How to Remove Color Stains from Gel Window Stickers

No smoking decal on a window
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5-30
What You'll Need
Spray bottle
White vinegar
Window cleaner with bleach or ammonia
Laundry detergent
Scrub brush

Gel window stickers come in various sizes and shapes and are popular holiday decorations. You can also find them for your favorite sports team, your alma mater, and your local political candidates. But when you remove them you may find a stain on your glass that you didn't bargain for and then comes the task of removing it. This can be done rather easily and with a minimum of work.

Step 1 - Remove any Residue

bucket of cleaning supplies with window in the background

Many times when you remove a gel cling a bit of residue may remain on the window. Clean all of that off the window first with a mixture of one cup water with ¼-cup white vinegar. Pour that into the spray bottle and mist it onto the window. Then wipe it clean with a clean rag. This will remove most residue and stains left from the window stickers. If this procedure doesn't work you will need to use something a bit stronger.

Step 2 - Stubborn Stains

Many of the dyes used in window stickers are very strong so the colors are intense in the sunlight. Sunlight can also cause them to transfer dye onto the window glass. For this strong staining you will need to use a commercial window cleaner with bleach or ammonia. Do not use these two products together as they will create a gas that can make you very sick. If possible find one of these cleaners that comes in a spray foam so it will cling to the area.

Spray on the foam and allow it to sit for a minute or so. Then use your rag to rub away the gel stain. For stubborn stains or dark colors you may have to repeat this process again. Be careful to not get any of the stain from the gel on your clothing because it may become a permanent stain.

For very intense stains, dip a tip of a rag into pure bleach and rub at the stain. In most cases this will remove the entire stain. Rinse with cold water.

Step 3 - Stains on Clothing or Upholstery

holding spray bottle and sponge over carpet

If you happen to get a color stain from a gel sticker on your clothing or on your child's clothing, first test an area for colorfastness. Try using a commercial stain remover such as Tide to Go or Shout Stain Removal Stick per the manufacturer’s instructions. Let it sit for a while then wash the garment as usual. Be sure to check to see the stain is gone before putting the garment in the dryer as heat will set a dye stain.

You may also try dabbing a bit of your normal liquid laundry detergent on the stain, rub it with a scrub brush and allow it to sit over night then launder as usual. Again, check to see the stain is gone before putting the garment in the dryer.

These same methods can be used to remove color stains from upholstery, making the final step blotting with a wet rag to dilute the soap and then air drying.