If you have a piece of furniture with vinyl graphics that you are trying to sell, you may be wondering how to remove vinyl lettering. Removing vinyl lettering may not be as difficult as you might think. The method you use will depend on several factors like location (like glass, walls, etc.), how long it has been there, and externalities that might impact its removal. With a few easy steps, you can clean your old vinyl graphics and replace them with new ones.
Things to consider
Place: The most important factor is where the vinyl letters are. Vinyl is popularly found on metal, plastic surfaces, glass, and painted walls. The location affects how you remove vinyl lettering since the same tool might not work on each surface.
For instance, painted walls will require careful cleaning using a few steps that are mentioned below. It is relatively simpler to remove graphics from glass surfaces since you do not need to worry about scratching or making dents. If you have letters on interior walls, use an adhesive remover that causes minimum damage to your walls.
How Long It Has Been There: If your vinyl lettering has been staying for a long time, you may find it breaking into pieces when you attempt to remove it. This may require some more effort on your part. On the other hand, if you have just applied vinyl lettering and are trying to clean it, it may come off easier.
External elements: Externalities like weather can impact how smoothly you can remove vinyl. If you are wondering how to remove vinyl lettering from car windows exposed to rain and sun, then this might be a challenge for you. This is because weather conditions may have made the vinyl more brittle. In such cases, a heat gun or adhesive remover may be more useful.
Tools to use
Depending on the type of surface, there are several low cost and expensive tools that you can use to get rid of vinyl lettering:
1. Soap and water: The easiest way you can remove vinyl graphics from your favorite desk is by using soap and water solution. Soak a cloth in the solution and use it to gently wipe away the letters. If you were searching for an easy remedy of how to remove vinyl lettering, this is your option.
2. Razor blades or plastic chisel: Plastic razor blades or chisels allows you to scrape off graphics. Use these thin, handy objects by sliding them underneath the letters and scraping them away slowly. Try not to damage the object on which the letters are written. You can use a Lil Chizler to pry up the edges and peel away the rest of the lettering by hand.
If the graphics are younger or more pliable in nature, then they may come off easier and in large sections. If they are older, they are more likely to be brittle and will come off in smaller pieces. Old vinyl could be removed by using a heat gun which will warm up the film facing you. The heat gun can also make the adhesive underneath softer and lower the amount of effort required to clean the object.
3. Residue removing tools: There are several options for removing adhesive vinyl graphics. However, many of these options include chemicals which are toxic to both humans and the environment. The ideal solvent options are oranges or solvents that contain citrus. Oranges are effective graphic removers, safe to humans, and not harmful for the environment. These residue removers are processed from the by-products of orange juices and recycle plenty of waste. D-limonene is the active ingredient in citrus based solvents which is also used in food supplements.
Rapid remover is another residue removing solution which is widely used by professional vinyl sign makers. It decomposes and removes adhesives in a ‘rapid’ amount of time, which is usually about 60 seconds. Use your chisel first and scrape away bits of lettering. Next, spray Rapid remover on the surface. Give a few minutes for the remover to penetrate the adhesive and clean up the residue using a paper towel.
4. Heat gun: A blow dryer or a heat gun will be an effective option for removing stubborn vinyl graphics. Apply a little heat on the vinyl letters to make them malleable. This will make the letters soft and therefore easily removable. Use soapy water and a wet cloth to wipe away the letters. Make sure that the surface is clean and dry before you apply new vinyl lettering.
5. Mechanical tools: If you are looking to remove vinyl graphics from a large concrete wall or a fleet of vehicles, you may need to use more efficient and powerful tools. Devices like a stripe eliminator or a vinyl zapper may help you in this process.
A stripe eliminator consists of a rubber wheel which needs to be attached to an electric or air power drill. It is easy to use, has a smooth edge, and can remove the adhesive without causing discoloration or burns on the surface of the object. It is also affordable to purchase.
A vinyl zapper has been exclusively made for the purpose of removing vinyl graphics from any surface. This product consists of a motor wheel which can be held and maneuvered by hand. It functions on home current and has a high rotation speed. It has a strong wheel made up of a rubber product that removes the vinyl effectively from surfaces such as glass, metal, or walls without damaging the surface.
The vinyl zapper’s rubber teeth cling on to the vinyl graphic and pull it away from the surface on which it has been applied. The vinyl eraser removes all tape, adhesives, lettering, and graphics. Unlike other products, it can create heat but does not harm the surface profusely.
6. Liquid removers: Liquid removers make for effective choices that can erase vinyl lettering in a single step. You can apply these removers directly on the surface that needs cleaning. It will penetrate the surface thereby softening the adhesive and allowing you to pull off the graphics with one movement of your hand.
This method takes a bit longer than Rapid remover since it permeates the vinyl. it takes approximately fifteen minutes to have an impact following which you can easily peel of the graphic layers. This procedure works best with smoother surfaces instead of hard concrete structures.
7. Steam: Another method that you can use to clean vinyl is steam. Steam functions remarkably well on hard surfaces. It also works well on areas that are more difficult and tough to access. Steam is easy to use, safe, and non-corrosive. Steam pads used at low temperatures can be used to make the vinyl softer. These leave behind a lesser residual adhesive which gives you a cleaner surface.
There are several ways in which you can effectively remove vinyl lettering from both easy and stubborn surfaces. The kind of option you use for vinyl removal depends largely on what kind of surface you have and how much you are willing to spend on vinyl removal. If you are on a budget, you can always opt for the less expensive options listed above.