Applying and Removing Decals: Car Decals, Window Lettering, and Floor Decals

If used correctly, a decal can convey your messages, promote your business, and even enhance your safety measures. Their applications are nearly endless and they can be placed on a variety of surfaces.

One of the greatest strengths of decals is their affordability as a marketing solution. Follow simple steps for an easy setup and watch as your brand awareness begins to increase.

Proper Application will result in: 

  • Protection of the integrity of your decals. 
  • Proper bonding of adhesive
  • No peeling or weathering. 
  • Prevents bubble formation on your decals. 
  • A more professional look. 

In order to ensure the best results during the application process you’ll need to do some prepwork beforehand.

  • Cleaning the Surface

No matter if you’re placing your vinyl decal on a window, the back or side of your car, or even your floor, you’ll need to clean the location prior to applying. 

A clean surface enables the adhesive to bond to the surface. So begin by cleaning off any dirt or grime from the intended area. 

Afterwards use either light soap or rubbing alcohol. Don’t use anything that will leave behind any wax or residue on the aforementioned surface. If this step is skipped your decals may not properly stick to the surface. 

Note: Before applying a decal you’ll need to dry off any excess water from the surface. 

  • Placement

You’ll want to have a clear plan of action when it comes to applying your decals. 

Placement is extremely important. Try to find the place with the least amount of obstructions so your customers can see your decals. Also check to see if the surface is smooth and free from cracks or blemishes. 

Once you’ve selected the perfect spot, use painter’s tape, measuring tape, and a level to markup where you’ll place the decal. This gives you guidelines to work off of so your decal is in the right place. This step is also vitally important for social distancing floor decals so you know your decals are six feet apart.

  • Peel

The size of the decal will determine the best approach. If it’s a smaller decal you can peel off the back and begin the next step. 

Larger decals require a bit more tact. Don’t peel off the entire sticker at once, otherwise it becomes harder to handle and more susceptible to attracting dirt. Start by peeling a few inches at a time and gradually peel/place your decal. 

  •  Apply 

If you’ve followed the previous steps this should be a breeze. 

First you’ll want to follow your previous measurements and markings to verify the location. Then begin applying the decal, simultaneously using something with a straight edge and slowly smooth out the decal.

Finishing Touches

For maximum adhesion the decal needs to be dry. It’s good practice to let your decal sit to dry, during this drying period refrain from touching it. Utilize a sunny spot to make the drying process faster.  

Again, proper planning and avoiding placement in an area with a heavy moisture level will lead to the best results. 

Don’t use any artificial heat sources like a blow dryer, because this will cause your decal to melt or warp. 

How To Remove a Car Decal? 

While decals will help bring awareness to your business and can be placed on windows, cars, and floors, there may come a time where the decal is no longer timely. Luckily, the removal process is easy and requires very little legwork. 

Avoid running into the sticky situations by:

  • Removing the lingering remnants and residue of your decals. 
  • Enabling your decals for future use. 

If you follow these simple steps, the removal process is simple as pie.

*If you’re planning on reusing your decals follow Approach 2 or 3.

Approach 1: Heat (Destructive Approach)

This approach can ruin your vinyl decals, so bear that in mind prior to using this technique. If your goal is to remove and NOT reuse then this is your best bet. 


  1. Move heat slowly, until bubbling and/or lift occurs. 
  2. Once the edges loosens, slide a scraper underneath and continue heating until you can remove the decal completely. 

Approach 2: Peel 

This approach can be challenging, but once you get started it becomes easier. 

Occasionally a vinyl decal will have a loose edge, which allows you to grab an edge to begin peeling.  

After you’ve removed the decal utilize an adhesive remover to get rid of any remaining adhesive that has stuck around. 

Approach 3: Water

This approach is best for the integrity and reusability of your decals. 

Simply wet a rag or towel with warm water and rub the decal gently. 

Be weary of lingering in one spot for too long. This can jeopardize the decal and cause it melt or whither. 

Look for lift in at the edge, then use a scraper to finish removing the decal.

Upon completion of the decal removal use an adhesive remover to clear the area of any residue or adhesive left. 

As you can see it’s very easy to apply and remove decals whether it’s a car decal, a floor decal, or window decals the process is the same. 

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