Is it Possible To Unstick Vinyl on a T-shirt?

Iron-on or Heat transfer vinyl is one of the most effective ways of customizing your t-shirts with your favorite quote, design, etc. and make it appealing to the eye.

However, you might make a mistake when applying the vinyl on your tee fabric and wish you could remove it and do it all over again. Or you might get bored with the artwork you printed on the tee and decide to remove it and replace it with something better you made with your vinyl cutter.

And this is where our million-dollar question rings;

Is it possible to unstick vinyl on a t-shirt?

The answer is YES; you can easily get rid of that vinyl artwork on your tee completely using some tricks that we’re going to share with you in this post.

5 Top Tricks of Removing Vinyl from T-shirts:

Method #1: Using a household iron

Using regular iron is one of the easiest and most popular methods used to unstick those vinyl letters or artwork you pressed onto your tee using the best t-shirt press.

Using-a-household-iron

For this job, you’ll need the following:

  • Ironing board
  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • A small towel or rag
  • T-shirt to be worked on

Steps to Follow:

Step 1. Prepare the-shirt for ironing.

Start by placing your t-shirt on the ironing board. Lay out the t-shirt flat on the board and ensure the design faces up.

If you don’t have an ironing board in your home, simply lay a towel over a solid, flat surface such as the table, washing machine, counter, dryer, etc.

Next, you’d want to slip a small towel or rag inside your tee such that it lays directly under the vinyl art you wish to remove. This will help prevent damage to the other side of your tee.

Step 2. Heat up your iron.

Now that your t-shirt is ready to be worked on, it’s time to grab that iron and heat it up for the job. We suggest that you make your iron as hot as possible for successful unsticking of the vinyl.

WARNING: Before you start ironing the tee, be sure to check its care instructions to ensure you don’t damage it in the process. As we have just mentioned, you want to make your iron as hot as possible…and this means if it’s made of materials like polyester, it might just melt away under the heat of your iron.

If you’re not sure about the heat settings to use on your iron, consider starting with the Medium heat setting and slowly increase it until you find the right temperatures for your tee fabric.

Step 3. Time to unstick the vinyl.

Before you begin ironing, you’d want to lay the paper wax right over the vinyl letters or art.

Why?

You might wonder…when the vinyl transfer melts under the heat, it will stick to the wax paper, and removing this paper will simply peel the vinyl off your tee. This makes unsticking vinyl from your t-shirt much easier.

Start ironing your t-shirt. Work from a corner of your design and find your way across it to the other end.

Be sure to move your iron in quick strokes. And once you notice the edges of the corner coming off, quickly move the iron in the direction of the entire transfer. This will help the vinyl to continue peeling off and (possibly) burn as you go.

Continue with the ironing until the entire vinyl is unstuck from your t-shirt.

Step 4. Get rid of the leftover adhesive.

Having fully removed the vinyl, your t-shirt might be left with some adhesive residue. You can count on adhesive remove (e.g., Goo Gone) or even rubbing alcohol to eliminate this residue for a cleaner look.

That’s it! You have just unstuck that vinyl transfer from your t-shirt with just the household iron!

You can now proceed to wash your shirt as you normally would.

2. The Hairdryer method

If you don’t have iron within reach, consider using a hairdryer instead.

This is how you use the hairdryer to unstick vinyl on t-shirt:

Step 1. Start by laying out your tee on a flat surface (just as you did in the first step in the iron method). An ironing board will work for this step too. Or you can use any other hard and flat surface.

Also, consider slipping a towel or a thick paper/cardboard inside your tee to avoid damaging the other side of the fabric.

Step 2. Plug in your hair dryer and set it to the highest heat setting and then blow its hot air close to your transfer. This process requires patience given that the vinyl might take some time to give in to the heat, it’ll surely start coming off.

Step 3. Once you have noticed your transfer loosening, put down the hairdryer, and turn to a sharp knife or scrape to help peel up the vinyl for even easier removal. Start working along the edge of the design…once you manage to pry up one part of your transfer, pulling up the rest of the transfer should get easier.

If you’re working on an extensive design, consider doing heating a segment of your transfer at a time to help keep it hot for easy scrapping.

Step 4. Finally, after you have removed all the vinyl, your t-shirt might be left with some adhesive residue. Again, grab an adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol to help you get rid of this residue.

3. Use rubbing alcohol

If you fear that the ironing and hairdryer methods above might end up damaging your favorite, consider using a chemical solvent such as rubbing alcohol.

In this method, no heat is required, so you don’t have to worry about your garment melting away due to high heat.

How to use rubbing alcohol to unstick vinyl from a t-shirt:

Step 1. Turn your garment inside out and place it in such a way that the side with the transfer behind it is facing up.

Step 2. Grab your rubbing alcohol and liberally apply it over the area of your garment featuring the vinyl design on the other side. The solvent will soak through the fabric and loosen the bond (adhesive), sticking the fabric and the transfer together.

You might consider stretching and wriggling the fabric to help the solvent penetrate the adhesive for better results.

BEFORE you apply the solvent on your tee, consider applying it over a small area of the cloth to see if the chemical will damage the t-shirt.

Step 3. Give the solvent a few minutes, and then try to peel up the transfer. If the solvent worked, the transfer should easily peel off the garment. You can use a sharp knife or scraper to make the peel up process easier.

You can also use some heat form the hairdryer to see if it’ll help ease the peeling process.

Step 4. Finally, use an adhesive remover of your choice to remove any sticky residue left after you’re done removing the vinyl.

If you use this method, be sure you to watch your t-shirt separately. This will help prevent possible damage to other clothes by the chemicals that are still soaked in the tee fabric.

Final Thoughts

If you make a mistake when customizing your t-shirt with HTV vinyl, you can easily remove it using one of the top methods we have described above.

Also, if you want to completely remove a vinyl art from your favorite tee and replace it with something even better, you can use one of these methods to do so.

Since the ironing and hairdryer methods involve using a lot of heat, you should make a point of checking your garment care instructions care first to avoid damaging it in the process.

For the chemical solvent method, you should test the chemical over a small area of your tee first to see if it’ll damage the garment.

Do you know any other method that helps unstick vinyl on t-shirts? Share with us in the comment box below.

  • Updated December 11, 2019
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