How to Remove Old Window Tint

As much as you would like to cling on to your car window tints, everything deteriorates with time and age. It has to be removed and replaced.  Generally, the ‘life’ of your car’s tint films varies on many things: its quality, how much direct sunlight the tint is exposed to, and the quality of the installation.

As a rule of thumb, expect that you will get what you pay for. Cheap quality and installed car tints is expected to begin degrading in just a matter of months with long exposures under the sun and with humid weather. Meanwhile, high quality tint films which are installed properly and with greater effort can last for a couple of years easily under normal conditions. Hybrid films can last 5 years or more, and sputtered or deposited films will last up to a decade and sometimes more.

You will know that you need to replace your car window tints when you start to see these two most common symptoms: the dreaded “purple film” and the “bubbling film”. Telling your tints are ‘dying’ when it turns a little more purple than black or grey. Purple film is caused by non-metallic dyes in the film breaking down and changing color. Meanwhile, bubbling film is a sign that the adhesive used to apply the tint to the window is failing. You can spot little packets of air making its way between the glass window and the tint film itself. It starts with one bubble, and many more will follow.

Usually, removing tint from your car’s windows are done by professionals to ensure that you won’t end up with a sticky mess. The process may not be as easy and simple as removing a sticker swiftly, but there are some techniques backed up by science that you can use. Here are 4 methods you can try.

 

Method I: Steam

steam

Image from Pexels

 The goal here is to steam the window and tint so much that the glue loses its adhesive properties and release itself from the window.

Things that you will need:

  • Fabric steamer
  • Water
  • Soft cloth
  • Glass cleaner

 

1. Opt for a steamer that doesn’t get the handles hot too. Some fabric steamers can do the job beautifully without ripping out your pockets.
2. Fill the steamer with water, turn it on, and begin steaming your car windows.
3. After a few minutes of continuous steaming, the glue underneath will melt and the tint will peel off like a sheet of cellophane.
4. Start peeling the film off, slowly. Focus the steamer on the parts were the glue still holds. Steam as you peel the film off.
5. After the peeling is done, wipe the remaining glue residue with a soft cloth and windows cleaner.

 

Method II: Sun’s heat and Ammonia

If you live in a generally sunny area, removing the tints from your windows is less of a hassle.

Ammonia is one of the safer to handle chemicals that removes the sticky adhesive in no time.

Things that you’ll be needing:

  • Two black garbage bags
  • A pair of scissors
  • Spray bottle
  • Soapy water
  • Tarp or anything for cover
  • Ammonia fumes
  • Face mask
  • Razor blade
  • Very fine steel wool
  • Glass cleaner
  • Soft cloth

 

1. Trace the shape of your car window and cut two black garbage bags in its shape. Generously spray soapy water on the outside of the window and cover it with one of the black trash bags. Use your hands to flatten the plastic.
2. Make sure that all the interior’s surfaces are protected with a tarp or Protect all inside surfaces near the window with a tarp or any material that can cover your speakers, rear light, and upholstered surfaces.
3. Spray the ammonia fumes directly to the tints. Wearing a face mask is a must because ammonia can cause harmful effects to your health when you’re directly exposed to the fumes.
4. While the ammonia is still wet, trap the ammonia against the window film with another trash bag or plastic wrap. constructed of multiple layers of film. Leave it under direct sunrays and let the garbage bags absorb the heat. This will help the film peel off easily.
5. Use your fingernails or a razor blade in peeling off the film, starting on one corner of your window. Try your best to peel it off as one piece and not break it while pulling. Be careful of scratching your windows with the blade or cutting the defroster lines at the back.
6. Remove any remaining adhesive with ammonia and very fine steel wool, then wipe the surface with a soft cloth before it dries.
7. Remove the exterior trash bag, and clean the window thoroughly with glass cleaner.

 

Method III: Soap, Newspaper and Easy Off

newspaper

Image from Pixabay

Things that you will use:

  • Soapy water (using detergent)
  • Old newspapers
  • Razor blade
  • Sponge

 

1. Generously apply your soapy detergent water on to the window with a household sponge, and quickly cover it with newspaper.
2. Leave them for about an hour. When the paper begins to dry, reapply soap water every 20 minutes or so to keep the moisture seeping through.
3. Using a razor blade, or your fingernail, simply scratch and scrape off the top layer of the tint film with long strokes.
4. If the top layer still won’t come off, repeat the process: reapply the soapy water and wait for half an hour.
5. Carefully rub surface razor blade over the tint until it comes off without any effort at all.

 

Method IV: Good ol’ soak and scrape

 Things that you will need:

  • Razor blade
  • Soapy water
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft cloth
  • Glass cleaner

 

1. Using your razor blade, make a small incision in the film, preferably at the corner of the window.
2. Don’t be scared and peel the tint. It won’t come off neatly—meaning it will be tearing everywhere with different-sized pieces.
3. Generously spray soapy water to the parts with the exposed adhesive.
4. Let it sit and soak for a while.
5. Careful not to scratch the glass, scrape the adhesive off with the razor blade.
6. After the process, make sure there is no remaining adhesive by cleaning the windows with a soft cloth and glass cleaner

 

Removing the tints of your car windows is also a way of prepping it for a new coat of film. It is important that you do a great job so that the next application of tints will be easy and perfect: all flat and smooth. Be careful of not scraping your window glass as well, especially when there is a lot of scraping involved.

 

SOURCES: