Removing window tint adhesive

I recently bought a used auto that’s had window-tint film applied to the side windows an unknown number of years ago – the car is 20. Since nothing lasts forever the film has started peeling from the bottom, thanks to the seals at the top of the door frame.

I foolishly peeled* the film from the driver’s side window; part of it came off clean, part left the adhesive behind on the glass, adhesive which promptly turned translucent. This makes seeing traffic from the side and in the outside mirror problematic so I attempted to clean it off using Goo-Gone – didn’t touch it.

Looking at the poison panel I see it lists petroleum distillate and d-limonene. Is there something more robust out there I can use?

*It was kind of cathartic in a way, like peeling sunburn.

I’d try acetone. However, any liquid will work better if allowed to sit. I recommend rolling the car on its side. Or I suppose you could take the glass out.

I scraped a double layer of tint from a car once. It came off the glass clean but fragmented into 99^99 tiny slivers that stuck around for years.

Try calling an automotive window tint applying shop and asking them.

Or ask at a traditional hardware store or a Lowes. Home Depot doesnt count.

Goof Off! Brand is my next step up when Goo Gone doesn’t work. It is a little touching on surfaces though so be careful with drips.

The adhesive is likely an acrylic and probably x-linked so it isn’t going to be very soluble in any solvent. As someone suggested, I’d try acetone, but with a little scraping with a razor blade.

I shall give that suggestion all the consideration it is due.

It’s a bit tacky so I doubt it’s fully cross-linked. If it is though, acetone won’t touch it any more. I guess Goof Off is next.


This may or may not be relevant but I recently had to remove some film from my house’s front door and I used a heat gun.

Yes, this is the method I used, from a YouTube video (sorry, but this was several years ago, and there are a lot of them). As I recall, you heat the film with a hair dryer and then slowly peel it off. It’s tedious, but not nearly as bad as using a scraper and is less likely to damage the windows. The YouTuber I remember mentioned that frequent applications of beer to the mouth of the human doing the work helped considerably.

Have you tried water? The universal solvent?

Try this. Take four paper towels and saturate them with water with liquid dish detergent (like you were to wash dishes in the sink). Back them up with one layer of plastic (like grocery bag or trash bag) and tape them to the window with clear packing tape. Leave in the sun for a few hours, then remove. See if that doesn’t looses it up.

If it isn’t soluble in petroleum, then acetone, toluene, or other aromatic hydrocarbons aren’t likely to touch it. My understanding is that the guys who apply the film use a spray bottle filled with soapy water. That should remove it, too.

Awk, it all comes back to me now: not a hair dryer, a fabric steamer , the kind you use to take wrinkles out of clothing. Much safer than applying strong solvents, and a whole lot more effective than water.

Same problem, 20 year old truck. A razor blade in one of those handle thingies worked great for me. Then I just windexed the window.

yeah some of the films do come off with a razor blade.
but even for the same brand,version the sun can toughen it up and make it more like paint, and the razor scraper thing just keeps skipping.

if it is hard, sometimes they do accept hot soapy water and some have to have to steamed to soften them.

I tried that approach about seven years back…and was informed that they would be happy to remove the window tint for me.
But not for free.

I wondered about that. Here in Nebraska Nice they would probably tell you.

I used acetone to do this and it was great. Wear rubber gloves because acetone strips all the oils out of your hands.

I spent a year in Florida on a work assignment, and had my windows tinted while I was down there. When I moved back to Maryland, a Montgomery County cop pulled me over (really?) to ticket me for the tinting. It wasn’t that dark, and in fact I paid a premium for tinting that would screen out heat without reducing visibility very much.