Tips For Removing Permanent Adhesive Graphics & Weathered Graphics

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 5:00 am PDT


Joey Heiob, Technical Service Representative, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions

Have you ever been asked or hired to remove vinyl vehicle graphics that are cracked and weathered due to their age or the material used had a permanent adhesive? If you have, you know how difficult these graphics can be to remove and the amount of time it can take. There are times where using a heat gun or propane torch just doesn’t work.

In this blog, I will share a few helpful tools that are being used in the market today that can help make the removal a little easier.

Chemical Solution

If you’re looking for a chemical that is a powerful industrial-strength remover, I have used 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, I recommend reading and following the product’s instructions and trying it on a small inconspicuous area of the wrap to ensure it doesn’t damage the paint underneath the vinyl.

Here are steps that have worked very well when using this gel product to remove graphics:

  • Using a foam roller, brush roll the gel over the face of the graphics being removed.
  • After rolling on the gel, cover the graphics using plastic wrap, cling film or a polyester liner.
  • Allow the gel to set up and penetrate the graphics for 30 minutes. If working on fiberglass, do not let it sit longer as it can soften the fiberglass.
  • 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.

The pros to using a chemical stripper are that it can help speed up the removal and make the job a little easier. The cons to using a chemical stripper are that it can be messier and requires wearing personal protective gear or equipment to avoid direct skin contact which can cause irritation.

Tips For Removing Permanent Adhesive Graphics & Weathered Graphics

Hand Tool

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 graphics are applied to, if you don’t pay very close attention.

For more information about the MBX Vinyl Zapper, please visit

Tips For Removing Permanent Adhesive Graphics & Weathered Graphics

Steam Removal

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 and 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 the average size car thus making it an environmentally friendly product.

The pros to using the P.O.D.2 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 pricy compared to the other tools listed in this blog.

For more information on the P.O.D 2.o steamer please visit

Tips For Removing Permanent Adhesive Graphics & Weathered Graphics

For additional removal tips and techniques please reference Avery Dennison Instructional Bulletin 4.10.

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Tips For Removing Permanent Adhesive Graphics & Weathered Graphics