How to Remove RV Decals: The Definitive Guide


If you’re like most RVers, you probably have a few decals on your rig. Maybe it’s some flashy graphics, a family vacation sticker from last year, or the one that says “I love my RV.” Over time RV decals can get old and faded and many people decide to clean them off or replace them.

There are a few different methods of removing RV decals:

  • Using a hair dryer to heat up and release the adhesive then scraping the decal off.
  • Wiping on an adhesive remover to penetrate the glue and separate it from the RV surface.
  • Using Mineral spirits to weaken the adhesive and remove the decal with a putty knife.
  • Using an eraser wheel on a drill to remove the decal.
  • Coating the decal with WD-40 to weaken the adhesive.

If you’ve ever tried to remove an RV decal, you know that it’s not as easy as peeling it off. In fact, most of the time the decal just ends up coming off in pieces, and leaves behind a sticky residue that’s difficult to get rid of. 

Below I discuss 5 ways to remove RV decals in a way that is both effective and gentle on your vehicle. You can get a lot more RV maintenance help on our website dedicated to helping RVers save money with DIY repairs and tips.

decals on rv

How to Remove RV Decals: 5 Proven Methods

RV decals can add a personal touch to your vehicle, but they can be difficult to remove when it’s time to change them out. There are a few different ways on how to remove RV decals:

Heat Gun Decal Removal Method

Attempting to remove an RV decal with your fingers or a razor blade can often result in damage to the underlying paintwork. Instead, try using a temperature adjustable heat gun.

Simply set the heat gun on to medium (200C or 400F) and hold it close to the centre of the decal moving it side to side slowly. After a minute, you should be able to peel the decal away from the surface of your RV. If not, increase the heat setting slowly until it starts to soften the adhesive.

Continue pulling the decal off while heating the area in front as you go down the side of the vehicle. Avoid using the maximum heat setting because it can damage the paint. Also try not to contact the end of the heat gun with the decal or paint of your RV or trailer.

You can use a plastic spatula, scraper or old credit card to scrape off the decal if pulling it by hand is too difficult. If there are any stubborn pieces remaining, you can use a putty knife or razor blade to gently scrape them away.

Once the decal has been removed, use a cleaner designed for removing adhesives to clean up any remaining residue.

Sale
SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W 122℉~1112℉(50℃- 600℃)Fast Heating Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun Kit...
  • ▶ 【Strong Power With 2 Modes】 SEEKONE 1800W heat gun provides strong power quickly heat up to 1202℉(650℃) in 1.5 seconds. Two...
  • ▶ 【Variable Temp Control & Overload Protection】 Unlike other dual temperature heat guns, our heat guns provide variable temperature...
  • ▶ 【Scientific Ergonomic Design & Wide Applications】 Seekone heat gun has a scientific ergonomic design handle can prevent repetitive...

Adhesive Removers

Removing RV decals with adhesive removers is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the job is done correctly. 

First, it is important to choose the right adhesive remover. There are many different products on the market, so be sure to read the labels carefully to find one that is specifically designed for removing decals.

Second, make sure the surface of the RV is clean and dry. Then, apply a generous amount of adhesive remover to the decal and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. This will help to prevent damage to the paint beneath.

Finally, be patient and allow the adhesive remover to work for the amount of time specified on the label before attempting to remove the decal. Use a putty knife or other sharp object to carefully peel away the decal. 

If any adhesive residue remains, simply apply more remover and scrub it away with a sponge or cloth. 

Traditional Solvents

Traditional solvents like acetone and mineral spirits can dissolve the adhesive, making removal a breeze. However, they can also damage the paint if not used properly. It’s important to test a small area first to make sure the solvent won’t damage the paint.

If all appears well, soak a cloth in the solvent and apply it to the decal. You may need to let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing at the decal with a brush or scraper. 

Once the decal is removed, be sure to wash and wax the area where the decal was to help protect the paint. With a little care and effort, you can easily remove RV decals without damaging your paint job.

Eraser Wheels Method

Eraser wheels use specially designed soft rubber to remove decals from all types of surfaces, including RVs. Eraser wheels like this one attach it to a power drill and strip off the decal without damaging the paint surface. The spinning action of the wheel will lift the decal off of the surface and save your hands and arms a lot of aching.

Start by cleaning the area around the decal with soap and water. This will help to remove any dirt or grime that could prevent the Eraser Wheel from working its magic.

For best results, start at one corner of the decal and work your way around the entire design. Once the decal has been removed, use a clean cloth to wipe away any residual adhesive. 

Eraser wheels are safe to use on all RV finishes, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your paint job. 

Sale
Whizzy Wheel Car Decal and Sticker Remover with Drill Adapter Tool Kit | Adhesive Decal Remover...
  • THE ORIGINAL WHIZZY WHEEL - Designed to safely remove vinyl decals, adhesives, pinstriping, and stickers from cars, trucks, RV’s, boats,...
  • DRILL ADAPTER INCLUDED - Attach the included drill adapter to your rubber wheel and a household drill to quickly remove sun baked vinyl...
  • SAFE ON PAINT - The Whizzy Wheel adhesive remover tool is made out of premium soft rubber so it is safe to use on your automobile's paint...

WD-40 Method

WD-40 is a household staple with a wide range of uses. While it is best known as a rust preventative and lubricant, WD-40 can also be used to clean soap scum off shower doors, remove stubborn stains, and even RV decals.

To remove an RV decal with WD-40, first saturate the decal with the product. Then, use a putty knife or similar tool to scrape away the decal. Be sure to go slowly and carefully to avoid scratching the surface beneath the decal. If necessary, reapply WD-40 and repeat the scraping process until the decal is removed. 

Finally, clean the area with soapy water to remove any remaining WD-40 residue.

What are RV Decals?

RV decals are a type of adhesive sticker that is typically placed on the side or rear of a recreational vehicle. They are usually made from vinyl or laminated paper, and they can be printed with a variety of designs, logos, and messages. 

Many RV owners use decals to personalize their vehicles, and they are also a popular way to advertise businesses or promote charitable causes.

Some decals are temporary and can be easily removed, while others are more permanent and may require the use of solvents or heat to remove them. Regardless of their design or purpose, RV decals can add a touch of personality to any recreational vehicle.

Reasons to Remove Your RV Decals

Decals are a great way to show off your love for your favorite team, band, or cause. Over time, they can become faded, chipped, and downright ugly. If you’re ready to retire your old decals, here are a few reasons to make the switch:

  • They’re dated: Decals from five or ten years ago can make your RV look dated. If you’re looking to update your style, ditching the old decals is a great place to start.
  • They’re faded: Sun and weather can take their toll on decals, making them look faded and dull. If you want your RV to look its best, it’s time to replace those old decals.
  • They’re chipped: Decals that are starting to chip and peel not only look bad, but they can also damage your RV’s paint job. If you want to protect your investment, it’s time to say goodbye to those old decals.

Regardless of your reasons, removing RV decals is a relatively simple process that anyone can do. So if your decals are in need of a makeover, don’t hesitate to give them the TLC they deserve.

Removing Leftover Oxidation

Removing an RV decal can be a satisfying do-it-yourself project. But sometimes, after the decal is gone, you’re left with an unsightly blemish of oxidation. Here’s how to get rid of it.

There are a few different ways to remove leftover oxidation. One is to use rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth. Rub the area gently with the alcohol until the oxidation is gone. 

Another option is to use a household cleaner like window spray or all-purpose cleaner. Spray the area and then wipe it clean with a cloth. 

If those methods don’t work, you can try using a commercial RV cleaner or wax. Apply the cleaner or wax according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then buff it dry with a clean cloth. 

With any of these methods, it’s important to be gentle so you don’t damage the underlying paint job. Once the oxidation is gone, your RV will look good as new.

How to Protect Your Decals

Here are a few tips to help you keep your RV decals looking their best.

  • Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun’s UV rays can fade the colors and cause the material to deteriorate over time.
  • Make sure to clean them regularly with a mild soap and water solution. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could cause the decals to peel.
  • Invest in a good quality sealant designed specifically for protecting decals. These products will create a barrier against the elements, helping to keep your decals looking like new for years to come.
  • If you plan on storing your RV for an extended period of time, be sure use a protective cover to protect the decals, tires and roof from the elements. See our recent article on Why you should cover your RV tires for more details.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy your RV decals for many years to come.

Conclusion

Anyone who has ever owned an RV knows that decals are a necessary evil. They help to add personality and style to your vehicle, but they can also be a huge pain to remove. 

If you’re planning to sell your RV or simply want to change up its look, then you’ll need to know how to remove RV decals. 

Now that you know all the steps needed to remove your RV decals, you can get started right away. Remember to take your time and be patient, as this process can be delicate. 

With a little elbow grease and attention to detail, you’ll have those decals off in no time. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Beau

Beau is an electrical engineer with a knack for DIY repair and construction. When he's not tinkering with his projects he's on the road travelling and enjoying an exciting lifestyle with his young family.

Recent Posts