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topic 10068

How to remove stuck paper from acrylic sheet

A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2018.


Q. Hi,

I have several sheets of acrylic still with the paper covering on. The sheets are approximately 16 years old and never used. I cannot get the paper off as it appears to be stuck on solid. It has been stored in a barn, no direct sun, but possibly just the heat of the summer year after year caused this. I have tried soaking in water, scraping with plastic egg lifter and the glue is still there.

Is there a solvent or equivalent that can be used that will not cloud or harm the acrylic?

Pat Hoffman
- Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada


A. Pat,

Before even reading about the 'age' of your acrylic sheets, I said to myself, I bet that those are old sheets!

Maybe suppliers of acrylics could help you. Johnson Industrial Plastics, Cadillac Plastics, Crystal Glass and Plastics.

Why don't you try some alcohol. ... not the drinkable type, too expensive! but Methyl Hydrate or any other aliphatic solvent. This should, I think, soften up the dried-on mucilage/glue underface ... but considering the square footage involved, maybe I'd try to prevent it from evaporating too fast ... it is water miscible, after all!


freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


A. Pat,

I happened to pass an Acrylic supplier this morning so I popped in and 'asked' your question.

The reply was pretty negative. Scrap those sheets as if 'you' try to soften up the sheets and 'scour' off the paper, you could get stress cracks. Maybe, perhaps, soak the entire sheet for some time in water (not a bad idea!)But I did point out that your sheets had NOT been outdoors which is probably a blessing.

They also asked if those sheets were extruded or pressed. Dinna ken, I replied. Probably extruded due to their cost but then extruded sheet can stress crack more easily than the pressed sheet.

But do NOT use Zylene or Toluene, Toluol or any of those aromatic hydrocarbons. Don't even use polar solvents like Acetone [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. They will ALL attack acrylics fairly fiercely. Anyhow, Acetone is often used for edge joining but it is not a particularly good adhesive compared to proprietary acrylic cements.

(I'd go for the idea of soaking the entire sheet in water. Maybe TSP (trisodium phosphate [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]) would help as it is a superlative wetting agent) Lots of luck!

Freeman Newton
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

A. Many of these sheets used an adhesive that is heat activated. You can try using an electric hair dryer to warm the corner of the sheet and see if this loosens the paper. If it does, slowly work your way across the sheet--if you go too fast the paper will rip making removal more difficult.

If that does not work, sometimes allowing a light oil, such as vegetable oil, to soak in overnight will loosen the sheets.

Good luck.

Howard Berman
wire forming - Yonkers, New York

Eucalyptus Oil

A. The best way of getting off paper on old Perspex, I have found after 30 years of experience, is to brush a thin coat of eucalyptus oil =>
on the paper and leave it for 15 minutes, than the paper scrapes off easily with a piece of wood, and the final clean up is also easily done with a cloth with some eucalyptus oil, it leaves no residue and is dry after 1/2 hour,
I have just cleaned up some 20 mm sheet that was 20 years old no problem at all. Whatever you do, never use any sort of alcohol.

Valther Baek-Hansen
- Canberra, Australia

July 27, 2011

A. Eucalyptus oil works great on any surface that is not porous and not safe with general solvents. It can remove glue from plastics as it softens the glue. Then wash off with soap and water.

Langdon Olger
- South Westralia, Australia

May 18, 2012

A. RIP Mr Newton ..

Well, I have tried soaking the sheets in soapy water spraying a great Aussie product called lanolin oil (made by Lanotec)
Then I used a Gerni water blaster followed by eucalyptus oil ... It works.

Chris Linnell
- Sydney, Australia

April 26, 2015

thumbs up signEucalyptus oil work very well

Gregory lawler
- Queens, NYC, New York

Silicone Spray Lubricant

October 27, 2009

A. A mist of silicone spray =>

Wait a minute, and removal is smooth and easy. I roll the paper backing off using a broomstick or 1x1.

David Halloran
- Somerville, Massachusetts

November 11, 2009

A. I had the same problem with some acrylic laying in the basement for about 7 years. I used a forced air heat gun to warm the paper/adhesive and it peeled off intact smooth as silk!

Lonnie Rose
- Lynchburg, Virginia

November 17, 2011

! Make sure to be careful using a heat gun. If used too intensely in one area you have the chance of leaving a nasty residue on the acrylic from the adhesive. This will not come off, basically melted in.

Devin Cole
- Portland, Oregon, United States

April 10, 2011

A. Just used Methylated spirits and it made it a lot easier to peel the paper off. I needed to keep the paper very damp though with Metho.

willy McGee
- Adelaide Australia

March 29, 2012

Q. I had plastic coating done onto my degree certificate. Now I want it's attestation by a third party. I have tried myself and in the local market for removing this plastic coating (fixed with some adhesive), but I cannot get it removed. Any effort is damaging the original document. I request for guidance and help because it is essential for me that I get the coating removed.


Abdullah Mahesar
- Karachi, Pakistan

April 3, 2012

Hi Abdullah. Sorry for your hardship, and we'll hope that someone has an idea worth trying. But plastic lamination is more robust than paper, so this may not be possible even if you knew all the particulars about the adhesive (which you don't). Sorry.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 4, 2012

Q. I have the acrylic sheets on which its protective paper has got stuck on it. It stuck very hardly as if it has become a integral part of the acrylic surface.
Please suggest any solvent so that it will help in removing the paper along with its glue very easily and at the same time will not harm to acrylic.


Mahesh Pimprikar
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

August 9, 2012

Q. I have put acrylic stickers on a sheet metal sign and it had the paper backing, which I left on as I thought this would protect stickers from any damage until I had a chance to put the sign up. This has been a few months and I now cannot get the paper to come off the metal or the stickers.


If I use eucalyptus oil, wouldn't that remove the stickers as well? I only want to remove the paper- which is just tearing off in tiny bits and leaving a residue on top of the stickers and the metal. It's a big sign too, so a lot to be done. I did try white vinegar on it, but that didn't work at all and the weather here is quite cold also, in case that makes a difference.. Please help me. Thank you.

Zoe swain
- Narrabri australia

Lift Off No. 5

September 4, 2012

A. I had some older acrylic whose paper mask was very stubborn. I sprayed it down with some "Motsenbocker's Lift Off 5" Latex Based Paint remover =>

It seemed to saturate the paper after a minute or so, and the paper came off nicely in one piece.

Alex Maier
- Herriman, Utah, USA

December 8, 2013

A. I use "Quick 'n Easy" Specialty Adhesive Remover" [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. Spray it on and let it soak into the paper, then carefully peel it off. Wet a shop rag with the spray and wipe away the residual adhesive. Old deteriorated plexiglass paper was no problem with a non scratching plastic scraper or a piece of wood.

John Basile
- Hopewell, Virginia, USA

January 2, 2014

A. I read this thread for help as we have some sheets stored in barn for long time and paper is baked on. Last night a thought came to me - vegetable oil. It takes off super glue, why not try. Guess what -it works! It worked the best where paper was still in place and after soaking awhile sheets came off like new. Some areas had to soak and it's not perfect, (would be if I had not tried scraping) I was so excited I had to share. Hope this helps someone.

B. Martin
- Dixon, Missouri

April 2, 2014

A. I used mineral turpentine and it was easy to get off. Took a household sponge put a little Turps on it and wiped the entire sheet, waited a few minutes say 2-5 minutes. Then started peeling from a corner with my fingernail or scraper. All comes off. Then used more of the same method to clean the plastic sheet.

Paul Craigie
- Melbourne, Australia

July 4, 2014

A. Mineral turps worked for me too. I had to scrape a little in places with a small piece of wood because I had bent the plastic with the coating still on.

Jim Ettles
- Bendigo Australia

August 16, 2016

A. Use vinegar, soak for 10 mins, the acidity will break down the glue and will not harm the plastic, rub with soft cloth. This works on wallpaper also.

Steve Lovelace
- Dayton ohio

Goo Gone

August 28, 2016

A. We have a good sized green house with a home made curved roof covered in various types of acrylic and polycarbonate clear sheet material. About every 5 years one or two age out or crack and we are constantly replacing the broken ones. The glazing guys leave their scraps and left overs behind and have built up quite a collection of old plastic sheet material stored in the barn or under a crawl space. Finally decided to use some of the left overs as replacements and found it very tedious trying to remove 5- 20 year old paper covers (will remove them right away from now on) After reviewing the suggestions on this site I did an experiment on a 10 year old 3'x4' scrap of paper entombed clear polycarbonate. Used Brake Fluid, WD-40, Mineral oil, Turpenoid, Fast Orange and Goo Gone =>
Scraped away on parts of each right away then left them all covered with contractor bags overnight.
The Goo Gone was by far the easiest on both attempts followed by WD- 40, the mineral oil was OK but tedious working and clean-up, the turpenoid not only did little to simplify the work but it left craze marks the next day and the Fast Orange, while great for clean-up did nothing. The Goo Gone under plastic for a while would be my suggestion for this task

Roc Caivano
- Bar Harbor, Maine

December 21, 2016

A. Goo-Gone spread over the paper; wait five minutes. The paper peels of in one piece.

Victor Go
- Nashua, New Hampshire, USA

November 4, 2017

A. De-Solv-It [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. Tried multiple items.
This should stuff is amazing. Had 25 x 1 metre x 50 cm sheets double sided with paper glued on. Sharp razor blade to help the stubborn bits but all in all saved me days of hard yakka.

Andrew rohde
- Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

December 15, 2017

thumbs up sign A hair dryer on a hot setting did it for me. Got a corner released to start with and then pulled gently - kept the dryer moving back and forth along the edge being removed and it came off clean.

Did have hot fingers for a while after though!

David Coull
- Mintlaw, Scotland

March 2, 2018

A. I have found just using regular vegetable oil and covering the paper and letting it sit for awhile, it will come off using your fingernail (to not scratch it). Do not rinse it off until it is all off. Then just clean it with regular dish soap and a sponge, for glass - use the scrubby pad.

Leo Lessard
- Maricopa, Arizona, USA

May 18, 2018

A. Haha, so I remember when I bought my house about 3 years ago I looked online everywhere for solutions on this issue. Most sounded like too much work so I tossed the sheets in the shed and never looked back. That is until today, and guess what, I found it -- the thing that makes this easier than writing this post. The best thing is you probably already have it in your garage. The one and only WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. Spray generously, grab you a razor blade scraper, and watch it come off so easy you wonder why you didn't think of that. Hope this helps. I read this about 3 years ago and had to share and maybe save someone a lot of time and money

Brandon Ahart
Refresh Concepts - Phoenix, Arizona

June 12, 2018

A. Gentlemen!!
I believe in "giving back" to the Community.
I'll be short.
I initially came here to find a fix to removing protective Papers STUCK ON HORRIBLY! To make Matters worse? I have Dark Blue pieces (160- 4x9 pcs.) with clear facings for My Office plaques -- shows Any and All fingerprints, smudge, adhesives and marrings!
To the point:
1- Hairdryer quickly over edge.
2- attempt to gracefully peel back and roll to keep paper from separating. If this does not fully correct issue move to #3.
3- using ONLY soap & water (preferably Dawn) saturate.
Then quick dry residual water with paper towel and proceed to peel and Roll off protective Backer.
Finally!! and worked Great for me.
#5- remove fuzzies with "microfiber Ant-Static Cloth.
These steps Kept my AMcomm Stickers on and unharmed and still allowed me to place Vinyl Chrome Lettering!!
Thanks Guys! WE Can Do This!!

Steven Schultz
AMcomm Telecommunications Inc. - Highland, Michigan, USA

July 18, 2018

A. WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] took off the 16 yr old paper masking from my plexiglass like a charm! I sprayed it on liberally and let it soak in for 2 1/2 hours. It peeled off completely with very few sheets tearing and no sticky glue was left behind! No damage was done to the plexiglass at all! Today is 7/18/2018; I just finished cleaning up and it looks like a brand new sheet!

Krayon Deigh
- Jackson, New Hampshire USA

August 19, 2018

thumbs up sign  I am making a water wheel for my pond. I have some plexiglass that is 25 years old. I read all the suggestions and tried them. The one that worked was soaking the plates in alcohol. It came off easier than when it was new. Thanks

wallyc synes
- niagara falls on canada

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