How to Remove Window Film

A man works on window film.
What You'll Need
Vinegar or an ammonia-based cleaner
Razor blades
Spray bottle
Handheld blow dryer
Plastic wrap
Paper towels
Adequate ventilation in the work area

Window film is a great sunblock, but it may become affected, scratched, or damaged enough to require replacement. Whether it's in a vehicle or a building, the steps to removing safety tint or film are the same. By following this guide, you'll be able to remove window film in no time.

Step 1 - Dissolve the Adhesive

Both ammonia and vinegar will dissolve tinted film adhesive, although it may take several hours to do so. Use a spray bottle filled with soapy ammonia and spray down the film thoroughly. Allow it to sit, and respray as it dries. To speed up the process, apply a film of plastic wrap over the sprayed window to hold in the moisture. Leave overnight for the best results. Have ample ventilation if using ammonia in an enclosed area, as it can be hazardous to breathe in.

Ammonia fumes can also damage sensitive electronic parts, fabrics, and adhesives in a vehicle, so don't use ammonia in an enclosed vehicle (like back window tinting). Use a blow dryer and razor instead.

Step 2 - Loosen the Film

One alternative to chemicals, particularly in a vehicle where ammonia and vinegar fumes may affect the adhesives in other car components, is a hand steamer. When combined with a blow dryer and steamer, the combination of wet and then dry heat is very effective at getting your tint to release. Try to remove the film during the day or with the window in the sun. The warmer the window glass is, the easier the tint will peel.

Step 3 - Peel the Film

Once you have softened the window film with ammonia and your blow dryer, use a razor to grasp one corner or edge of the film and pull. Depending on how much adhesive you've been able to dissolve, the tint will either release and come off in big sheets or pieces, or it will stubbornly resist and come off in small pieces. Give it more time, ammonia and heat to speed the process. Use a razor, such as in a paint scraper made for cleaning windows, or a straight edge razor held at an angle against the glass to scrape the film off. Use your blow dryer and spray bottle to continue spraying the film until it separates easily. Use your paper towels to mop up the water/ammonia mixture that gathers at the base of the window so the wood isn't softened or damaged by the moisture.

Step 4 - Clean the Glass

Once the film has been pulled off, clean the glass thoroughly with an ammonia-based cleaner to remove all traces of the old adhesive. If you plan to apply a new window tint after removing the old, clean the glass thoroughly with clean water and a non-ammonia or non-vinegar based cleaner to make sure the new film is not damaged by trace chemicals remaining on the glass from your last removal.