How to Remove Window Tint From Car Windows

How To Remove Window Tint from Car Windows

What protects your car’s interior, provides privacy, and makes your vehicle energy-efficient? Window tint does all the above and more.

The only issue is that time is not the best friend. After a while, bubbles can form from exposure to the sun, or maybe it loses color naturally.

The question is: How do you get something off that was meant to stay on for a really long time?

What if you have to remove the tint because tint was deemed illegal in your state?

What you definitely do not want to do is to just try and tear it off. Despite looking like you could help your car by peeling the tint off, attempting it would create a lot of extra work.

Additionally, small chunks of adhesive, or the glue-like substance that holds the tint on the window, will likely be left all over the window. Although it might not seem like a big deal, the leftover adhesive will act as a magnet for dirt and grime, which will result in a lot of work trying to clean your car windows later.

You may have already guessed it at this point, but the best way to remove window tint from car windows is to first weaken the adhesive.

There are two main ways to do this. First, you can use a mild solvent to help weaken and dissolve the adhesive. Second, you can use heat to soften and weaken the adhesive.

Before using either method, it is advisable to thoroughly clean your windows. This will make it easier to access and grip the tint when you try to remove it, as well as prevent any unforeseen reactions with anything that may have stuck to your window. A good homemade mixture for this consists of:

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of dish detergent
  • 2 cups of water

Or you can use a store-bought cleaner. A word of warning: if you use the solvent method and use ammonia as your solvent, do not use a bleach-based cleaner. Mixing ammonia and bleach can create dangerous gasses.

The Solvent Method

Solvents help to chemically break down and weaken the adhesive. The three of the best common solvents for this are soapy water, rubbing alcohol, and ammonia. The materials you will need for these methods are:

  • A razor blade
  • Gloves (to protect from the razor blade)
  • Trash bags
  • Tape
  • Tarps or other protective materials
  • A spray bottle
  • Your choice of soapy water, rubbing alcohol, or ammonia.

Once you have gathered your materials, you want to follow these steps:

Protect Your Car

We will be spraying our solvent on the and letting it sit for an extended period. There is always some potential that the solvent could accidentally be sprayed on or run into the interior of the car. This has a small potential to result in discoloration or staining. So put protective tarps or garbage bags over anything you want to protect.

Apply the Solvent

Next, you want to cut some of the garbage bags in the shape of your window. You then want to thoroughly apply the solvent to the outside of the window. Once you have applied the solvent, gently but firmly press the cut garbage to the outside of the window.

Having the garbage bag on top of the solvent will keep it in contact with the tint and prevent it from evaporating away. If the garbage bag does not stick to the window, you can try to work it into the window frame. If that is not possible, then it will be necessary to tape the garbage bag to the window. It may be helpful to roll your window down so you can tape it to the top of the window.

Next, repeat the process for the inside of the car window. Be extra careful, as this is where you are most likely to get the solvent onto parts of your car that could be discolored. Once you have repeated the process for the inside of the window, let the solvent sit for an hour or two. This will allow the solvent to really soak in and weaken the adhesive.

Remove the Tint

After letting the solvent soak, remove the garbage bags and any tape. Then use a clean cloth to gently wipe off any remaining liquid. If you did not roll down your window a little before, you need to do so now so that you can access the top edge of your window.

Take a razor blade and carefully work it between the window and the tint, starting at the top corner of your window and continuing along the entire top edge. Be careful when using the razor blade, as it can scratch your car windows.

Once you have achieved separation along the top edge, you should be able to slowly and gently pull the tint off of the window. Be careful not to pull too hard or jerk on the tint, as this could result in tearing and extra work. A little patience here is better than a lot of extra work scraping many small pieces of tint.

After fully removing the window tint from your car window, check for any remaining adhesive on the window by feeling for sticky spots. Use the solvent to spot treat these areas and the razor blade to gently separate the tint from the window. Finally, clean your window with the same cleaning solution from above.

The Heat Method

The other effective method for weakening the adhesive is to use heat. The applied heat will cause the adhesive to soften and lose its grip, allowing for the removal of the tint. The best tools for the application of heat are either a steamer or a simple hair dryer. For this method, you will need:

  • A razor blade scraper
  • An extension cord
  • Either a steamer or a hairdryer
  • A clean cloth

Using the Steamer

If you are using the steamer, then you first want to thoroughly steam the entirety of the outside of your window. Make sure to roll down your window far enough so that you have access to the top edge of the tint.

After steaming the outside, do the same thing to the interior of the window. The entirety of the window should feel very warm if you hold your hand an inch away. Then take the razor blade and carefully and gently separate the top edge of the tint from the window.

Once you have the top edge separated, gently pull the tint away from the window. Avoid pulling too hard or jerking, as this could result in tint tearing and extra work. If there are any spots where the tint seems to not want to come off, use the steamer to heat that spot and then use the razor blade to work the tint off.

It is better to be cautious here. Applying the steamer to a couple of tough spots is much easier than using the razor blade to scrape the tint off if it tears.

Once you have entirely removed the tint, check for any remaining sticky spots. Use the combination of the steamer and the razor blade to gently work these off of the window. Afterward, clean the window with the same cleaning solution from above.

Using the Hairdryer

The process for using the hairdryer is a little different than the steamer because the hair dryer is not quite as effective at heating the window up. Instead of heating the entire window, start instead by just heating the top corner. After heating this corner, use the razor blade to separate the tint from the window.

After separating the top corner, use the hairdryer to heat the next part of the window. Then use the razor blade to again separate the tint from the window. Continue to repeat this process, section by section, until the tint is removed. At some point, you may be able to pull the tint off, but be careful not to tear it.

Again, once you have entirely removed the tint, check for any sticky spots on the window. Should you find any, use a combination of the hairdryer and razor blade to soften and remove them. Then clean the window with your preferred cleaning solution.


Some more creative readers may have read that the steamer applies heat more effectively than the hairdryer and thought that more heat must be better. This is not true. While the steamer and the hairdryer are both perfectly safe, heating your windows too rapidly can cause them to crack. So doing something like pouring boiling or near-boiling water on them is very unadvisable.

Final Cleanup

Window tint is great for your car for a variety of reasons. However, it is not going to last forever. So when your window tint starts to bubble or discolor, or if you just don’t want it anymore, don’t overspend to have someone else remove it. Use these effective methods to remove window tint from your car windows and restore your windows to their un-tinted state.

Brett Gordon

The engine behind editing at DigMyRide and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.