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How to Remove Wall Decals Without Damaging Paint

How to Remove Wall Decals Without Damaging Paint

One of the biggest upsides to vinyl wall decals is that they are easily removable. However, sometimes the paint under the decal sticks to the vinyl when it is removed. This can ruin the wall by removing spots of paint and resulting in a patchy look.

To avoid this, there are a few important steps to take to ensure that your wall decal will remove easily and cleanly, without damaging your paint job.

1. Warm the vinyl with a hairdryer

Turn your hairdryer on low power and gently run it back and forth over the wall decal. The heat from the hairdryer weakens the adhesive on the vinyl. This makes it much less likely to remove any paint when you take your decal off. Focus on the corners, as that’s where it is easiest to begin removing the wall decal.

2. Peel the corner with tweezers

Using a pair of tweezers or your fingernails, gently peel back one corner of the wall decal. Once the corner is peeled back, check to see if there is any paint sticking to the vinyl. If there is, spend a few more minutes heating it with the hairdryer. If no paint is removed, peel back the rest of the decal. Work slowly and reheat sections with the hairdryer as needed.

3. Remove leftover adhesive

Scrub the wall gently with warm, soapy water to remove any adhesive residue from the wall decal. Be careful not to scrub too hard, which can damage the paint, especially if it was weakened by the vinyl removal. If the adhesive doesn’t come off, you may need to use a specialized adhesive remover (just make sure to test it first so it doesn’t harm the paint either). This step is especially important if you are removing a decal from a window or glass door, where traces of leftover adhesive are easy to see.

What to do if your decal damages the paint

If you used high-quality vinyl for your decal and removed it following the steps above, it is extremely unlikely that your paint will be damaged in any way. However, it does sometimes happen. If the wall decal ruins a section of paint on your wall, use a scraper to gently remove any flecks or curls of paint. If you don’t have a textured wall, you can also use sandpaper. Then, find a matching color of paint and repaint over the section. As a low-budget alternative, you can also cover up the damage by hanging a poster or moving furniture.

If you have any other questions about vinyl wall decals, please check out our FAQ page.