Tips And Tricks For Removing Old Bumper Stickers

Posted on: 26 January 2016


Whether you "brake for gnomes" or want to tell everyone in traffic about your straight-A student or your recent triumph over the half-marathon, there comes a time when you'll want or need to get rid of your old bumper stickers. If you've recently bought a used car, there's also a chance that you don't want to be stick with the previous owner's love of tacos or other quirky catchphrases. The following shows how you can get rid of those bumper stickers with little to no fuss.  

Going Natural

Did you know that you can use vinegar to remove bumper stickers? Vinegar's acidic properties allow it to work away at most adhesives, including those used on bumper stickers. Simply soak a small towel in a bowl of undiluted white vinegar and place the towel directly on the bumper sticker for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also apply the vinegar with a paintbrush or use a spray bottle, just as long as it's applied directly on the sticker.

As the adhesive softens up, carefully peel the sticker away from the vehicle. You can also use vinegar to clean up leftover residue.

You can also use boiling water to remove a stubborn bumper sticker. Simply pour a pot of the stuff over the bumper sticker and wait a couple of minutes for it to soak through. Afterwards, you should be able to peel the sticker off the vehicle.

The Heat is On

Another way you can easily remove an old bumper sticker is by applying heat directly to the bumper sticker itself. Heating the sticker softens the adhesive underneath, making it easier to remove. You'll need a hair dryer or a heat gun for this task. Keep in mind that the latter is likely to heat up the surface faster than the former, so care should be taken to avoid damaging the paint underneath.

If you're using a hair dryer, hold it 6 inches away from the sticker. If you're using a heat gun, it should be held at least 8 inches away from the sticker. Apply even heat to the sticker by sweeping either device in a back-and-forth motion. Keep this up for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sticker adhesive becomes soft enough to peel away.

Carefully peel the sticker, applying heat as needed. Once the sticker is removed, you can use a plastic spatula or putty knife to remove any remaining residue.

Chemical Warfare

There are also plenty of chemical products out there that'll help remove bumper stickers and any residue they leave behind. For instance, certain water-displacing solvents can break down bumper sticker adhesives. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to clean up sticky leftover residue. Dedicated bumper sticker removal products are the best of the lot, since they're specially formulated for this very purpose.

Keep in mind that not all of these chemicals are safe for your car's paint finish. Always check with the product manufacturer to see if the chemical in question can be safely used on vehicle finishes before using any chemical.

What Not to Do

In spite of other, safer methods of removing bumper stickers and the residue they leave behind, it's not unusual to see people using razor blades or gasoline to remove bumper stickers. However, there's a good reason why you should avoid these methods, as it can cause damage to your vehicle as well as create an unsafe work environment:

  • Using a razor blade to scrape away the bumper sticker itself or leftover residue could increase your chances of scratching and damaging the paint finish. You're better off using a plastic spatula or your fingers for bumper sticker removal.
  • Physical contact with gasoline and exposure to its fumes has several health risks. In addition, it can also strip away the top coat and even the underlying paint from your vehicle. 

When it comes to any auto body project, it's always a good idea to play it safe. If there's a bumper sticker that's resisting all efforts to remove it, you may want to have an auto body professional take a crack at it. Pop over to this web-site to learn more about this and other auto body issues.