How to Remove Window Tint A Step-By-Step Guide [2021]

guy removing window tint

What is Window Tint?

Window tint is a film usually made of polyester coupled with metallic, carbon, or ceramic materials. It is applied to the inside of your vehicle’s glass and protects your car from heat and UV light. If left unprotected both of which, over time, will begin to crack and fade the interior of your car.

A good window tint will also provide your vehicle protection from wandering eyes trying to look inside. This dissuades potential thieves as their less likely to risk breaking into a car if they can’t see what is inside. Window tint can also give your vehicle a touch of personal style by allowing you to choose the shade and color of your tint.

But sometimes you need to remove window tint. And for when that time comes, we have collected some of the best and quickest methods to get it off without leaving a trace.

If you’re removing old tint because you need to replace it with something new then you may enjoy our article reviewing the best window tints on the market today.

Advantages to Removing Old Window Tint


Aesthetic

Over time inferior window tints can begin to bubble and fade. This can make it difficult to see out of the glass but it also means that your car won’t look its best. With inferior tints often turning from back to purple.

Value

Window tint protects your car’s interior from the damage of heat and UV light. Over time this light will cause your car’s interior to crack and fade. Window tint makes sure that your car keeps its value by keeping it looking like new. An old window tint won’t provide optimal protection and if it is faded and bubbled it can decrease the value of your car.

Protection

Over time as your tint degrades from the stress of multiple environmental factors, it will also lose its ability to protect you and your car. Inferior window tints, as they age, will struggle to keep the same amount of heat and UV light from entering your car. As tint fades it also becomes more transparent. So it won’t provide the same amount of protection against people trying to look inside your car.

Laws

State laws are forever evolving and changing. Occasionally a law change will mean that your window tint is no longer considered legal and needs to be removed. In this case, getting off quickly is the best course of action. Doing it at home can end up saving you a lot of money.

Things to Consider Before You Remove Your Window Tint


Price

Price is a big factor. After all, if the price didn’t matter you could take your car in to have it professionally done. That being said if you don’t have a hairdryer or steamer it might be worth investing in one. These two methods tend to make it a lot easier to remove your window tint as well as seriously reducing the amount of glue that gets left behind. Keeping that in mind, all of these methods will work, some might just take a little bit longer to complete.

Tools

All of these methods require different tools so make sure that you have everything you need before you start. If you don’t have the tools and don’t want to buy them then make sure you pick a method that doesn’t require them.

Time

Some of these methods take more time than others. The newspaper and garbage bag methods both require time for the items to bond with the tint. The hair dryer or steamer technique will probably be your two quickest methods of removal. Take into account the amount of time you have to get the job done.

Defroster Lines

The lines for your defroster lie underneath your tint and are extremely fragile. When you go to remove your window tint you want to keep in mind if your car has these. Removing them just by pulling the tint like with the soap and scrape method can be dangerous. You could accidentally pull the lines away from the glass.

If the lines get pulled away and break then your defrosters will no longer work. In order to minimize this risk, we suggest using the hairdryer or steamer technique. These two allow the tint to be removed without too much pulling. They also tend not to leave behind any glue. Saving you from having to clean around the lines when you finish.

How To Get Your Workspace Ready Before You Begin

Make sure that your workspace is clean and prepped. All of your items need to be close by and easily accessible. You may need to quickly switch between them while working. Make sure that you have double-checked that you have all of the necessary tools before beginning.

Make sure that you have removed any stickers or decals from the tint. When you begin pulling the tint away from the window these stickers can cause a problem with getting the tint off properly and in one piece.

If you are using anything that needs to be plugged in make sure that you have enough cord that you can easily reach the entire window. If you can not get the electronic device to reach the entire window use an extension cord to give yourself that extra few feet.

These techniques can be a little tricky your first time. Begin with the smallest window on your car when you begin to remove your tint as a smaller window will be easier to pull off. Giving you a good feel of the process before moving on to some of the bigger more difficult windows.

Soap and Scrape Method

Tools Needed

  • Razor Blade
  • Window Cleaner
  • Clean Rag

Technique

With this method, you will start by lowering your car window so that you can see the edge of the tint film. Then you will use the razor blade to pick up a corner of the window tint. Once it has picked up you can grab the corner and begin peeling it slowly away from the glass. Use even pressure keeping your hands close to the glass as you pull so that the tint doesn’t tear.

Once you fully remove the window tint you will notice that some of the adhesive has been left behind. That is normal with this method. You can now spray the window with a glass cleaning solution. Let it soak for a minute and then use a clean rag to wipe away any remaining glue. Stubborn glue can also be scraped off using the razor blade. Overall this method works because it allows you to remove window tint with the fewest tools possible.

Hairdryer Method

Tools Needed

  • Hairdryer
  • Razor Blade
  • Window Cleaner
  • Clean Rag

Technique

This method is going to be exactly like the Soap and Scrape Method except for we’ll be using a hairdryer or heat gun to make things a little easier. Unlike the Soap and Scrape Method that leaves glue behind on your glass. Using heat will make it less likely for the tint and glue to separate making for easier cleanup.

For this method, you’ll want to roll down your window so that you can find the end of your tint. Then place your hairdryer or heat gun bout 2 inches away from the tint and begin to apply heat. The heat should cause the corner of the tint to curl up allowing you to easily grab ahold. Now you begin pulling the tint away from the window using even pressure. Making sure that you are keeping your hands close to the glass so that the tint won’t tear. As the tint begins to pull away you apply heat to the next part that needs to be removed. Moving across the window until you can remove all of the tint.

This method should result in very little glue left behind. But if there is some you can use a good glass cleaner and a clean rag to remove the remaining glue. If it is extremely stubborn a razor blade can be used to help remove it as well. This method is a great way to remove window tint with the help of a common household item.

Steamer Technique

Tools Needed

Technique

This steamer technique works just like the hairdryer method. And like the hairdryer method, it should result in very little glue being left behind on the glass. To start this technique you need to turn on your steamer and place it about 1 inch away from the glass. Then begin to steam and pick at the corner of the window until you can remove a section of tint film.

Once you can grab ahold of the corner begin to pull the tint away from the glass. Using the steamer, stay behind your hand, continuing to heat up the next section to be pulled away. Make sure to use even pressure keeping your hands near the glass so that the tint doesn’t tear.

Do this until all of the tint has been peeled off of the glass. If there is any glue left behind you can use a glass cleaner a clean rag and a razor blade to scrape it off. Overall, this is the best way to remove window tint but it does require a tool that most people don’t have handy.

Trashbag and Ammonia Method

Tools Needed

  • Razor Blade
  • Garbage Bag
  • Ammonia Solution
  • Direct Sunlight

Technique

Window tints come in all different styles and sizes and some window tints are much thinner than others. It depends on how many layers of polyester were used to make them. This method helps to add a little bit of thickness to a thinner window tint so it will pull off easier.

First, start out by moving your car so that your windows are in direct sunlight. Then cut a garbage bag to the dimensions of your window. Spray the entire inside of the window with the ammonia solution. We recommend using Windex with ammonia as this is easy to find at any big retail store.

Once the inside of the window is covered with the ammonia solution stick the bag against the window and leave it out in direct sunlight for an hour. After one hour take the garbage bag off and reapply the ammonia solution. Place the bag back over the window and leave in the sunlight for another hour. Now the garbage bag will have had enough time to bake onto the tint. Not the whole bag but a thin layer off of the bag.

Now remove the bag from the window. Roll down the window so that you can find the edge of the tint and begin to pull up a corner with your razor blade. Once the corner has come up you can grab the tint and begin to pull it away from the glass. Do this until all of the tint has been removed. If there is any glue left behind it can be removed with some glass cleaner and a clean rag. This method we think is better than the trash bag and ammonia method to remove window tint but if you think you want to give that one a try then you can find it below.

Soap and Newspaper Method

Tools Needed

  • Razor Blade
  • Newspaper
  • Soap and Water
  • Spray Bottle

Technique

This method is almost exactly like the trashbag and sunlight method except for that it uses newspaper and soap. With this method, you will place a sheet of newspaper over the entire window. Then use a spray bottle full of soapy water to soak the newspaper causing it to stick to the window. Then leave the newspaper for an hour. Checking back every 10 minutes to make sure that it hasn’t dried. If the newspaper does begin to dry spray it again with the soapy water.

After an hour the newspaper should have adhered to the tint. Now roll down your window and use the razor blade to remove an edge of the window tint pulling it away from the glass. Once it has lifted you can begin pulling the tint away from the glass. It should peel off in one large sheet with the newspaper helping to give it some extra support so it doesn’t tear.

If any adhesive is left behind on the glass it can be cleaned off with the same soapy water. Just spray the entire window and let it sit for a minute on the glass. Allowing it to slowly penetrate into the glue. Then use a clean rag to wipe off the leftover adhesive. If it is really stuck on a razor blade can also be used to help remove any big pieces. This is a method to remove window tint that will give better results than the soap and scrape method but is not as good as either method that uses heat.

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