Bumper Sticker Removal: 5 Ways
Regardless of the reason – maybe you’ve decided to support a different hockey team, or you scored a good deal on a used car that has far too many bumper stickers – being able to quickly and safely remove a bumper sticker is a valuable skill. Bumper sticker removal falls into the category of one of those tasks that is more difficult than it sounds. When removing decals from your vehicle, you must exercise extreme caution, or else risk seriously damaging the paint underneath.
What follows is a breakdown of several tried and true methods for bumper sticker removal. Whichever one you choose to go for, do it on a day when you plan to wash your car. Sometimes there is a little residue left behind that can be taken off with a simple wash.
Sometimes you will encounter a bumper sticker that just won't give up. If the methods above aren't working fo you, or you don't want to risk damaging your finish, you can always just bring the car to us.
When using this method, be sure not to underestimate the power of a standard blow dryer. Do not hold the blow dryer too close to the paint, error on the side of caution here and gradually move the blow dryer closer to the surface. Using the low setting, apply heat for about 30 seconds and try to peel off the corner of the sticker. Avoid heating for more than 30 seconds by following this pattern: heat for 30 seconds, peel for 30 seconds with no heat. Any remaining residue can be wiped away with a lint free cloth that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol. Polish and wax if necessary.
Very Hot Water
This one works a surprising amount of the time. Dip a rag in boiling water and, carefully so as not to burn your hands, cover the sticker with the rag. After letting the hot rag sit for a minute, try to peel the sticker away. You could even try pouring boiling water directly onto the decal before trying to peel it away. You can use your fingers or a tool like a rubber spatula or an old credit card to lift up the sticker, but never use anything pointed or metal.
If the heat methods aren’t appealing, try mixing three parts water, two parts rubbing alcohol, and one part eucalyptus oil or dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the area until the decal is completely saturated, let it sit for a few minutes, and peel away as much as you can. Repeat the process until the sticker is all gone.
Another natural approach is to replicate the boiling water method with vinegar instead of water. Use vinegar to remove any remaining sticky residue. With either chemical method, make sure to thoroughly wash the area afterwards to remove any acid and oil.
This product was created to remove the annoying adhesive residue that accompanies lots of commercial adhesives. However, it can be helpful in our application as well. If you gently perforate the exterior of the decal and spray it liberally with Goo Gone, you might find the sticker easily peels away. Wash the area with soap and water after using the spray.
Lighter Fluid or WD-40
With any solvent, make sure it is advertised as “safe for use on paint”. We have heard tales of people getting lucky with WD-40 or lighter fluid as solvents for bumper stickers. Rub the compounds onto the sticker and peel away. If any discolouration occurs underneath the bumper sticker, buff off and apply a fresh coat of wax. This is probably the last solution we would try on our own vehicles.
Sometimes you will encounter a bumper sticker that just won’t give up. If the methods above aren’t working for you, or you don’t want to risk damaging your finish, you can always just bring the car to us. As a pro detailing and auto customization shop, we have some special tricks of the trade, as well as a few commercial products, that are sure to loosen even the most stubborn sticker. Just give us a call, we would be happy to help you out.