How to safely remove your car's window tint

Updated Apr 09, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

It’s not as easy as peeling off a bar code sticker. Here are the proper ways.

Why we should remove car window tints?

For those of you who are experienced car owners, you know that nothing lasts forever. This is especially true for “perishable,” non-permanent car parts like your car window tints.

Car window tints are made out of a polyester base, coupled with one or two layers of scratch-resistant coating. That coating, however, will degrade over time due to damage from the elements and scratches. Once a layer has been peeled off, or is compromised, its lifespan is shortened dramatically.

A picture of torn tint

Some of you mad lads (like me) might've done this once or twice to their car

Note also that a degrading car window tint can be dangerous as it limits visibility. This is especially true with the one installed on your windshield. Second, by virtue of being a thin sheet that you stick onto a surface, car window tints will sometimes form unsightly bubbles.

Another reason to remove your car tint is that the tint might either be too dark or too light for your taste – something that might happen when you purchase a used car. And lastly, it might not also be compliant to a local ordinance where you live.

A picture of a Honda Jazz with very dark tint

This kind of tint might not be legal in the future

>>> Related: Choose the best car window tint: Essential tips & tricks for Pinoy drivers

How to remove car window tint safely: Some useful techniques 

Some of you might argue that removing car window tint is as easy as getting a knife, scraping off one corner into a flap, and peeling the tint away. However, doing so might leave scratches on your car’s windows. And you do not want that, do you?

As such, here are some techniques on how to remove your car window tint safely and properly.

Use a hairdryer or heat gun

Because tint uses a bit of adhesive, we highly recommend the application of heat using a heat gun or a hairdryer to soften up the glue.

To do this, hold the heat source about two inches from a window corner on the highest setting possible. Point it on a spot where you think where it’s the easiest to peel off the tint. As the glue softens, peel the tint away.

A picture of tint being removed using heat

Please be careful when using a heat gun

If there are any gunks of adhesive left, rub it with a clean towel while applying heat as needed. As a final step, give your car a proper wash.

Soapy water and newspaper technique

Another technique to remove window tint is to use soap and water. That’s because soapy water acts like a lubricant that’ll loosen up the contact between the adhesive of the window tint and the glass.

To do this, generously apply soapy water to the car window tint, and then cover it with pages of a newspaper. Wait for one hour, and then apply more soapy water to the newspaper when it dries up.

A picture of a bucket full of soapy water

Don't just use dishwashing soap, use extra bubbly car washing soap

Lastly, start peeling the newspaper away with a knife, a razor, by starting with a corner. This will create a tab you can pull off. Do it slowly and steadily.

If there are a few pieces left sticking on your window, use your nails and be gentle.

>>> Related: How to remove stickers from your car’s windows and windshield

Ammonia, a sunny day, and a bucket of soapy water

If the sun is up, then you might want to try out using ammonia. This is because the ammonia can soften up adhesive especially when combined with the heat of the sun. Just like the other methods, though, you still need to prepare a bucket of soapy water. You’ll also need several plastic garbage bags to “cook” the ammonia when applying it onto the tint.

To perform this method, start by spraying the exterior of your car’s window with the soapy water. After that, cover it with the plastic garbage bag. The soapy water will help the plastic adhere to the surface of your window.

Next, open your car door and spray ammonia on the inside portion of your car’s window. Leave it open. For this step, you might want to wrap your car’s interior surfaces with something to protect it from ammonia.

A picture of garbage bag covering a car window

Like this but, a bit tighter

Let the car sit under the sun for an hour. The black garbage bags trap heat and will enable the ammonia to do its work.

And lastly, try to dig up a corner of the tint to turn it into a tab and then gently peel the tint away.

Addressing leftover adhesive

Despite the several methods we’ve listed above, there will be cases where there will be leftover glue. To fix this issue, you can either use;

  • Alcohol – Alcohol can effectively remove adhesives due to being a solvent. Drip some onto a clean microfiber rag, then rub those gunks of glue off.
  • Nail Polish Remover – Nail polish remover is also a very effective solvent. Use it just like you would with alcohol but do remember to apply this in a well-ventilated area.
  • Warm Soapy Water – Use this with a combination of elbow grease and a non-metallic scrubbing implement, like the ice scraper in your fridge.

Do you feel prepared on how to remove your car window tint by yourself now? If you do, keep reading here on for more useful car maintenance and repair tips.

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel


Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.


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