Vinyl graphics can make a strong statement for businesses—without breaking the bank. While a lot of attention has been placed on vinyl design and sign options, removing the vinyl is an ongoing challenge. If you are faced with getting rid of vinyl images of any kind, consider these guides for proper removal:
- Plastic blades – The most common way to remove vinyl graphics is with plastic razor blades. These hand tools are designed to slide under the vinyl’s edge and scrape it off without causing any damage to the substrate. Most of the time, when the edges of the vinyl have been pried loose, you can simply peel away the rest using your hand. Old vinyl, however, becomes hard and brittle and difficult to remove. If the vinyl is not coming off easily, try warming the film with a heat gun, then prying it off of the substrate.
- Residue removers – As you remove the vinyl from the substrate, you will notice that it usually leaves behind adhesive residue. Residue removers such as citrus based cleaners can help break down the adhesive. They are non-toxic and environmentally safe, but they should not come in contact with the skin.
- Combination cleaners – Products such as Vinyl-off are designed to remove both the vinyl and adhesive in a single step. The fluid, directly applied to the film’s face, penetrates the vinyl and softens the adhesive so you can pull the entire vinyl graphic off in one piece. No residue should be left behind.
- Tools – Specially designed mechanisms can help with vinyl removal. These include the Motor Guard Stripe Eliminator and MBX Vinyl Zapper. The tools remove graphics and adhesives quickly. The Power Stripe Eliminator is a wheel, made from urethane rubber, that is attached to a power drill. It has a smooth edge that can remove both the film and the adhesive without damaging the substrate. The MBX Vinyl Zapper is a hand-held motor wheel, powered by electricity and armed with 25mm teeth made of rubber compound. It grinds away the vinyl, leaving the substrate uncompromised.
Consider the size and volume of your vinyl-removal tasks. Then choose the method that best suits your project needs and budget.