There are times when old or weathered decals, applied to a surface using permanent adhesive, need to be removed.  Here are just a few tips to help in this removal process.

If you’re looking for a chemical that is a powerful industrial-strength remover, consider using Citristrip® Gel.


It contains no Methylene Chloride and is non-caustic, safe to use indoors and has a pleasant orange scent.


It’s designed to stay wet and active for up to 24 hours. As with any product, read and follow the product’s instructions and try it on a small inconspicuous area of the label/decal to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint underneath.


Here are steps that have worked well when using this gel product:




1. Using a foam roller, roll the gel over the face of the graphics being removed.


2. After rolling on the gel, cover the label/decal using plastic wrap, cling film or a polyester liner.


3. Allow the gel to set up and penetrate the material for 30 minutes. If working on fiberglass, do not let it sit longer as it can soften the fiberglass.

4. Remove the plastic wrap or polyester liner and use a plastic scraper to start an edge of the graphic and begin to work the vinyl loose.


5. Before applying another label to the same area, clean the surface with isopropyl alcohol to remove any citrus oils left behind from the removal gel.


  • PROS to using a chemical stripper are that it can help speed up the removal and make the job a little easier.


  • Cons to using a chemical stripper are that it can be messier and requires wearing personal protective gear or equipment to avoid direct contact.





If a hand tool is more up your alley for removing graphics, you may want to try the MBX Vinyl Zapper.


This is a tool that has been on the market for many years and performs very well. It’s available in both an electric version, as well as a pneumatic version.


Features of this tool include:


  • The unique Eraser Wheel is designed with notched "fingers" that grab the edge of the vinyl and peel it from the surface.


  • Vinyl and adhesive are removed without damaging OEM paint or harming substrate material.


  • Adhesive residue will be removed while striping vinyl.


  • There is no heat damage or smearing of adhesive on the substrate.


The pros of using this tool are that it requires no chemicals and removes the vinyl relatively fast.


The cons to using this tool are that it can be very messy and can damage the paint or substrate the labels/decals are applied to, if you don’t pay very close attention.


For more information about the MBX Vinyl Zapper, please visit



The newest tool on the market that has generated a lot of buzz is the new P.O.D 2.0 Steamer from Image One Impact.


The most important feature of this tool is that it is a non-corrosive/non-chemical vinyl remover.


This innovative steamer is designed to provide steam pressure on demand at a lower temperature making it safer for the user to use without fear of harming the user or the film if being used for installs.


The powerful flow of steam is designed to soften the film and adhesive reducing the risk of leaving behind any adhesive residue.


The steamer comes with multiple head attachments based on the need for the job. This machine only uses 1 liter of distilled water for even large jobs making it an environmentally friendly product.


The pros to using the P.O.D. 2.0 Steamer are that the machine is very easy to use, the only clean up will be water and vinyl pieces and there are no fumes.


The only con to using this steamer is that it is pricey compared to the other tools listed above.


For more information on the P.O.D.  2.0 steamer please visit



Use the following steps to remove a decal using heat:


1. Use a heat gun to heat the entire decal by holding the heat source approximately 6-12 inches away from surface.


2. After heating the entire decal for approximately 30-60 seconds, loosen a corner of the decal and pull back back slowly. A slow, steady pulling and lifting action at less than 90 degree angle will usually prevent films from breaking and will remove most of the adhesive from the substrate.


3. If decal becomes hard to pull, stop and re-heat the decal, and proceed with removal.


Adhesive residue may be removed by wiping with a clean saturated rag using  heptane, xylene or other such chemical removers.


ALG Labels and Graphics is a custom manufacturer of pressure sensitive labels and decals celebrating over 50 years in business.  Our focus is delivering value to our customers with responsive service, quality products and low cost production.  Our mission is to make it easy for you to do business with ALG.

3005 4th Avenue South,

Birmingham, Alabama 35233


(f) 205.328.0123

Copyright 2020 ALG Labels and Graphics