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  1. #1
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    Decals and Stickers - How to remove them?

    Got a project bike, need to remove decals and stickers so I can sand for new paint job.

    Is there a best/easiest way to get those things off?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Heat with hair dryer, then peel.

  3. #3
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    If its not apparent that decals are not stickers, are they still removable or are they painted on?

  4. #4
    Senior idugboe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Heat with hair dryer, then peel.
    Yup!
    Or you could send the frame to a sandblast outfit & kill two birds with one stone. I'm assuming steel frame.
    Last edited by idugboe; 01-04-10 at 09:07 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    If you can't get a finger nail under the edge to peel them and if there is an obvious bump then they are stick ons that were applied before the frame was clear coated. In that case just sand the stickers off along with the paint.
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  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Heat with hair dryer, then peel.
    That will get the printed part of the label off. Mineral spirits will take off the adhesive. Acetone, alcohol, nail polish remover, etc. won't remove the adhesive as easily as mineral spirits.
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  7. #7
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    If removing the stickers and keeping the paint, I recommend WD40 to get the sticky crap off.

    Takes a while, but won't damage the paint like mineral spirits can.

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    If removing the stickers and keeping the paint, I recommend WD40 to get the sticky crap off.

    Takes a while, but won't damage the paint like mineral spirits can.
    Mineral spirits won't damage the paint any more then WD-40 will. Similar materials with a slightly different boiling point. Mineral spirits don't have the lubricants that WD-40 does and evaporates cleaner. It also evaporates faster.
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  9. #9
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    I think modern bikes these days have the decals stuck to the painted frame prior to clear coating. Annoys me as I like my bikes "naked".
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  10. #10
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Mineral spirits won't damage the paint any more then WD-40 will. Similar materials with a slightly different boiling point. Mineral spirits don't have the lubricants that WD-40 does and evaporates cleaner. It also evaporates faster.
    I beg to differ. I've seen mineral spirits damage surfaces WD40 leaves alone.

    WD40, presumably, is designed not to damage paint, plastic and so on.

    Wiping off the residue is a small price to pay. The lubricants in it even rejuvenate perished paint and plastics, similar to Armor All.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    I beg to differ. I've seen mineral spirits damage surfaces WD40 leaves alone.

    WD40, presumably, is designed not to damage paint, plastic and so on.

    Wiping off the residue is a small price to pay. The lubricants in it even rejuvenate perished paint and plastics, similar to Armor All.
    I think you are confusing mineral spirits with something else.

    Mineral spirits are hydrocarbon molecules of 6 to 12 carbons. While they are flammable, they don't have much in the way of solvating power, especially where polymerized paints are concerned.

    The formula for WD-40 is a trade secret so we don't know exactly what is in it. From the MSDS, we can deduce that it is likely a mixture of kerosene or, perhaps, Stoddard's solvent (50%) with mineral oil (15%) and some kind of carrier. The carrier used to be butane but has probably been replaced with carbon dioxide. If it is kerosene, then it is a mixture of hydrocarbons with 6 to 16 carbons per molecule. Stoddard's solvent is also known as mineral spirits or the same mixture as above. Mineral oil is a hydrocarbon mixture with 15 to 40 carbons per molecule.

    Neither of these mixtures contains anything that would damage a painted surface. The mineral oil sticks to the surface and attracts dust and dirt particles very well. It's viscosity and low water solubility would mean that it will persist on the painted surface. Armor All is a different beasty in that it sticks to the surface but doesn't attract dirt particles. There's nothing for the dirt to stick to.

    There are other solvents that will damage the paint such as acetone or methylene chloride (paint stripper). Alcohol might also do some damage to certain paints. However none of those solvents are any good at removing the compounds that make up decal and sticker adhesives. Acetone and alcohol will just cause them to gum up and make a mess that has to be physically...and rather difficultly...removed. A little mineral spirits on a cloth and a bit of rubbing will make the adhesive dissolve off with only a little effort.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    If you read the original post, you'll realize that he is not concerned with damaging the paint.

  13. #13
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    "GooGone"

    A.

  14. #14
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    A bigger hammer!!!!!!
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  15. #15
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
    If you read the original post, you'll realize that he is not concerned with damaging the paint.
    I saw that, but the thread's for the benefit of more folks than just the OP, right?

    cyccommute, I might well be talking about something other than 'mineral spirits'; it's not a term that gets used much in my neck of the woods... a brief squiz on Wiki told me that refers to what we call mineral turpentine, or just 'turps'. It may not be quite the same thing, perhaps...

    Granted, it doesn't damage most paint, but I've seen it harm the gloss on some. Same for plastic. It's not as brutal as eucalyptus oil though, which some folks seem to think is a good bet for removing sticky goop...

  16. #16
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    Thanks, everybody!

    Used a heat ***. The decals (at least the ones that weren't clear-coated from the factory) came off very easily.

    The residue? 'Goof-Off' from Home Depot.

    Mission accomplished.

    Thanks again!

    frits51

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