue.
3. Mechanical (Force) Method
As the name suggests, this method involves applying force to remove the window tinting. It’s a two-step method, but it requires effort and care to achieve quality results. Here’s how to go about it:
Step one: Pick the Tint at a Corner
Using the utility knife, pick a corner of the tint and start pulling. This method will probably rip off the film into smaller pieces. You must be patient to remove everything. This can be a frustrating method as it’s the most difficult, but also the one that requires the least amount of tools.
Pro Tip: You can also use a plastic or razor scraper to cut the adhesive to ease the removal.
Step two: Clean the Window
You can use soapy water to clean the window after de-tinting. Cleaning the window will help to any traces of the glue left. If that doesn’t work, below are more detailed steps to remove the glue. This method is the messiest, so our extra steps below will most likely be required.
Steps to Remove Window Tint Glue:
After removing the window tint, some glue may remain behind. You must remove this residue to achieve sparkling results.
Step One: Clean the Surface
Cleaning the surface helps to remove residual dirt that the glue might have trapped. Dab the rag or sponge into the warm detergent water and wipe the surface gently to loosen the adhesive and release the dirt.
Pro Tip: Be careful while cleaning to avoid scratches on the window surface. It would be best to allow the window to dry for a few minutes before proceeding.
Step Two: Heat the Glue
Using the heat gun, work on the glue residue to loosen it and ease removal. Set the device at moderate heat, then expose it to the area with the glue. After the adhesive weakens, use detergent to remove it.
Pro Tip: A hair blow dryer would be a good alternative. Set it at maximum heat and expose it to the glue.
Step Three: Clear off the Glue
Apply the detergent and gently wipe the window surface to remove all the glue residue. Once the surface is clean, finish up with water for a spotless look.
More Tips for Removing Window Tint & Glue
Here are more tips for a successful window tint removal process:
- Be careful with sharp objects – As we have seen, all the above methods involve using a sharp object to remove window tint and glue. Although they work well, we strongly urge you to be cautious when using these tools. While a razor blade or knife might work better than a plastic blade, using the former poses a much higher risk. As mentioned, a plastic blade would be the better choice.
- A hairdryer can also do the job if you don’t have a steamer – Hold the hairdryer at about 2 or 3 inches away from the corner of the window tint you wish to remove. Wait approximately 1 minute, cut the window’s edge with the utility knife, and don’t turn off the dryer. Expose the window continuously to the heat as you peel off the film. Try directing the heat to the parts where the window tint attaches to the glass most firmly.
- Alcohol is also effective in removing glue – You can use 90% isopropyl alcohol instead of ammonia. It’s equally effective. Moreover, it’s a cheap alternative to get rid of glue residue once you remove window tint.
- Other ways to remove glue residue – Nail polish remover is another product you can use to remove that sticky residue after removing the shade. Apply the product on a clean microfiber cloth and rub it on the window. Hot, soapy water can also be effective in removing glue residue. Soak the glue and give it time, it works better in warm and sunny weather.
It’s easy to remove window tint using the steam or ammonia methods. The mechanical method is much simpler but requires a lot of effort. You will need to use a sharp object to ease the tint removal in all these methods.
Be cautious not to scratch or damage the glass and be patient. If you try to rush, you’ll most likely tear the tint and make life harder for yourself. Also remember to take safety precautions, especially if using the ammonia method.
All you need to do now is choose the right method for you and get started. If you have any questions, then feel free to comment and we’ll try and help you out.