How to Remove an Adhesive Shelf Liner

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Removing a stubborn adhesive vinyl shelf liner can be a frustrating job if you don't have the right tools. Shelf liners that have been in place for many years tend to bond with the shelf surface, making them nearly impossible to remove by peeling. By carefully using a heat gun to soften the adhesive, you can lift the liner with a putty knife. After the vinyl is removed, you can clean residual adhesive from the shelf with a specialized adhesive-removal solvent.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat gun
  • Putty knife
  • Adhesive-removing solvent
  • Cleaning rags
  • Remove as much of the liner from the shelf as you can by lifting the edge with a putty knife then peeling. Prevent the liner from tearing so you can remove it in large sheets. Once you have removed as much of the liner as possible by lifting and peeling, it is time to apply heat.

  • Plug-in a heat gun and set it between low and medium heat. Hold the gun eight to 10 inches from the shelf; you will see the liner develop bubbles as the adhesive begins to soften and loosen. Work in small areas, heating one five-to-six inch square at a time. Scrape the liner from the shelf with a putty knife. Turn the heat gun off before setting it down. Continue heating and scraping until the entire liner has been removed from the shelf.

  • Apply adhesive-removing solvent to the shelf, as directed by the manufacturer. Depending on the solvent used, you may have to wait a few minutes before wiping away the solvent and residual adhesive with a rag.

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