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Nothing lasts forever; not even your car’s window tint. It can degrade over time or there’s a new tint law that you have to comply with. Whatever the reason, replacing it with a new one can be a worthy endeavor. And while it is a lot easier to simply bring it to your favorite auto shop to have the tint removed and replaced with a new one, you’d be surprised to know that removing the tint from your car is actually easier than it sounds. We’ve prepared these five easy steps by which you can accomplish this without having to rely on a professional’s help.

car window tint

Step 1: Prepare your materials and supplies.

Like any other activity, the very first thing that needs to be accomplished is the preparation of all the materials, supplies, and/or tools needed for the project. It makes no sense to be initiating something when you’re already in the middle of the procedure and you cannot continue simply because you lack something. This throws you out of your rhythm and perhaps even makes you feel frustrated about the whole thing. To make sure you stay focused, you’ve got to prepare everything beforehand.

If you are going to employ the soap and scrape method, you will need the following:

  • An ordinary dish soap
  • Ordinary glass cleaner
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towels or clean pieces of rags
  • Razor knife or blade
  • Water

If you intend to use the soap and newspaper technique in the removal of window car tint, then you’ll need to prepare the materials for the soap and scrape method except for the spray bottle. Additionally, you will also need to gather the following:

  • Bowl or bucket
  • Newspaper
  • Sponge

If you don’t like the first two methods, you might be interested in the ammonia and sun technique. This will require the following materials:

  • Unused plastic garbage bags
  • Spray bottle containing ammonia solution
  • Ordinary dish soap
  • Razor knife or blade
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle
  • Steel wool

If you choose the hairdryer method of removing window car tint, then you will have to secure the following items:

  • Ordinary hairdryer
  • Ordinary glass cleaner
  • Clean piece of cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Razor knife or blade

Lastly, if you choose to use the steamer method to remove the tint on your car window, then you will need to prepare the following:

  • Fabric steamer
  • Adhesive remover
  • Water
  • Paper towels or clean piece of cloth

Gathering the different materials and tools needed for the removal of car window tint is just the first step in the process. Once you have everything ready, make sure that these are placed in a work surface that will allow you ready access anytime.

Step 2: Prepare your car and the window to be fixed

The next part of the process is preparing your car. If you have decals or stickers on your car window, you might want to remove them first using any of the above methods and which we will have a more detailed explanation in the next step. This is important as stickers or decals over the surface of the tint can make the removal of the tint film especially tricky. Removing any decals or stickers first should help simplify the process altogether.

If you are going to use any method that requires electricity such as the hairdryer and steamer methods, you will need to have a lengthy electric extension cord. Make sure that it is plugged and grounded well. Also, make sure that it can reach the inside of your car as you’ll be working inside the cabin.

If you will employ the steamer method, now is the best time to prep the steamer so that it will be hot when you start using it on the tint. Also, in any of the techniques that rely on heat, you will have to roll down the windows that you are not working on. If your car has a sunroof, now’s the perfect time to open it. The same is true when using ammonia.

Step 3: Apply the chosen method of tint removal.

Once everything is prepped, it’s time to focus your attention on the actual process of removing the tint on your car window. Our suggestion is for you to always start in the smallest panel first to get a feel of the process. This way, even if you do make mistakes, it will have a very minimal effect on the overall aesthetics of your car. Since there are 5 ways in which you can remove the tint off your car window, we’ll run through them one by one.

  • Soap and scrape technique

Try to gently lift the corner of the tint film using your razor blade. Grasp the freed corner and carefully peel it from the surface of the glass. Be careful not to tear it, otherwise you’d have to lift another corner with your razor.

  • Soap and newspaper method

For this method, you need your own soapy solution. It’s up to you how ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ you want your soapy solution to be. Now spray the soap solution onto the tint film and cover this with newspaper. Leave it at that for about an hour or so. Check the outside surface of the newspaper every 15 or 20 minutes to make sure that it has not dried up. If so, soak it again with the soapy solution. Now, peel off the newspaper using your razor blade. The tint film should have already adhered to the newspaper, making it easy to be removed. If the tint film simply won’t let go of the surface of the glass, then repeat the process.

  • Ammonia and sun method

Prepare your soapy solution in the same manner as you did for the soap and newspaper method. Cut several pieces of plastic garbage bag to cover the inside and outside surfaces of the car window. Spray the soapy solution on the outside of the window and cover this with plastic garbage bag. Now spray the inside surface of the window with ammonia solution and cover again with the plastic bag. Let this setup sit for about an hour or so. After letting it sit, slowly peel off the plastic bag. The tint film should peel off with it. However, there will be instances when certain sections of the tint film are not removed. Get your razor blade and scrape these off.

  • Hairdryer technique

Set your hairdryer on the highest possible setting and direct the air flow on the corner of the tint film you want to peel. Make sure to keep the hairdryer about 2 inches from the surface of the film. The corner should curl up making it a lot easier to peel off. Now carefully peel the rest of the tint while directing hot air into the section between the glass and the tint being peeled off.

  • Steamer technique

As we have already mentioned above, you should already have your fabric steamer ready to go before you reach this step. The procedure is technically the same as in the hairdryer technique except that you need to position the fabric steamer a lot closer to the corner of the tint film, about an inch away. Then direct the steam to the section where the tint is being peeled off from the window surface.

Step 4: Remove the adhesive residue off your car’s window glass.

Removing the tint film inadvertently leaves some of the adhesive residue. There are several ways by which you can remove these sticky leftovers of your car’s window tint.

  • Spray soapy water on the area and carefully scrape off the residue using your razor blade. Keep on spraying soapy solution until all the residue has come off.
  • If you’re using the ammonia and sun method, you can spray the ammonia solution onto the surface and scrape it off with steel wool. Just make sure to do it lightly as this can scratch your glass.
  • If you’re using either the hairdryer or steamer method, simply reapply heat over the area where the residues are and wipe them off with the paper towels.
  • You can also use a commercially available adhesive remover or glass cleaner to help make sure that none of that sticky residue is ever left on your car window.

Step 5: Perform aftercare.

Even if you managed to remove all the sticky adhesive residue, chances are your car’s window will still not look as pristine as it should be. Get a glass cleaner and spray generously across the window surface. Give it a thorough clean using paper towels or even your favorite glass cleaning cloth. Once you’re done, make sure to throw all of your used paper towels and other items in the appropriate waste receptacles. Empty all spray bottles into the drain and flush it generously with water. Make sure all electrical cords used in the process are unplugged and returned to their respective storage.

Give your car a rest from the ordeal while you pat yourself on the back for a job well done. If done properly, you can actually finish removing the window tint of your car in less than an hour.

Sources:

  1. How to Remove Car Window Tint: the Not Messy, Cheap, Easy Way – instructables
  2. Three Ways to Remove Window Tint – ThoughtCo

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