How To: Remove Bumper Stickers
Try to banish an outdated decal the wrong way and you could damage your vehicle’s finish. So put down that razor blade and employ these safe, simple techniques for ridding your ride of stubborn adhesive.
Whether they represent a sports team, your alma mater, or your favorite political candidate, bumper stickers let you stand out on the road. But when your interests change, or you want to sell the car, you’ve often got a sticky mess to contend with. Given that the colorful decals are designed for durability, removing one from your bumper or trunk requires more than elbow grease. Sharp implements like a razor can gouge chrome and scrape off body paint, so these should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, you probably already have the best cleaning agents for the job—so read on to find out how to remove bumper stickers with them and give your car a clean slate.
Can It with Lube
That handy can of WD-40 (or a similar low-cost lubricant) is great on unwanted bumper stickers. After donning safety glasses, spray the superhero solution over all four edges of the bumper sticker and allow five minutes of dwell time. Then, using your fingers, a credit card, or a rubber spatula, lift up a corner and gradually peel off the bumper sticker, keeping it as flat as possible to minimize residue. If areas stick during the process, spray a small amount of WD-40 to the stubborn portion to loosen it up. What little residue remains once the bumper sticker is removed can be wiped away with a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. Apply a fresh coat of wax to the bumper with a car-safe buffer pad (such as Chemical Guys Buffing Pads) to restore shine.
Beat It with Heat
Set a blow dryer to the low heat setting and aim the nozzle six inches from the bumper sticker. (Heat from a shorter distance can erode paint or even melt plastic bumpers!) Then blast away for about a minute, applying heat as evenly as possible to every inch of the bumper sticker. This should sufficiently loosen the bumper sticker, allowing you to lift a corner with a credit card or a rubber spatula.
Once you’ve got your tool under the corner, gradually glide it beneath the paper to remove the bumper sticker. If portions fail to come away during the process, use one hand to apply more heat to the front of the bumper sticker as you peel off the persistent part with your other hand. Wipe away sticker residue with a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol, then follow up by buffing fresh car wax into the bumper with a car-safe buffer pad. To find a quality buffer pad, check out this CarBibles’ review.
Vamoose It with Vinegar
Known for performing cleaning miracles around the house, white vinegar also has potent adhesive-removal properties. Saturate a clean paper towel in a small bowl of white vinegar, then place the towel over the bumper for three to five minutes (the wet towel should adhere on its own, though you can hold it in place with your hand if it slips). As the vinegar soaks into the bumper sticker, it will begin to loosen and lift. Then simply pull up one corner with your fingers, a credit card, or a rubber spatula, and patiently peel it off fully. Banish sticker residue with a clean cloth wet with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol, then top the cleaned area with a fresh coat of wax applied with a buffer pad designed for cars.