View Full Version : Removing reflective with steam

Richard Magbanua
11-07-2007, 7:34 AM
I need to remove reflective decals from a trailer. I've removed reflective before but used an eraser wheel and a spray solvent. It worked alright but was slow and messy. I also didn't like the possibility of scratching the paint with this method. I did recently find out about the steaming method by word of mouth. I checked the net and found a picture of this. It looked like they were using a plate steamer used for wallpaper removal. Does anyone have experience with this? Could I use a plate steamer made for wallpaper?
Thanks for the info!!

Matt Meiser
11-07-2007, 8:10 AM
I'm not sure if its the same material, but I had an old road sign (legally obtained) that was covered in reflective material and I wanted to use the metal for something. I was able to remove it by heating with a heat gun to soften the adhesive quickly. I remember it left a fair amount of adhesive behind, which I probably removed with laquer (sp?) thinner--can't remember--which probably wouldn't be good on something you want to save the paint on. Maybe WD-40 would remove that? I know it works for many adhesives and doesn't damage the paint.

Joe Pelonio
11-07-2007, 8:32 AM
Like Matt I use a heat gun to remove all types of vinyl. The problem with reflective is that it's laminated, and often leaves behind the adhesive and a carrier layer. That can be softened with denatured alcohol, but has to sit, so not good on a trailer. The best stuff, that softens it within 1-2 minutes is a product called by Rapid Remover, available at sign supplies. I buy it by the gallon, about $30 though, $12 for a quart.

Scott Shepherd
11-07-2007, 9:07 AM
I second Rapid Remover. I use it every time I have glue residue on anything. Super stuff. Says to wipe with water or Rapid Tac afterwards (which I always do), so not sure if it will do damage if directions aren't followed.

Great stuff, everyone should have a bottle laying around.