If you have a hoodie that you love but you'd love it a lot more without lettering on it, know that it's usually possible to remove an unwanted design. Results aren't guaranteed, and the process can be somewhat time consuming and tricky, but if you're willing to give it a try, then you need to pick the method that matches the lettering type.
Embroidered lettering, which consists of stitched threads through the hoodie's fabric, is the easiest to remove. Vinyl lettering, which is recognizable for its smooth, shiny, slightly raised surface, is also removable with some basic household tools. Screen-printed letters, which put permanent ink on the surface of the hoodie, require some harsher chemicals, but it can be done.
How to Remove Embroidered Lettering
Removing embroidered lettering from a hoodie is quite straightforward – you simply need to cut and remove all the embroidery threads. A seam ripper, which is a tool with a hooked blade available at sewing supply stores, is perfect for the job. You will also need tweezers to pull out the cut threads and a lint roller to clean up the area as you work.
Start on the back of the lettering inside the hoodie and slide the blade of the seam ripper underneath a few of the embroidered threads. The blade should easily cut the threads as you slide it. Work in one small area at a time, cutting the threads and pulling them out with the tweezers before moving on to the next area. Be patient and take care not to poke the seam ripper blade through the fabric.
As you work, you will reveal a layer of interfacing – a thin, rough textured fabric – underneath the threads. Pull this away as you go. Finally, check with a magnifying glass to make sure you got out all the threads. There will be visible thread holes in the hoodie, but these should disappear after laundering or if you press them with an iron.
How to Remove Vinyl Lettering
Removing vinyl lettering requires heat, which you can apply with a hairdryer or iron. Heat softens the vinyl and the adhesive that sticks it to the hoodie, enabling you to peel and pull away the lettering. Blast the first letter or part of a larger letter with a hairdryer set to hot for up to a minute. If you're using an iron, set it to hot and press the letters through a damp cloth until the cloth becomes dry.
With enough heat, you should be able to pull up the vinyl letter at the edges. Grasp the edges of the vinyl with your fingers and firmly tug it up and off the hoodie, either in pieces or – if you're lucky – as a whole letter. If pulling with your fingers isn't sufficient, scrape the vinyl upward using a kitchen knife with a nonserrated blade.
Continue blasting the next part of the lettering with heat and pulling or scraping off the letters until you've removed all the vinyl. If any sticky residue remains, rub it away with the edge of a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. Finally, launder the hoodie.
How to Remove Screen-Printed Lettering
Removing screen-printed lettering from a hoodie is possible using nail polish remover. First, test a drop of nail polish remover on a hidden part of the hoodie to make sure it doesn't damage the fabric. Work outside or in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves and a face mask. Put a piece of cardboard inside the hoodie to protect the side without lettering from the chemicals.
Soak the printed lettering area with nail polish remover and let it soak for approximately 30 minutes. Use the corner of a rag or a soft brush to rub away the lettering. Launder the hoodie, and if any traces of lettering remain, you can repeat the process. Don't repeat it more than once or you risk damaging the fabric.