A person attempts to remove and replace window film on a large window.

Want To Know How To Remove Window Film? Ask A Pro.

Tim TraxlerCommercial Window Film, Residential Window Film, Sun Control, Tips & Tricks

Removing old window film and preparing for a new installation can be a meticulous and labor-intensive process. We’ve tapped into our 30-plus years of experience to pull together a step-by-step guide of what you’ll need to remove window film the right way, as well as why professional assistance can be a better way to go for your home window film removal or commercial window film removal.

How Do I Know I Need To Replace My Home Or Commercial Window Film?

Window film can degrade over time due to exposure to sunlight, weather conditions, and other factors. Here are some signs that may indicate it’s time to replace your window film:

There are bubbles in my window film, or it’s starting to peel

It’s one of the most common issues we see: bubbles forming under the film or the edges of the film starting to peel away from the glass. Bubbling can also be caused by improper installation or the breakdown of the film’s adhesive layer over time.

My window film is discolored or fading

Window film can lose its color and become faded or turn a purple hue, which is a sign of the dye components in the film breaking down. Discoloration is often more noticeable in films that are not made with high-quality UV inhibitors and dyes – not something you’ll need to worry about if you use any of the 3M window films we install.

I’ve got cracks in my window film

Over time, the film might become brittle and start to crack, especially if it’s frequently exposed to intense sunlight and heat. This deterioration compromises the film’s effectiveness and aesthetic appearance.

My window film isn’t blocking heat or light very well

If the film no longer reduces heat or glare as effectively as it once did, it might be time to replace it. You might notice that rooms get hotter than usual or that sunlight is more blinding despite the presence of the film.

There are scratches in my window film

Significant scratching can impair visibility through the film and affect its appearance. While some minor scratches are normal, extensive scratching can be a sign that the film needs to be replaced.

The layers in my window film are delaminating

Delamination occurs when the layers of the film start to separate from each other, often resulting in a distorted, blurred or cloudy appearance. This can significantly reduce visibility through the window.

My window film feels sticky and is always dirty

Over time, the adhesive used to attach the film to the glass can deteriorate, leading to a sticky or tacky feel on the film surface. This can attract dust and dirt, making the windows difficult to clean.

If you notice any of these issues with your window film, it might be a good idea to consult a professional about replacing it to ensure that your windows continue to provide the desired thermal protection, UV filtering, and aesthetic qualities.

How To Remove Home Or Commercial Window Film

At the very least, here’s what our pros recommend you’ll need to properly remove existing window film from your windows, including the tools you should have on hand, a quick overview of the process, and how having a professional do the job will make your life easier.

Step 1: Heating the Film

Tools Needed: 

Hair dryer or heat gun.


– Begin by evenly heating the old film with a hair dryer or heat gun.

– Keep the heat source about 6-8 inches away from the glass to avoid thermal shock.

Professional Advantage:

We use specialized heating tools that evenly distribute heat and prevent glass damage, reducing the risk of breakage.

Step 2: Peeling Off the Film

Tools Needed: 

Razor blade or utility knife.


– Start at a corner of the window. Gently lift the film using the blade.

– Slowly peel the film away, applying heat to the next section as you proceed.

Professional Advantage:

We have a lot of experience minimizing tearing and ensuring that the film comes off in larger sections, which simplifies the cleanup process (which we also do for you).

Step 3: Removing Adhesive Residue

Tools Needed: 

Spray bottle with soapy water, adhesive remover.


– Spray the exposed adhesive with soapy water or a commercial adhesive remover.

– Allow the solution to soak in to soften the adhesive.

Professional Advantage:

We use the most effective solvents that are safe for both the window and the environment, and we’re trained in how to properly handle these chemicals.

Step 4: Scraping the Residue

Tools Needed: 

Razor blade scraper.


– Use the scraper to gently remove the adhesive residue.

– Keep the glass wet with the cleaning solution to avoid scratches.

Professional Advantage

We have specialized equipment, including high-quality scrapers, and use a few expert techniques that prevent glass scratches and ensure that all residue is thoroughly removed.

Step 5: Cleaning the Window

Tools Needed: 

Window cleaner, lint-free cloth, squeegee.


– Thoroughly clean the window with a window cleaner or vinegar-water solution.

– Dry the window completely to prevent streaks.

Professional Advantage:

Years of practice have made us great at doing windows. A streak-free finish ensures that the window is perfectly clean, and prep work is everything if you want optimal adherence from the new film.

Step 6: Inspecting the Glass


– Carefully inspect the glass for any scratches, nicks, or defects that might affect the new film.

Professional Advantage:

We’re great at spotting any needed window repair or special treatments that could be necessary before applying new film.

DIY Window Film Removal: Possible, But Better Left To Pros

While it is possible to remove window film and prepare the glass yourself, hiring an expert can significantly enhance the quality of the removal and durability of the new film. Since we’re professionals, we have the right tools, materials, and experience to handle unexpected challenges that might arise during the process.

Contact PA Window Tint Inc. About My Window Film Removal

PA Window Tint Inc. began serving central Pennsylvania in 1993 and has since extended service to New York, Maryland, and New Jersey. As a 3M Prestige dealer, we are part of an elite network trusted with providing the highest quality products and impeccable installations. For home or commercial window film removal questions, give us a call at 1-866-329-0064 or fill out this quick form to get a free window film removal estimate. We’re here to help you with all your window film needs.