Last Updated: 27.11.2021

You expect your window tint to last pretty long, right?

Well, that’s not usually the case because there are some variable factors at work. How long your window tint can last depends mostly on the type and quality of the tint, the amount of direct sunlight your vehicle is exposed to, and the climate your car has to bear.

All these factors could cause your window tint to bubble, and discolor, among other things. And you’re left with no choice but to remove it.

What happens then is you are left with stubborn window tint glue. Worry not because we’ll guide you on how to remove window tint glue using simple tips and tricks.

Keep on reading to learn more!

What Is a Window Tint?

man measuring a window tint of a car for installation

This is a multi-layered, thin material that is usually applied to a vehicle’s window for privacy and aesthetic appeal as well as for protection against glare, heat, and direct UV rays. The different types of window tints include:

Ceramic Window Tint

This is a multi-layered car window tint that features microscopic ceramic particles.

These particles are nonconductive and that’s what makes this unique type of tint so good at blocking UVB and UVA. Cell phone signal strength is not affected because this film doesn’t contain metals. Not to mention that the ceramic film provides great heat protection when infused with IR blocking technology.

Carbon Window Tint

This film is made of nano-carbon particles and doesn’t contain any dyes. These particles have exceptional color retention and they don’t have any metals, which means they will not affect the performance of cell phones and radios.

With this tint, you get a matte finish with a dark appearance, which we think has great aesthetic appeal. The unique properties of carbon can block up to forty percent of IR heat. Generally, carbon window tints provide a long-lasting appearance before they start fading or bubbling.

Metalized Window Tints

This film is infused with tiny metallic particles, which do a great job of reflecting heat away.

reflection in the rear window with tint of a car

You get a shiny or reflective appearance as well as protection against extended UV exposure. With metalized films, you get superior shatter resistance in case of a crash. But the thing is, they tend to interfere with the performance of GPS systems, cell phones, and even the radio in your vehicle.

Dyed Window Tint

If you want to add a window film for aesthetic reasons and a little bit of protection from the sun’s rays, then you can consider dyed window tints. The tint is infused with dye, which is prone to fading and discoloration over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight.

Why Do You Need to Remove Window Tint?

It doesn’t matter how good a window tint is, it will wear out at some point. Here are the top reasons why you would want to remove your window tint:

Aesthetic Reasons

You could consider removing the window tint of your car if you want a different look. The removal of the film can be quite a challenge if the current tint is in pristine condition because the adhesive is still strong.

Bubbling

Why is my window tint bubbling? There’s a couple of answers to this question.

The first one is the quality of the film. A poor-quality tint will only last you a few years and then start bubbling or peeling. The second one is time. If you are exposing your vehicle to the sun every day, your tint will degrade at some point.

It is made mostly of plastic and adhesive. So, every day your car is in the hot sun, your window film heats up, and it’s going to start bubbling and peeling.

Poor Sun Protection

One of the main reasons for installing window tints is to improve protection from harmful UV sun rays. You also get a reliable shield against the sun’s heat. But, old window films provide poor sun protection.

Discoloration

Another common reason for removing the window tint is discoloration. Over time, some window films fade and turn purplish, although not all tints will face this fate. However, constant exposure to UV radiation can cause non-metallic dyes to break down.

Darker Than What the Law Allows

Window tint shades upgrade your aesthetic allure, but different states have different window tint laws regarding how dark your film should be. For this reason, you may find yourself in a legal situation that requires you to remove the current darker tints and install a less dark shade.

How to Remove Window Tint & Glue

Here are the most reliable methods of removing window tint and glue:

Heat Removal Method

This is one of the easiest methods you can consider as long as you’ve got a heat gun or a hairdryer.

What You Need

  • Heat gun or hairdryer
  • A multi-purpose window tint removal toolset
  • Paper towels
  • Steel wool pads
  • Car window cleaner

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Heat the Tint
heat the tint

The first thing you need to do is heat the window glass and tint on both sides. This helps melt the adhesive that is holding the tint to the window. Position the hairdryer or heat gun two inches from the window glass for effective heating.

Step 2: Peel the Tint from the Window
peel out the tint

We recommend you start peeling from the corner of the window because it is the easiest point to start detaching. Use a scraper to start peeling off the film. Keep on heating the glass from the opposite side as you pull off the film. Avoid using excessive force when peeling out the tint.

Step 3: Remove the Glue Residue on the Window
remove the glue residue on the window

Once the film is out, the next important thing to do is to remove the glue residue. For this step, you need a car window cleaner. Spray the window with the cleaner, including the edges.

Let the cleaner soak the glue for a few minutes. Grab your scraper and start scraping. Don’t worry you will not scratch your window. 

Be thorough with your scraping to effectively remove all the glue. Try to push your window to get under the door seal.

Grab paper towels or a rag and wipe the glue and cleaner off the window. That’s it, you’re done and ready to apply a new tint.

Steam Cleaning Method

Steam cleaning is a very convenient method for removing old window tint and glue. You can even decide to clean your upholstery with the steam cleaner.

What You Need

  • Steam cleaner
  • Window scraper or straight razor
  • Window cleaner
  • Paper towels

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Steam the Window
steam the window

Start by filling the steamer with water and then power it up. Use your scraper or straight razor to peel off a small portion of the tint from one of the upper edges.

Then start steaming the window from up going down. Don’t try going too fast because the great thing about this method is that the glue sticks to the film, which means you may not have glue residue to deal with once the tint is off.

Step 2: Start Peeling Off the Tint
start peeling off the tint

We thought the most ideal thing would be to pull off the entire film at once, but that wasn’t the best way to go about it. We realized the best way is to pull the tint bit by bit. Keep on steaming as you gently pull out the film. You may have to steam the edges for longer periods to effectively pull out the tint.

Step 3: Wipe the Window
wipe the window

Unlike the heat removal method, the steaming technique rarely leaves behind any glue residue. All you usually need to do to finish up things is to use paper towels or a clean towel to wipe the steam off the window.

Trash Bag and Sun Method

This is another simple technique that doesn’t need any special skills to pull off. Just a few basic things to do.

What You Need

  • Trash bag
  • The sun
  • A wiping cloth

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Wipe Off Any Debris or Dirt
wipe off any debris or dirt

Start by wiping off any dirt or debris from the window. You can use a clean piece of cloth for this step.

Step 2: Set Up the Trash Bag
set up the trash bag

Wet the window of your car and start laying down the trash bag. Make sure the trash bag is as flat as possible after laying it on the window. Trim the excess bag leaving an inch or two outside the edges. This will not only give you full coverage but also overlap. Also, spray the backside of the window with a degreaser and then mount another trash bag.

Step 3: Place the Car in the Sun
place the car in the sun

Park your car in the sun and leave it there for about half an hour.

Step 4: Peel Off the Film
peel off the film

The film should be ready for peeling after around 30 minutes. Just start from one of the edges as you move towards the middle and out to the other side of the window. If done correctly, this method will not leave glue residue on the window.

What You Can Use to Remove Window Tint Glue

Now you know how to remove window tint. What about the glue that remains on the window? Here are quick tips to help you learn how to remove window tint glue:

Alcohol

The easiest way to get rid of that stubborn glue after removing your old window tint is by using 90% isopropyl alcohol. All you’ve got to do is pour a small amount of the alcohol on paper towels or a piece of cloth and use it to wipe off the glue.

Nail Polish Remover

If it can remove nail polish, then it is strong enough to remove unwanted glue residue on your car window. We recommend you use this product with a microfiber cloth to get rid of the glue.

Window Cleaner

You can use a window cleaner to remove the glue from the glass. But you will first have to spray the window with the cleaner to soak the glue before wiping it off.

Hot Soapy Water

You can use hot soapy water with a scraper to get rid of the glue. Just wet the window with hot soapy water and use the scraper to remove the glue.

Adhesive Remover

Adhesive or glue remover is a substance that is specifically formulated to break down the glue for easy and quick removal. You will just have to wait for a few minutes after the application and then wipe off the glue.

FAQs

Can I use vinegar to clean window tints?

Yes, as long as you dilute it in water. It works pretty well on hard water, smudges, and fingerprints.

Can scraping damage my car window?

You will not scratch or damage your window if you first soak the glue with a window cleaner or hot soapy water before scraping.

The Bottom Line

As you have seen, it’s easy to learn how to remove window tint glue after peeling out your old film.

Removing glue residue is easy when using alcohol, window cleaner, adhesive remover, and nail polish among other substances that we have mentioned in this guide. But you can avoid the glue residue problem by using steam or trash bag techniques to remove your old window tint.