How To Remove Window Tint – 6 Easy to Use Methods, Take Your Pick

From giving you privacy to protecting you from the sun, the best car window tints help to keep you comfortable while you drive. But like everything else in your vehicle, tints deteriorate with time and have to be removed and replaced.

The life of your car window tints can vary according to their quality, the sunlight they get, and the quality of the installation. So the sunnier it gets where you live, the sooner you’ll have to replace them.

An easy way to know when to change them is if they start turning purple or you see bubbles under the film.

These changes can make your windows look ugly and old. But the good news is you can remove them by yourself at home without having to pay a professional to do it.

car window tint being removed by mechanic

In this article on how to remove window tint, we’ll go over some methods you can use to remove it completely, at home, including residue and leave your windows tint and glue-free.

Why would you take the trouble of doing it yourself, you might ask? Well, to sum it up: MONEY. Pricing varies, but pros usually charge around $25 per window, while quality tint removal services for your windows can cost you as much as $400.

But don’t worry just yet. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll know when and how you can remove your old window tints safely using everyday tools and materials found in your own house.

Now, let’s get started!

When Should I Remove my Window Tint?

The life of tint film varies according to many factors, but the quality is one of the most important ones.

Cheap tints start showing signs of wear only a few months after installation, especially if you live in a hot or humid area.

Under normal conditions, quality tint film will last around two years. Other types, like Hybrid films, can last five years or more. Sputtered or deposited window film can last up to 10 years, and sometimes even longer.

The easiest way to know when to change your window tints is to see if it’s turning purple or creating bubbles under the film. Tints turn purple when the non-metallic dyes in the film start to break down. Bubbles, on the other hand, happen when the glue used between the window and the field starts to fail.

Neither of these symptoms will damage your window, but once one bubble or purple spot appear many more will follow. And since damaged window tints could get you a “fix-it” ticket by a police officer, you should remove and change your tints as soon as they start wearing off.

Can I Remove my Window Tint by myself?

Yes! Removing tints is much easier than installing them. Plus, doing it on your own will save you a lot of money you can put to better use elsewhere — particularly if you plan to install a new one.

Unless your tints came with a warranty, you’d probably need to pay some serious money for a professional removal if you don’t want to do it yourself.

However, all you need to remove your tints is some free time and a can-do attitude. Chances are you have all the materials you need in your garage or kitchen, so once you know the method, you’ll be able to remove all of your window tints in a single afternoon.

How To Remove Window Tint – 6 DIY Methods

Unless your windows have a factory tint dye, the tint film is glued to the window using some adhesive.

But even if you can peel it off with your own hands, this wouldn’t get rid of the adhesive on your windows.

So, at worst, you’d have a sticky mess over them instead of the purple/bubbly tint.

To avoid this, you can choose from several methods to effectively remove your tints.

Which one is right for you will depend on many factors, such as climate conditions, how soon you plan to use your car again, or what tools and materials you have at hand.

Method 1: Soap and Scrape

This is a good option if the area you’re cleaning is small and you don’t mind getting arm-weary. Besides being quick and easy to apply, you probably have all the tools you need in your hand.

The only downside of this method is you’ll get tired quickly – so forget about removing and cleaning the tint from your larger windows, like your windshield or back glass.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • Soapy water
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Razor blade or knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Lots of water

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Use your fingernails or a sharp knife to lift a corner. Scrape softly around the edges of the corner as you slowly lift the tint and pull it down.

Step 2: Separate a good amount of film from the glass before you grasp it firmly and start peeling it down. Be careful but don’t worry if it breaks or tears. Just repeat the process and try to peel it off in a single piece. Keep repeating this step until all the tint has come off.

Step 3: Use a mild detergent or dish soap and water to create a soapy mix. Fill your spray bottle with it and spray it generously over the window. This will help you to wash away all the glue left after you peeled off the window tint film.

Step 4: Use your razor blade or knife to scrape off the glue. Be careful when using a removable razor blade, since the soap makes it easier for it to slip from your fingers and cut you. Try to grab it using a piece of cloth so you can have a better grip and avoid cutting yourself.

Step 5: Keeps your window moist using your soapy mix to avoid scratching the glass and to make your job easier.

Step 6: Finish by cleaning your window with glass cleaner and wiping it off with paper towels. This will both give a fresh look to it and help you spot any adhesive you might have skipped.

Method 2: Soap and Newspaper

This method takes a bit more time than others but is a good way to make the tint come off easily. Using newspapers to keep the tint wet helps to loosen the glue so you won’t need to put too much force to scrap and clean the adhesive from the window.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • Detergent or dish soap
  • Old newspapers
  • Razor blade
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Water

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Grab your bucket and mix water and soap in it. Stir it up vigorously to create plenty of foam and use your sponge to spread it over the window. Cover the area with newspaper as soon as you finish.

Step 2: Leave the newspaper soaking over your window for about an hour. Use your sponge to apply soap to the newspaper every 20 minutes to make sure it keeps the tint moist.

Step 3: Take the razor blade and scrap along the edges of the film using long strokes. It should come off easily, but if it doesn’t try again in another corner.

Step 4: If the tint still doesn’t come off you’ll need to repeat the process until the glue gives away. Repeat the process by soaking the window, covering with newspaper, and waiting another half hour.

Step 5: Peel off the tint which should come easily now and scrape whatever adhesive remains left over your window.

Step 6: Apply a window cleaner and then dry it off with a clean cloth or towel.

Method 3: Ammonia, Trash Bags, and Sun

This method uses ammonia and a sunny day to remove the glue from your windows in no time. As long as the day is warm and you don’t plan on driving for the next few days, you’ll save yourself a lot of work using this chemical option.

Ammonia leaves a beautiful shine in your window like no other tint removal method does. But be careful when working with this chemical and always wear a mask to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes it emits.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • Undiluted Ammonia
  • Black garbage bags
  • Spray bottle
  • Soapy water
  • Face mask
  • Razor blade
  • Cloth, tarp, plastic, or something else to cover your upholstery with.
  • Very fine steel wool
  • Glass cleaner
  • Scissors
  • Soft cloth
  • A hot, sunny day

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Park your car outside and make sure the sun is shining directly over the window you’ll be working on.

Step 2: Use your scissors to cut your black trash bags in the form of your window. Moist the outer side of your window with soapy water and then cover it with one of your shaped trash bags.

Step 3: Use the razor blade to cut any excess plastic and make sure there are no air pockets left between the bag and the window. This will trap all the heat between the plastic bag and the window, making it easier to remove the film.

Step 4: Now you’ll work from inside of the window. But before you do, make sure you cover all the interior surfaces with a cloth or tarp to avoid damaging your upholstery. Put your mask on and spray the undiluted ammonia over the inner side of your window.

Step 5: Make sure the inner window is completely wet with ammonia before you cover it with the other plastic bag. Leave the door open and your window resting so the ammonia and heat can soften the glue.

Step 6: Wait about an hour before you take off the trash bags and start peeling off the film. Use your razor blade to lift one corner of the film without damaging the defroster lines and try to take it off in one go. Keep the window moist with ammonia top stop the glue from getting hard again.

Step 7: Remove any adhesive left using super-fine steel wool and ammonia. Then dry off the window using paper towels.

Step 8: Lastly, finish by using glass cleaner to give the window a good shine.

Method 4: Hairdryer

Using a hairdryer is another simple way to get rid of your old window tints. The heat produced by the dryer is just what you need to soften the adhesive in your window and make it easy for you to peel off the tint.

However, the method is also a bit messy. So be ready to do a lot of cleaning after.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • Hairdryer
  • Adhesive remover
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth
  • Razor blade
  • Windex or another hard-surface cleaner
  • Latex gloves

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Set your hairdryer to hot and aim it to the inner side of your window. Start by loosening the upper corner making sure you’re not burning the tint. You should be holding the hairdryer some 2 inches away from the window. Do this for about 30 seconds before you try peeling the tint with a razor blade.

Step 2: Once the tint is hot enough, try to peel it off in one go if possible. If it won’t come off, keep it warm with the hairdryer and peel it off in sections.

Step 3: Pour adhesive remover in the spray bottle and use it to cover the whole window. Leave it sitting for 10 minutes before you remove it.

Step 4: Take the razor blade and remove any glue rests left on the window. Clean the glass with Windex and use a towel to dry it off.

Method 5: Heat Gun

You can also pick your heat gun from your toolbox and use it to remove the window tint if the weather is too chilly to use another method.

These tools produce a lot of heat which makes it easy to peel off a window quickly. However, be careful you don’t overdo your windows and end up creating a mess which will be harder to clean.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • A heat gun
  • Steel wool pads
  • Adhesive remover
  • Cotton Rags
  • Razor blades
  • Razor casing handle
  • Window cleaner
  • Paper towels

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Point your heat gun on the outer side of the window, making sure to keep it 4-6 inches away from the glass. Don’t use the heat gun from the inside as this will create enough heat to melt the tint and make it merge with the window.

Step 2: After the window is warm enough, start peeling off a corner of the tint from inside. Take your time and try to take the whole tint in one piece if you can. Make sure you alternate between heating the window and pulling the tint, so the adhesive doesn’t have time to settle back.

Step 3: Use the razor to remove any small piece of tint left in the glass. Focus the hairdryer on the area to make it easier to scrape off any tint left.

Step 4: Cover the window with liquid adhesive remover and let it sit on the glass for 10-12 minutes before you take it off.

Step 5: Pick back the razor and use it to scrape off the adhesive. Keep scraping and wiping the loose adhesive and remover with the steel wool until the whole window is clean.

Step 6: If the window still has glue left, keep applying remover and scraping it until it’s completely clean.

Step 7: Finish your window with a bit of window cleaner and then rub it with paper towels to wash off any residue and give it a good shine.

Method 6: Steamer

Using a good car steam cleaner will save you a ton of time and trouble.

Unlike other heating methods, steamers can soften the adhesive without risking burning the tint.

Steamers produce less heat than a heat gun but can distribute it across the window more efficiently.

Materials and tools you’ll need

  • Adhesive remover
  • Steamer
  • Water
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Fill the steamer with water and let it warm up until you see it steaming.

Step 2: Start by heating the corner of your window. Keep the steamer’s attachment close to the window, about one inch away. Keep aiming it at the corner area for about a minute or until you feel the tint loosening from the corner.

Step 3: Use one hand to hold the tint and slowly pull it down while you keep aiming the steamer with the other. Keep the window hot by constantly heating it with the steamer.

Step 4: After removing all of the tint, clean the window using a clean piece of cloth or paper towels. Then apply adhesive remover all over the glass and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe it off with paper towels.

What Are Some Other Tips I Can Use?

Removing window tint isn’t rocket science. With a bit of free time and will you can do it too. However, there are some tips you can follow to save time and avoid having to do the same work twice.

  1. Do it slowly. The first thing we always recommend is taking your time. The tint is professionally glued to your window. If you try to rip it off too hard with one stroke, you’ll only end up tearing it into little pieces, which will make your job much more difficult.
  2. Be careful with the defroster and antenna lines. Some people damage their defroster or antenna lines when working on the rear windows with a razor. This won’t happen if you take your time. But to be sure, you can use duct tape to lift the tint instead of using the razor blade.
  3. Try to use a steamer. They’re not very expensive, and you can find ones as cheap as $15. A steamer will save you time but also means you won’t need to use a razor blade to finish picking up the adhesive from the glass. Something your car’s defrosters and the antenna will appreciate!

Wrapping It Up

Well kept window tints keep you comfortable while you drive. Not only do they give you shade and privacy, but they make a difference in how your vehicle looks. Remember that no matter how well polished your car is, it wouldn’t look good if your window tints are old and raggedy.

Removing your tints by yourself will allow you to save a lot of money — even hundreds of dollars! Money that you can use to put new tints back on, go out and spend during the weekend, or spend them on whatever other items you’d like.

Remember to use whichever method suits you better. If you only need to remove a window, using soap and scrape or newspapers should be enough.

Sunny days make it easy to work on several windows if you use ammonia and trash bags, but if you live in a cold area, then heat or steam is the way to go.

Does the world look purple and bubbly while you drive? Trust me; it looks worse from the outside. Follow these useful tips to remove your old tints, and you’ll have windows that you can be proud of!

Oh, almost forgot – since you’re already here taking care of your windows and all, have you checked out our useful guide on how to clean car windows yet?

Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars.Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned.Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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