Ironed-on letters are a trendy way to accessorise your clothes and show off your personal style. Although it is very easy to iron on letters and labels, it can be quite tricky removing them. Below are a few hints on how to remove ironed-on letters and labels.
1. Use Heat and Steam to Remove the Letters.
- First, place the garment on a flat surface. The surface should be heat resistant.
- Get a small towel or rag and place it inside the garment, between the two sides. The idea here is to protect the other side from being damaged by heat. If you do not have a towel, or you find that a rag is too soft for this task, use a piece of plywood or cardboard.
- Look at the garment care instructions to make sure that your garment can withstand high temperatures. Note that some materials melt when exposed to intense heat.
- Heat the ironed- on letters using a hairdryer. Set your dryer to its hottest setting and turn it on, and hold it close to the letters. After a few minutes, the adhesive on the characters becomes malleable, making them easier to remove.
- If you don’t have a hairdryer, steam off the letters using an iron and a wet cloth. Get a small cloth, wet it, and put in on top of the letters. Put your iron on the highest setting and place it on top of the cloth. The steam will heat the adhesive on the back of the letters.
- With a sharp knife, try to pull off the letters one by one. Scrape off the edges of the letters, going round each one slowly and carefully. Once part of each letter has been pried up, pulling up the rest of it will be a simple task.
- Keep heating small sections of each letter and scraping them off. The area you are working on has to be very hot for this to work. Be patient and catch up on your favorite music as you do this job.
- Once you remove all the letters, there may be a little adhesive left on the garment. To remove this residue, use an adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol. Test each of these chemicals on a tiny corner of your garment first, so that you don’t ruin your favorite item.
Lastly, wash the garment as usual. Give the garment a through washing especially if you used any chemicals on it. Rinse several times, and then hang it up to dry!
2. Use an Iron to Remove the Letters
- Lay your garment flat on an ironing board, with the letters facing up. If you don’t have an ironing board, use any flat surface in the house. Cover the surface with a thick piece of cloth to prevent heat damage.
- Put a small rag or towel on the inside of the garment, to prevent the other side from being scorched. You can also use a tiny piece of plywood or cardboard, especially if you find that the towel keeps moving.
- Study the garment care instructions before you begin. Your garment may be made of a material that is not heat resistant and could be damaged.
- Put on your iron, and make it as hot as possible. Use another method if you are worried that your garment will burn. Alternatively, start with the iron on medium heat, and then increase the heat gradually until you see the letters are coming off.
- Start with a corner of the letter. Put the iron on it, and see if the heat melts the letter. If the letter melts, continue around it with quick strokes. As you keep ‘attacking’ the letter with heat, it will either peel up or burn off completely.
- Continue this process until all the characters are gone. Reduce the heat if you notice that the garment is being damaged.
- If the letters are made of vinyl, remove them by placing wax paper over each one, and then ironing. The letters will melt and stick to the paper. When you lift the paper, the letters will come up with it. This only works for Vinyl letters, though.
- Check the garment to see if there is any adhesive left on it. The adhesive is removed using an adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol. Test the chemicals on a hidden bit of the garment first.
Finally, wash your garment as usual. Wash and rinse thoroughly to remove any traces of chemicals you may have used.
3. Use Chemical Solvents to Remove the Letters.
Chemical solvents for removal of ironed-on letters are readily available in the shops. You could also opt to use household solvents like nail polish remover, adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol.
- Place your garment in the dryer (if you have one), on high heat. This first step heats up the glue behind the letters and loosens them.
- Turn your item of clothing inside out so that the letters are on the inside. The side of the garment with the letters behind it should be facing up.
- Find out how well your garment will tolerate the solvent by testing it on a hidden area. If there is no damage, go on to the next step.
- Saturate the fabric with the solvent, so that it soaks through, loosening the adhesive between the garment and the letters.
- Peel the letters off carefully, so that you don’t damage the fabric. You may need to use a knife and some additional heat from a hair dryer to hasten the process.
- After the letters come off, there may be a little residual adhesive left on the garment. To remove the remainder, use rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover. Make sure you test the remover on a tiny corner of the garment before use.
- Wash and rinse the garment thoroughly, using extra detergent to remove the solvent completely. Your garment must be washed on its own so that the solvent doesn’t damage your other clothes.
Here is a video tutorial from Youtube showing how to remove printing on clothing
There you go – three ways on how to remove ironed-on letters. Now you can change the appearance of your clothes whenever you want to!