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How To Remove a Bumper Sticker

Tired of sticking to the same old phrases and beliefs? An expert provides steps for removing adhesives from your car.

a car covered with bumper stickers, image
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Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock
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Say you bought this car and you don't like bumper stickers. Want to know how to remove them? Read on.

The passions of an election can fade away, but bumper stickers have a way of sticking around. Ready to strip down? “There’s no perfect system, since there are so many different types of adhesives,” says Jim Stavrinides, owner of California Detailing Inc. in San Francisco. Here are the best steps.

  • Test Carefully use your fingernail on a corner of the sticker—it may peel right up if it’s not too old. Never use plastic or metal scrapers, which can scratch the car’s paint.
  • Heat If the decal is stubborn, warm it with a hair dryer section by section. As the sticker warms, the glue should get soft and let go.
  • Moisten For any remaining pieces, soak a soft cloth in automotive adhesive remover or wax and grease remover. Hold it against the sticker for a few minutes, then peel the sticker off.
  • Wipe Get rid of any gobs of goo by cleaning the area with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.
  • Polish Hand-polish with liquid car wax to take off lingering adhesive and smooth out any color differences.
  • Call If all else fails, professional body shops have special tools that can rub off even the stickiest scum.

Find a trustworthy AAA Approved Auto Repair shop at

This article was first published in January 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.