How to Remove Vinyl From Shirts: 6 Best Methods

Vinyl is a common material used to create numerous products. It is not hard to remove the vinyl from shirts, but it does require some effort and knowledge of how to get the job done properly.

When you have the right tools and information, removing vinyl from shirts can be a simple task

How to Remove Vinyl From Shirts

The process of removing vinyl from a shirt is quite simple, but it does take some time. It involves the use of a solvent-based cleaner, heat, or steam from an iron or clothes dryer.

In this article, you will learn the popular ways of removing vinyl from shirts easily and effectively.

What is Vinyl?

Vinyl is the most popular form of plastic. It is a flexible, durable, and waterproof material that can be used in applications where plastic cannot. In fact, it can replace many other materials in applications where it would not be possible to use other plastics.

Are Vinyl Decals Removable?

Vinyl decals are removable and reusable. Vinyl decals are usually removable in the same manner as transfer paper or inkjet transfers. You may use a solvent such as lacquer thinner, acetone, or denatured alcohol to remove the vinyl decal.

How to Remove Vinyl From Shirts: 5 Best Methods

Acetone

Acetone is a common solvent you can use to remove the vinyl from fabrics. Acetone is also known as nail polish remover or nail polish thinner. It’s a highly flammable substance, so be careful when using it.

Steps:

  1. Turn the shirt inside out
  2. Pour acetone over the backside of the vinyl decal.
  3. Allow the fabric to soak for a few minutes
  4. Then wiggle the vinyl decal back and forth to loosen it
  5. Turn the shirt right side out
  6. Using your finger or tweezers pull up an edge of the design.
  7. Pull away as much as you can of the vinyl.
  8. Rinse the acetone away in the sink

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective way to remove the vinyl from shirts. It’s a good, cheap way to remove the material from your clothing without damaging the fabric. The only problem is that it doesn’t work well on very delicate fabrics such as silk or cashmere.

Steps:

  1. Turn the shirt inside out for the backside of the decal to face up.
  2. Hold the shirt over a sink or basin.
  3. Spray it on the vinyl, and let it soak for a few minutes to soak the fabric.
  4. Then scrub with a soft-bristled brush. 
  5. Rinse with clean water and dry completely before wearing again.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers can also be used to remove the vinyl from clothing. Use caution when using this method, as there could be hot spots or burns from the heat of the hair dryer if it gets too close to you.

Steps:

  1. First, insert a towel inside the tee to prevent spoiling the entire t-shirt
  2. Set your hairdryer to its hottest setting.
  3. Heat over the vinyl decal for a few seconds
  4. Use a sharp object to peel up the heated vinyl
  5. Repeat until all are removed.

Goo Gone

Goo Gone works well on most stains and easily removes dirt, oil, or wax from fabric including vinyl. It’s also helpful if you have vinyl stuck on your clothes because it can dissolve any glue used in the manufacturing process and make it easier to remove.

Steps:

  1. Use the working area with a plastic tablecloth
  2. Turn the shirt inside out
  3. Spray goo gone over the back of the vinyl.
  4. Leave it for 30 seconds.
  5. Use a knife to peel off the edge of the decal.
  6.  Pull away until all is removed.
  7. Apply more goo gone.
  8. Rinse the shirt in cold water.
  9. Machine wash to remove HTV residue.

Petroleum Jelly

Using Petroleum Jelly as a vinyl remover is the most common method. 

Steps

  1. Turn your t-shirt inside out.
  2. Put a piece of cardboard inside to stretch the shirt flat and tightly.
  3. Get a tablespoon of petroleum jelly and rub it over the back of the vinyl decal in a circular motion.
  4. Next, apply a few drops of liquid laundry detergent. 
  5. Rub the detergent over the jelly.
  6. Rinse away the adhesive with hot water
  7. Repeat the process if necessary.

Using Commercial Heat Transfer Vinyl Remover

Commercial heat transfer vinyl removers are designed specifically for removing heat transfer vinyl from garments. They are very effective at breaking down the adhesive holding the vinyl to your shirt.

Steps

  1. Turn the t-shirt inside 
  2. Prepare commercial vinyl reo]mover
  3. Apply several drops to the decal backside
  4. Pinch fabric on both sides pulling it back and forth
  5. Grab the free edge of the vinyl decal using your finger.
  6. Pull the edges gently removing large vinyl.
  7. Rinse and machine washer to remove the residue.

Iron

The best way to remove the vinyl from shirts is with an iron. The heat will melt away the adhesive and then you can wash your shirt and dry it as usual. If you are using a steam iron, make sure that the setting is turned off before putting your shirt on, so that the vinyl doesn’t get damaged by the steam.

Steps

  1. Turn the iron to the hottest setting of the fabric.
  2. Place a towel inside the shirt
  3. Lay the shirt on the ironing board. Make sure the vinyl side of the decal is facing up.
  4. Cover the entire decal with a piece of paper
  5. Iron on top of the paper
  6. Press down for 30 seconds. The vinyl will adhere to the paper.
  7. You can repeat this process

Be careful not to press too hard, because if you do this, it will cause permanent damage to your shirt and may even melt through it.

How Do You Remove Heat Transfer Vinyl from Jersey?

Here’s a quick and easy way to remove the vinyl from shirts.

  1. Soak the vinyl part of the jersey with adhesive remover, and rubbing alcohol. The alcohol will break down the adhesive, which will allow you to peel it off easily.
  2. Peel off any remaining vinyl with your fingers or a dull knife. 
  3. After that, use a soft cloth and rub off all the adhesive residue.
  4. Rinse the jersey thoroughly in warm water and then allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

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