5 Methods to Remove Vinyl from Clothing (Step-by-Step Guide)

Whether it be from a printing mistake or finding a very cute shirt in a thrift store, sometimes you just have to remove a printed vinyl decal or two. You don’t have to worry! In this guide, you will learn how to remove the vinyl from clothing in no time.

What is Vinyl?

What is Vinyl

Vinyl or vinyl printing is a process where graphics or design is transferred to fabric or any other materials such as wood and metal with the help of heat and vinyl stickers.

You can easily spot this type of print with how glossy they look against the fabric. Unlike regular silkscreen printing, vinyl doesn’t seep on your clothes. It just sits on the top with the help of adhesive.

This type of printing has been growing in popularity in the last few decades as it’s very versatile. With vinyl printing, you can have a wide variety of colors, designs, and textures. These elements in printing have been limited in the past but with the help of modern innovation, vinyl printing can suit all these needs.

With vinyl printing you can press on a lot of graphics, from glittered to a glow-in-the-dark design, you can do it all.

5 Methods in Removing Vinyl

Mistakes are unavoidable. This also applies to printing and making clothes. Sometimes you will have a design that isn’t placed right or stick it on the wrong shirt.

Vinyl decals are all over the place this past few years. It’s become a trend, especially since it offers a wide variety of designs and graphics. You might find a cute shirt with an otherwise unpleasant vinyl print and wants to remove it.

Whatever reason you may have to want to remove the vinyl from your shirt, the four methods below are guaranteed to help you and turn your shirt good as new.

1. Vinyl Remover Solvent

use Vinyl Remover Solvent remove vinyl

This method is the most effective of all the processes in this list. If you own a printing business and mistakes are more expected to happen, we recommend that you buy a vinyl remover solvent. Vinyl removers are very cost and time-effective and leave a minimal amount of residue that you can easily remove. This chemical is great for removing the vinyl print along with the residue and it takes just a couple of minutes.

To remove vinyl with a vinyl remover solvent you must:

  • Since you will be handling a chemical, we recommend that you wear gloves especially if you have a sensitive skin. This will ensure that there is no irritation or allergic reaction to your skin.
  • Next, turn over your shirt and apply a few drops of the solvent on the back of the design you want to remove. This is to ensure that the solvent will soak into the adhesive and help dissolve it.
  • Note that if you just want to remove a part of your design, you must be mindful with the amount of solvent you are putting as it can easily remove the other prints. You can use a cotton swab to be more accurate.
  • Then, wait for a few seconds and you’ll see the print starting to detach from the fabric. To help ease this process you can stretch and tug on your fabric.
  • Once the print started to come up from the fabric, you can use tweezers, an x-acto knife, or your hand to gently remove the vinyl. Any tool that can scrape will work good as well.
  • If the adhesive didn’t lift off completely, you can grab another fabric and soak it with the solvent. Then, you can rub it to the remaining adhesive and it will be removed completely in no time.

Note that if you made a printing mistake and want to put on a new vinyl sticker, wait for the solvent to dry out as it can remove the newly pressed vinyl.

If you want to see this process you can watch it here.


2. Pure Acetone

Pure Acetone

If you want to use another solvent to remove vinyl, pure acetone will do the trick. Note that you should read the packaging of the acetone you’re buying and make sure that it’s 100 percent acetone. For this removal process you must:

  • Put on a few drops of acetone and let it soak for a few minutes. You can see the vinyl slowly detaching from the fabric.
  • With some tweezers, an x-acto knife, or with your hands, you can now pull up the vinyl from your clothes.
  • To remove the adhesive residue it’s the same with the vinyl remover solvent. You can rub off the remaining adhesive with another fabric soaked with acetone.

To see this process, you can watch this video.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/WVeGDitPqKo”]


3. Iron and Tweezers

Iron and Tweezers

If you don’t have any access to both solvents, iron and tweezers might help you especially if you just have a relatively small design. This method is the most accessible one although removing remaining adhesive residue is more challenging.

To do this method you should:

  • Turn on your heating iron to the highest setting possible. Once the iron is hot enough, you can press the backside of the vinyl against the iron. As this is tricky enough, you can put the iron inside of the shirt to press it against your vinyl.
  • Since the adhesive is activated by heat, putting the fabric against the iron will help you peel off the vinyl.
  • Then, once the fabric is heated enough, you should gently scrape off the vinyl with tweezers.

You can see the process here.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/eiSSUsHKGSs”]


4. Goo Gone

Goo Gone

Goo Gone is an adhesive remover with a lot less harsh chemicals compared to the vinyl solvent remover. This product is best if you don’t want to deal with harsher chemicals. To remove vinyl print with Goo Gone you should:

  • Place the Goo Gone in a small container. Once you poured out the desired amount, you can take a cotton swab and dip it into the container.
  • Turn your fabric over and gently rub the soaked cotton swab at the back of the print you’re trying to remove. By turning your fabric, you ensure that the Goo Gone will seep completely into the vinyl adhesive.
  • Once the Goo Gone seeped into the fabric, get either an x-acto knife or tweezers and gently peel off the vinyl print.

Since Goo Gone is a pretty good remover, adhesive stains are minimal and easy to remove. You can watch the process here.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/RSArGmO7dlQ”]


5. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly

When dealing with residue and you don’t have a solvent to remove it, don’t fret! There is still a product that will help you and the perk is it’s commonly found in households, you might have one yourself right now and even if you don’t have it, it’s easily accessible and very cheap. Petroleum can remove adhesive stains from your fabric, here’s how:

  • Gently rub the petroleum jelly on the adhesive residue for a few minutes.
  • Once the glue started to clump together, wash the fabric with water. If there is still adhesive repeat the application of petroleum jelly.
  • When the adhesive is all removed, you can now wash your fabric with standard laundry detergent in warm water. This is to ensure that there is no adhesive left.

You will see that the adhesive residue can be removed with this process and your clothes will come back good as new.

Things to Know in Removing Vinyl

Things to Know in Removing Vinyl

When it comes to removing vinyl from your clothes, you must take note of the following information:

What type of fabric do you have?

Depending on the type of fabric you have, you must be mindful of what chemicals you can use to remove vinyl.

Solvents such as acetone can stain your clothes if you didn’t wash them off immediately. Fabrics that use cheap dye can be easily stained with solvents.

It’s always better to check the type of fabric if you are going to use harsher chemicals so that no damage can be accidentally done.

Always Be Careful on Using Tools

The methods above need you to use a wide array of hazardous things such as x-acto knives and heat iron. It’s always good to be careful with sharp and hot objects for your safety.

If you have children, it’s best that they are not in the room during the process, this will ensure that they don’t accidentally get burnt or cut by the tools.

Handling Chemicals

It’s always better to place safety guidelines when chemicals are involved. If you are going to use acetone or vinyl remover, always make sure to take care of these products carefully.

It’s best to wear gloves when handling them, especially you have sensitive skin. Also, always make sure to have a proper storage unit for these chemicals as exposure to the mouth and skin can be dangerous.

In conclusion – How to Remove Vinyl from Clothing

Vinyl is removable with vinyl remover solvent, pure acetone, adhesive remover, or flat iron. If you made a mistake, you don’t have to worry as with the processes above you can easily turn your clothes good as new. I hope this article on how to remove the vinyl from clothing helped you.


how to remove vinyl from shirt

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