Wondering how to remove your vehicle’s window tint? Whether you don’t like the look of it anymore or want to switch to a different type of film, this guide will show you how to remove window tint yourself safely and effectively. It’s not as hard as you might think, but there are a few things to keep in mind. So read on, and get started!
Reasons for removing window tint
Most people put window tints on their cars for privacy or to reduce the amount of sunlight that comes in. But there are a few reasons you might want to remove it that we lay out below. Of course, you’ll get better (and faster) results with a professional.
Poor tint job
For one, you might have gotten a poor-quality tint job full of bubbles and other unsightly defects. Even if you intend to re-tint your windows, you’ll have to remove the current film first.
Maybe you don’t like the look of tinted windows and want to go back to a more natural aesthetic. Some people also claim that darkly tinted windows draw more scrutiny from law enforcement. That’s a reasonable thing to want to avoid.
In some states, the laws about window tint are much stricter than in others. If you want to register a car in a state with more stringent regulations, you’ll need to remove the tint.
How to remove window tint
Window tint is a benefit until you don’t want it. The good thing is that there are a few ways to remove it, so let’s check those out.
The chemical option
The most common is using a window-tint stripper. You can find this at most auto parts stores. It’s generally made of ammonia or 70% or 91% isopropyl alcohol. You’ll also need supplies like gloves, rags and a squeegee.
Be sure to use PPE (personal protection equipment), as most window-tint-stripper products are a blend of ammonia and isopropyl alcohol. Ammonia is a toxic substance, so you’ll need to use the appropriate gloves and respirator or adequate ventilation to protect you.
Here are the steps:
- Pour the tint stripper onto a rag and apply it to the window.
- Rub the mixture into the film until it’s saturated.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Use the squeegee to scrape off the film. Start at one corner and work your way across.
- Wash the windows with soap and water to remove any residue.
The manual option
You can remove the window tint without using harsh chemicals, but there are a few things you’ll need to know.
First, it’s essential to have the right materials for the job. Here’s what you’ll need:
- a razor blade or utility knife
- a hair dryer or steamer
- soap and water
- window cleaner
- a clean cloth
Once you’ve gathered your materials, follow these directions:
Heat the window
Begin heating the tinted window with a hair dryer or steamer. This softens the tint and will make it easier to peel off.
Score the tint
Take your razor blade and begin scoring the tint along the edges of the window. If the film is old, it might be harder to remove. Be careful not to cut yourself.
Peel the tint
Once you’ve scored the edges, start peeling the tint away from the glass. If it’s not coming off easily, use your squirt bottle to wet the surface to help loosen the adhesive. You may need to use a razor blade to scrape off stubborn pieces, just be careful not to scratch the glass.
Clean the window surface
Once you’ve removed all of the window tint, use a glass cleaner to clean the glass. You may need to use a little elbow grease to get all the adhesive off.
It’s not as hard as you think to remove tint from your car windows. In fact, with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can have them looking crystal clear in no time at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you remove the factory window tint?
No. Factory window tint is a pigment baked into the glass and can't be removed.
Does WD-40 remove tint glue?
Yes. WD-40 is an excellent tool to help remove window tints and glue. However, it’ll still take some elbow grease and will leave the widow and its surroundings oily. So you'll need to clean it quickly and thoroughly.
How do you remove baked-on window film?
Acetone, isopropyl alcohol or an ammonia-based window-film-adhesive remover are all very effective in breaking down the glue, which can then be wiped or scraped off.