How to Remove Decals From Painted Surfaces

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl

  • White vinegar

  • Clean cloths

  • Hair dryer

  • Credit card

  • Olive oil

  • Nail polish remover (optional)

Decals stuck on painted walls or furniture are simple to remove. The problem with removing them is doing so without also removing paint. As the decal remains stuck to the surface, the glue becomes adhered to the paint, and the paint is lifted along with the adhesive. Proper technique and supplies help you remove decals from painted surfaces without taking the paint with you.


Step 1

Mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water in a bowl. Warm the diluted vinegar in a microwave so the solution is warm but not hot or boiling.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Wet a clean cloth in the vinegar solution and squeeze out the excess. Lay or hold the warm, damp cloth over the decal on your painted surface for a few minutes to loosen the paper and adhesive.


Step 3

Remove the cloth and pry up the edge of the decal with your finger. If the edge won't peel off easily, soften the adhesive further by heating it with a hair dryer for a minute. Remove as much of the decal as will easily lift off the painted surface by scraping it up with the edge of a credit card.


Step 4

Pour a quarter-sized amount of olive oil onto a clean cloth. Rub the olive oil into the remaining decal and adhesive to loosen. Allow the oil to penetrate the adhesive for a few minutes before scraping it off with the credit card.

Step 5

Clean the olive oil off the surface and remove any last traces of decal and adhesive, using a cloth dampened with white vinegar. Allow your painted surface to air-dry for several hours.


Nail polish remover can be used on some painted surfaces, such as wall paint, to remove decal adhesive. Always test an inconspicuous location to ensure the paint isn't also removed.

Other cooking oils or baby oil can be used to help remove the decal from the painted surface.


Don't pull the decal off the surface as paint is likely to come with it. Continue to apply your adhesive softening treatments to make the decal come off without damaging the surface.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...