How to Remove Rub-On Decals

Rub-on decals can decorate surfaces including human skin, paper and glass. A benefit to using them is easy removal when the decal begins to show signs of wear or when you need a change. The type of surface dictates how you should take off decals. Common household items will usually get the job done.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol or baby oil
  • Cotton balls
  • Household tape (optional)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Razor blade
  • Water
  • Plastic knife
  • Hair dryer (optional)

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Remove from Skin

Soak the rub-on decal area with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol or baby oil.

Wait 10 to 15 seconds for the decal to begin softening.

Rub the softened decal with a clean cotton ball until removed. If the rub-on decal is difficult to remove, try covering it with household tape and pull.

Remove from Paper

Moisten the decal with a barely damp cloth. Dab until the decal begins to soften.

Heat the rub-on decal area with a hair dryer set on “High” for 30 seconds as an alternative.

Gently scrape at the decal using your fingernail or plastic knife.

Remove from Hard Surfaces

Soak the rub-on decal area with a cotton ball dipped in water or nail polish remover.

Wait 10 to 15 seconds for the decal to soften and begin disintegrating.

Scrape the decal area gently with your fingernail or a razor blade.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may need to repeat these procedures a few times to achieve desired results.
  • If the rub-on decal is on a child’s face, especially near the eyes or mouth, use baby oil instead of rubbing alcohol to remove.
  • Using too much water on paper can cause the appearance of water spots. Use the heat method of decal removal on paper if you have a heavy hand.
  • To ensure you do not damage the decal surface, make sure the decal is compatible with the surface you intend to use. For example, some rub-on decals will not come off paper, plastic or vinyl.


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