Many people tint their windows to protect the inside of their car from fading and damage caused by ultraviolet light exposure. Others use window tint to keep the inside of their car cool or reduce glare caused by headlights or the sun. But eventually, most of us need to learn how to remove window tint quickly and affordably.
There are many situations that call for the removal of window tint. Unfortunately, in most cases this process is either time-consuming, labor intensive, or expensive. Today, we're looking at tips for how to remove window tint without breaking the bank or your back.
What Is Window Tint?
Window tint refers to a transparent sheet of film that has been applied to the inside of a vehicle's windows. There are many reasons why people tint their windows.
Law enforcement vehicles have tinted windows to protect the privacy of the officers. Here are some reasons why civilians tint the windows on their cars:
This is commonly found on the vehicles of people who live in unsafe neighborhoods. If people can't see the valuables in their vehicle, their vehicle is less likely to be broken into.
Keep Your Car Cool
Window tint is also common in the south, where it is hot most of the year. After just an hour in the sun, the steering wheel of a vehicle can reach 141 degrees.
In the same amount of time, the air in the cabin can become nearly as hot. Tinted windows keep the interior of your vehicle, including the dashboard, steering wheel, seats and general cabin air, cooler.
Just a reduction of 20 degrees makes a significant difference when you live in a high-humidity area.
Protect Your Vehicle's Interior
Many people who purchase their vehicle new choose to tint their windows. Window tint protects the interior of the car, from the dashboard to the steering wheel, seats and center console from fading due to the sun's harmful UV rays.
Is There A Need To Remove Window Tint?
There are many reasons why someone may want to know how to remove window tint. Among these are local laws, old window tint, mismatched window tint, and impaired vision.
Many people purchase cars without knowing that their window tint is too dark. Many municipalities have a limit to how dark your window tint can be because local law enforcement officers need to see into your car to remain safe.
Old, Peeling Window Tint
Another common reason for needing to know how to remove window tint is if you bought a car with old, peeling window tint.
This is esthetically unappealing. If you ever plan on selling your vehicle, the market value will drop if your window tint is old and peeling or cracked.
Mismatched Window Tint
Everyone makes mistakes, including professionals. But if you bought a car with the front and rear windshields tinted, you probably want to tint the windows on your doors.
It is unfortunately common that the other windows on your car will not match the windows on your car that are already tinted.
Mismatched window tint also happens fairly often when you replace a single door or windshield after a motor vehicle collision.
Regardless of why you end up with mismatched window tint, you don't want to drive around with a piecemeal car.
Tinted windows can certainly add to the esthetic of a vehicle. It protects the interior from UV damage during the day.
It can even reduce harsh glare during the day from the sun or emergency vehicle lights. Unfortunately, window tint may also reduce the functionality of the car.
The problem with extremely dark window tint is that it can impair your night vision. This can make your vehicle unsafe to drive at night.
Unfortunately, you may have had your window tint applied by professionals and you have only just discovered that your night vision is impaired by the level of tint in your car.
In this case, you need to know how to remove window tint so you can get a new window tint that doesn't keep out too much light.
5 Tips On How To Remove Window Tint
Removing window tint is fairly labor intensive. However, there are some things you can do to make life a little easier for you.
The best method for how to remove window tint depends on your budget, so today we're looking at both inexpensive and pricier options.
Our five favorite methods for de-tinting windows are using ammonia or alcohol, harnessing the heat of direct sunlight, using a portable steamer, getting help from a friend, and using a razor blade.
Tip 1: Use Ammonia Or Alcohol
Ammonia is a great way to make removing window tint easier. However, ammonia is toxic, so you'll need proper PPE, or personal protective equipment.
While 70% or 91% isopropyl alcohol is slightly less toxic than spray ammonia, you should still wear the same PPE to ensure your maximum safety. Besides the ammonia or alcohol spray, you will need:
- Goggles or safety glasses
- Vinyl or latex gloves
Goggles or safety glasses are essential because they protect your eyes from any overspray that may occur. If you don't open your car doors to vent the fumes, you will need a respirator rated for either ammonia or alcohol, depending on what you decide to use.
This will protect your nervous system from potential toxic damage. Finally, it's important that you don't use nitrite gloves to protect your hands.
The ammonia may eat through them. When it comes to personal protection from chemical damage, it's always best to play it safe.
Tip 2: Get Steamy
Depending on the time of year, you may prefer to work in a garage rather than outside. A portable steamer is a great way to accelerate the window de-tinting process.
If you don't already have a portable steamer to remove wrinkles from clothes or drapes, this tip can be a little expensive.
If you have a steamer that needs to be plugged in, you may need an extension cord to get power to your steamer.
Be sure to have plenty of water on hand so you don't run out in the middle of the project.
Using a portable steamer is cleaner than spraying ammonia and safer than using a heat gun to heat up your window tint's adhesive.
If your window tint is adhered to the interior of the window, you'll want to be careful about using steam in the enclosed space of your vehicle's cabin. We strongly recommend opening the doors of the space you're working in.
Be gentle when you start to tear off the tint. If you pull too aggressively or quickly, you risk tearing it.
If this happens, you'll have to start over with a fresh edge. Luckily, removing window tint after destroying the adhesive with steam is easy once you get it started.
Tip 3: Use A Friend
This is the most fool-proof method for de-tinting your windows faster. It works great with the other four tips.
To make sure you don't get in each other's way, have your friend work on the back of the car while you work on the front.
The work will be done in half the time, and you have the perfect excuse for pizza and beer once you're done.
Tip 4: Harness The Power Of The Sun
Harnessing the power of the sun is the cheapest method for making it easier to remove window tint. This tip is most effective if you live in an area with frequent sunshine throughout the day.
This tip works because the thin film that is window tint is applied to your glass through an adhesive. Like most other glues, when you apply heat, this adhesive loses its grip on the surface of your window.
Cut out two pieces from a black garbage bag approximately the size of the window you want to de-tint. There should be a small amount of overlap.
Apply a bit of gentle soapy water so the first plastic rectangle sticks to the window.
Then, spray a bit of ammonia onto the inside window and stick the second plastic rectangle on the inside of the glass.
Park in direct sunlight for an hour. The concentrated heat of the sun through the black plastic garbage bag should have worked with the adhesive-eating power of ammonia to destroy the adhesive. You can now remove your window tint with ease.
Tip 5: Get Razor Sharp
Use a sharp razor blade to make it easier to de-tint your windows. When used correctly, it won't damage your windows and is far more effective than using a utility knife or your fingernails.
The hardest part about the window-tint removal process is getting it started. To make the overall process as easy as possible, you'll want to get a good clean strip un-adhered.
If you accomplish this, it becomes extremely easy to peel off the rest of the window tint. Using a razor blade is the perfect way to achieve this.
It's also a good idea, regardless of the window tint removal method you use, to make a final pass over the glass with a razor blade. This ensures there are no wayward spots of adhesive or tint left.
An ammonia-based glass cleaner will go a long way in making sure that the interior of your car windows are completely clean. We recommend doing this after you've done your final pass with the razor blade.
Bonus Tip: Potential Next Steps
There's a good chance that you'll want to re-tint your windows at some point in the future. Before you have your new window tint applied, remember to research the VLT (visible light transmission) levels in your county.
If you're having a professional tint your windows, don't neglect doing your due diligence. Research material type options and any company you're thinking about using.
Now that you know how to remove window tint, what are you waiting for? Carve some time into your schedule, grab a friend and harness the heat of the sun to make removing window tint a breeze.
Just don't forget to run a razor blade across the windows one last time and clean the glass with an ammonia-based cleaner when you're done.