Tint Removal 101

car window tinted care

Everything deteriorates with time and age—even your vehicle in all of its sums and parts. Over time, its engine, interior, and even installed window tints will need maintenance, repairs, or worse, replacement. The longevity of your tints may depend on different factors such as film quality, exposure to the sun or harsh weather conditions, or even the type of window cleaner you always use.

When it comes to tints, you get what you pay for: cheap dyed tint film can last shorter than more expensive and higher quality ones, which can last for 5 years or more. Hybrid films can last even longer, up to a decade. This is why car owners need to realize that paying more for a higher quality tint film is a long term investment.

But, how can you know it’s time time to replace your window tints? 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.

In some cases, when the window tint starts to peel in a corner, it’s time to replace it. This happens when the adhesive used starts to lose its grip to the windows. Removing the tint through pulling the peeling parts is not as easy as it seems. It might be tempting to remove it yourself but letting the professionals do it will same you time and money.

Less frequently, one telling sign that you need to replace your car tints when you start to notice damages on your car interiors. If your window tint is old, your furniture may be getting bleached by all those UVA and UVB rays. Deciding to replace your tints is a wiser choice than spending more on interior repairs or changing of seat covers and upholstery.

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.


Steam lets the glue lose its adhesive properties and release itself from the window, making it easier for peeling and removing. 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.

Fill the steamer with water, turn it on, and begin steaming your car windows. After a few minutes of continuous steaming, the glue underneath will melt and the tint will peel off like a sheet of cellophane. Start peeling the film off, slowly. Focus the steamer on the parts were the glue still holds. Steam as you peel the film off. After the peeling is done, wipe the remaining glue residue with a soft cloth and windows cleaner.


Ammonia is one of the safer to handle chemicals that removes the sticky adhesive in no time. The first step is tracing 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. You need to be careful and 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.

Carefully 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. 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. 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.

Remove any remaining adhesive with ammonia and very fine steel wool, then wipe the surface with a soft cloth before it dries. Remove the exterior trash bag, and clean the window thoroughly with glass cleaner.

Soak and Scrape

This method is the riskiest among the three. You will be needing a razor blade to make a small incision in the film, preferably at the corner of the window. Peel the tint of, letting it tear everywhere with different-sized pieces.

Generously spray soapy water to the parts with the exposed adhesive. Let it sit and soak for a while. Careful not to scratch the glass, scrape the adhesive off with the razor blade. 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 preparing 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.