How to Remove Window Tint

By DriverSide Staff
Car with Tinted Windows
Window tint protects your car’s interior from damaging sunrays, keeps the cabin cooler and gives you some privacy while you cruise the highway. Unfortunately, the concealing film can change color, bubble and peel over time, and once it has degraded you’ll be tasked with removing it.

Removing window tint is a time-consuming process, and if not done correctly, can risk gumming up your windows with adhesive residue or damaging important components like the defroster strips on the rear window. Those who don’t feel comfortable tackling the job can get the tinting professionally removed.

Those who do want to forge ahead must first accept that patience is key here. It’s a slow process. Window tint is a double-layered polyester film that must come off as one. To prevent the two from separating you’ll need to soften up the adhesive with heat. There are two methods, and the first requires a sunny day. If you’ve got one to spare, you’ll want to spray the outside of the tinted window with soapy water, cover it with a black garbage bag and smooth out any wrinkles. Now on the inside, cover the immediate area around the window with some form of protective plastic and spray undiluted ammonia on the window. We recommend wearing a protective mask while you do this.

While the ammonia is still wet, trap it against the window tint with plastic cling wrap or another plastic bag and allow it to set in the sun. The combination of heat and ammonia will soften up the glue that holds the tint to the window after about an hour. Use a razor blade to lift the film from the window beginning in the corners and slowly moving out, wetting the window with ammonia as you go. Remember to be patient as you peel. Any leftover adhesive residue can be dealt with using even more ammonia and a soft steel wool pad. Finally, wipe the de-tinted window with a paper towel or rag and you’re done!

If the weather forecast is looking gray, a second and equally effective removal method comes by way of a heat gun, steamer or hair dryer. Point your weapon of choice at one corner of the tinted window and, using a razor blade, slowly start to peel the tint from the glass. Remember to heat and peel at the same time. Spray the window down with glass cleaner and wipe the remaining residue with a towel.

Need auto repair help? Ask a DriverSide auto mechanic for free.

Track Your Service Records
Get Recall Alerts
Get Updated Value Estimates on Your Car.
Go to a Review