How to Remove an Iron-on Transfer From Clothes

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Iron-on transfers don't have to be permanent. They be removed if need be, and there are several ways to remove them. Try one or a combination of these techniques to remove iron-on transfers when you need to change the look of your clothes.

Tip

  • These techniques also work well for removing letters, numbers and pictures that were painted on your clothes freehand or with the use of stencils.


The Brush Technique

If the iron-on transfer is already starting to peel away from the fabric on its own, you may be able to simply peel the transfer off with the help of a lint brush, stiff toothbrush or wire brush. Carefully move the brush over the transfer in a smooth motion until it's completely brushed away.

The Solvent Technique

This technique works best for small, vinyl heat transfers like numbers and letters, and it works for all types of fabrics -- however, before trying this technique, test the fabric by putting a dab of solvent on a hidden area of the clothing to make sure it doesn't cause damage.

You can use a solvent specifically created for removing letters and numbers, but you can also use fingernail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. Turn the clothing inside out, and using a piece of cloth or a cotton ball, apply the solvent to the fabric directly behind the iron-on transfer you wish to remove. Wait a few seconds for the solvent to soak into the fabric. The solvent may loosen the transfer enough that you're now able to peel it off. It helps to pull the fabric slightly to loosen the transfer.

The Parchment Paper Technique

If all else fails, this is your go-to method for removing iron-on transfers. This is a great technique for large iron-on transfers such as a large logo or a picture of a mascot, but you can also use this technique for smaller iron-on transfers like letters and numbers. Use this method for clothes that can be ironed.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Parchment paper

Step 1

If your clothing is 100 percent cotton, set the iron to the cotton setting. If your clothing is polyester or a poly-blend, set your iron to the appropriate setting. If your clothing is made from another fabric, check the tag to make sure that fabric is okay to iron, and set your iron to the recommended setting.

Step 2

Put the item of clothing on the ironing board with the iron-on transfer facing up.

Step 3

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the transfer.

Step 4

Using smooth strokes, iron directly on top of the parchment paper, over the transfer.

Step 5

When you peel the parchment paper back, the iron-on transfer should be removed as well.

Step 6

If some of the iron-on transfer remains, place the parchment paper back on top of the clothing and iron again.

Step 7

Repeat as necessary until all of the iron-on transfer has been removed.

Warning

  • If your clothes cannot handle the high heat of an iron, the fabric fibers may end up shrinking from this technique.

Tip

  • Whichever technique you choose, there may still be a little bit of glue left behind on the fabric. You can use the parchment paper technique to try to remove the remaining glue, or you can wash the clothing in hot water -- which should loosen the residual glue -- and use the brush technique to brush it away.

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