Removing protective plastic film adhesive residue from stainless steel, brass, etc.
An ongoing discussion from 2003 through 2017 . . .
Many successes were reported with hot/boiling water, ammonia, or acetone.
Q. Our company manufactures and installs sheet-metal systems for enclosing piping, wiring, etc. in commercial construction. We are presently working with a stainless-steel material that comes from the metal suppler covered with a protective plastic film. This film is removed at the job site after installation. The film is sometimes extremely difficult to remove, often leaving a heavy adhesive residue on the metal. We have tried to remove this residue using MEK / methyl ethyl ketone, lacquer thinner [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], Xylene [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and Toluene products, and even gasoline and WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. None of these solvents have any significant effect on the adhesive residue. What do we need to remove this residue?
Thanks.Bill D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Tech Rep. - San Bruno, California
Ed. note: Several people have recommended that readers proceed immediately to Terry S's entry of June 17, 2011 as the simplest solution.
A. I use "Unseal adhesive releasing solvent". Works great but is very expensive. Active ingredient is Heptane. It is manufactured by Hunt Corporation in Statesville, NC. You can get small container (32 Fl.Oz) from your local picture frame molding supplier. Catalog # 470. I hope it will work for you.Danny T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Art, framing - Hayward, California
A. Recently discovered a citrus solution that works wonders: De-Solv-It [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] made by Orange-sol.
specialty stainless steel distributor
You really should find out WHAT the covering material was and WHAT, if any, was the 'glue' used! Then and then only could people make suitable suggestions.
Let's hope that those other people's helpful suggestions will work .... but when you mentioned a slew of aromatic hydrocarbons, I was a-wondering if the protective sleeving was Polyethylene which had somehow 'heat bonded' itself to the sheeting ... in which case, Oh Dear ... maybe heat would have to be used.
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).
Thanks to everyone for responding helpfully to my question about removing adhesive residue from stainless-steel sheet metal. I also made direct inquiry to the 3M company and they suggested if the adhesive resists organic solvents like toluene, MEK, xylene, etc., as well as citrus-based products, the adhesive may be acrylic-based and it might be attacked with household ammonia. This was indeed the case. Household ammonia removed the adhesive residue easily.Bill D [returning]
- Port Townsend, Washington
Thanks so much for keeping this information out on the web. I bought a stainless-steel gas range, and have been unable to get the residue off with WD40, hair spray, etc.
The ammonia worked like a charm! Now I can cook in the new oven. I believe the protective plastic did not pull off cleanly because of the hot climate down here in Mexico.
- Paamul, Q. Roo, Mexico
Plastic film on Vermont B-B-Q Grill(2006)
My greatest appreciation to Bill D for his tip about household ammonia dissolving plastic film on stainless steel. I live in the Dallas area and found a great 5 burner Vermont grill I really coveted. As the price was way more than I could budget, I caressed it fondly every visit and kept cooking away on my old Wal-Mart grill. After Christmas THE grill was put on clearance. They had left the protective plastic on and displaying it in the Texas heat melted it to the steel ... a discounted price of $300+. After trying everything from De-Solve-it to the blow dryer to remove it I Googled and ended up at your site. The ammonia melted the plastic, even in the crevices, and removed the adhesive residue. (Total $2.19!)
The grill looks brand new, has been appropriately installed and just this weekend broken in!
Thank you for the great time and money saving tip!
- Dallas, Texas
Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU. I too bought the Vermont Casting Grill at the Clearance price only to have the same glue/plastic staining/residue ... I am buying ammonia tomorrow. Thanks.Sara C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Q. I have the same Vermont Casting Grill from Home Depot with the plastic baked on. I tried the ammonia, but did not see the plastic dissolve. I have a feeling that I am not applying it properly. Can someone please let me know how they used the ammonia on their grill.
- Sammamish, Washington
A. Hi Dov. Keep reading and Alison M's posting of November 22, 2008 explains how she applied the ammonia. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 7, 2009
! I didn't get the hoped for melt-away on my Vermont Castings barbecue. After about 40 minutes of soaking via ammonia covered paper towels, however, it was easier to scrape off. I then used non-acetone nail polish to get the glue residue off. (didn't have Acetone type). Still have plastic on back side of the hood around small vent holes and don't plan on making myself nuts getting it off. Thanks for all the suggestions, I suspect a lot depends on how long it's been stuck on.Jan Clarence
- El Paso, Texas
August 26, 2010
! Read this post, found some household ammonia, used it on the blue plastic on the doors to my new BBQ. The blue stuff just peeled right off. It doesn't just dissolve away. It seems to just loosen the plastic from the steel so that it can be peeled away easier. Start at a corner of the blue, apply a bit of ammonia with a rag and then start peeling. My brother-in-law (who knows everything) stumped. I said I would go check on the net and voila - there was the solution. Thanks all.Pat Kvill
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Q. We have stainless steel panels inside our library, in the 6000 sq. ft. lobby area. I am trying to remove glue residue from supposedly removable little foam stickers off the stainless panels and it's taking a long time and the fumes are just about killing everyone. I first tried low odor Goof Off 2 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and then Scrubs Graffiti and Paint Remover. There's a lot of residue to remove so I'm looking for something quick but not too stinky. thanks,Jim B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
library - Zion, Illinois
A. My own routine is to try rubbing alcohol first (Isopropyl Alcohol [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]). If that doesn't work well, try ammonia. If that doesn't work, try Acetone [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. If that doesn't work, resign myself to picking, pulling, rubbing, scrubbing, cursing, and throwing stuff.
Ammonia and acetone won't harm most finishes, but might ruin some, so try to test on underside or inconspicuous spot.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
(2007) -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. Dear Sir,
We are Stainless steel fabricators in Dubai, UAE. We have a major problem in one of our project sites. We had installed a stainless steel hand rail and the plastic which was covered on the pipes is melted and has got stuck on the pipe and is finding it very difficult to remove the plastic.
Kindly provide us a suitable solution at the earliest. We tried cleaning with WD 40, thinner, etc., but failed.
Please reply at the earliest.
General Manager - Dubai, UAE
Q. I'm a mason contractor at the NJ shore that built an outdoor stone kitchen area. The homeowners bought and installed small Delfield Refrigerator and freezers that were installed around the stone. Being summer residents, they reminded me to remove the protective plastic coating from the doors as they were not present at the site. Unfortunately I got busy and after a couple of months the sun got to the doors before I could. I was able to peel some of the plastic off, however most has embedded itself where without using solvents it's a millimeter by fingernail process. I haven't tried any solvents except a quick dab with ammonia which did nothing. I'm a bit hesitant to use Goo Gone [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] or goof off as a last resort as I'm afraid that I may wipe any protective coating which will induce rust. I need help in direction or products, solvents, heat gun, anything that may work.Marshall Gemal
Owner - Long Branch, New Jersey
Plastic film on roofing sheetsApril 16, 2008
Q. Hi fellow sufferers of the accursed plastic cling foil to metal surfaces.
I have the same problem with a corrugated powder coated steel roof.
I have tried acetone, vinegar, domestos, meths, turps, petrol (gasoline to North Americans), heat gun, detergent and diluted pool acid to no avail.
The damn stuff is indestructible - any ideas from anyone would be welcome
Thanks to one and all
- Penrith, NSW, Australia
May 22, 2012
Q. I have a painted metal roof where the plastic protective coating has fused to the metal panels. We left the protective coating on thinking we were protecting the roof from contractors who were working on it but didn't realize the work was going to take this long so we left it on too long and now it is almost impossible to remove. The areas that were exposed to the sun are the worst. I have tried warm water, heat gun, ammonia, goof off, goo gone with no luck. These products will remove the residue where I can remove the plastic -- but for the most part I am stuck with the plastic not being able to be removed.Nick Delli Veneri
- Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA
May 28, 2014
Q. Please tell me what happens if the plastic cover on the top surface is not removed while installing the sheets on the roof?Manu N Hegde
- Mysore, Karnataka, India
A. Hi Manu. Are you referring to a plastic protective film?
It's hard to predict consequences ("For want of a nail ... the battle was lost"), but perhaps it may create pockets of rainwater that become stagnant and smelly, or accelerate the corrosion. The film is supposed to be removed. And if you don't do it now, Ken warns that it will only get harder :-(
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 28, 2008
Q. UNFORTUNATELY, A LOAF OF BREAD WAS ACCIDENTALLY LEFT ON THE TOP OF OUR STAINLESS STEEL CONVECTION TOASTER OVEN WHILE IT WAS BAKING AT ABOUT 400°F. THE COLOR OF THE BREAD WRAPPER ACTUALLY SEEMS TO BE EMBEDDED IN THE STAINLESS STEEL. I HAVE NOT ATTEMPTED TO CLEAN THIS. SHOULD I USE AMMONIA? OR ANOTHER PRODUCT?SHARI GUNDY
- ST. PAUL, Minnesota
June 5, 2008
Q. I guess I used the stove before taking the blue protective cove off the face of the door, so after a painful time removing it I find a glue cloud mark on the front but I can not seem to remove it with paint thinner or soup and water.
Any ideas what might work?
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 8, 2008
Q. Same problem but in my case, I'm a trucker with 6 stainless steel under-storage compartments. I've tried just about everything mentioned above. We truckers like things shiny so I am getting a little p-o'ed with this. Today, I went to Home Depot and bought a angle grinder, a Crossive 6" disc, a hand held buffer as well as buffing compound. I intend to grind this stuff off and mar this finish up then use the compound then buff it out with metal polish. I'll let ya know how it works!Christopher Bennett
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
A. To the people asking about removing the protective plastic film stuck on stainless steel appliances, nail polish remover with acetone works perfect. I first tried goo-gone which didn't work, then read on another site about using acetone and it works perfectly. Removes it clean off.Lisa Wells
- Clearwater Beach, Florida
November 22, 2008
A. Bought a new/used stainless steel outdoor refrigerator. Prior owner let the blue plastic film shrink-wrap and melt to the door. Tried everything to remove it. Then found this column. I soaked a washcloth with lemon ammonia and let it set on the door (set horizontal) for 15 minutes. Then used a plastic scraper to scrape away the softened film. Worked great and did not hurt the brush stainless finish. Thanks!Alison MacKenzie
- Poway, California
March 23, 2009
A. I just purchased a new stainless wall oven and put it in. The Blue Plastic Film was stuck to it like a price tag. I set for an hour with an orangewood stick carefully pulling the film off piece by piece and worked for an hour doing this. I was at my wits-end and decided to look for an answer online. I did try several things and it did not work. So I read on this site about acetone and had some and got some cotton balls and applied it to the area that I was working on. It made the film turn loose and then I went back over the area again with the acetone and got the glue off. It took me 15 minutes to get all of it off, and I am pleased to say it really works. I worked on a very small area for over an hour and finished all of it including polishing the over in 15 minutes . Thanks for the help.Terry Works
- Rainbowcity, Alabama
May 6, 2009
Q. I recently (may 2009) purchased a name brand refrigerator that came with the standard, protective shipping film, that when removed, left an almost invisible residue. You can see it best when you look at the fridge from an angle. The manufacturer says to use soapy water and a sponge...tried that. Didn't work.
Also tried vinegar, ammonia, and orange degreaser. Still nothing.
I have heard to try WD-40, goo-gone and xylene. I of course don't want to ruin the finish of the fridge, but would like this residue removed.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
hobbyist - phoenix, Arizona
A. Easy. Use a blowtorch, melt the plastic and wipe off with a cloth. Slow but effective.Johan Sunpay
- Pretoria, South Africa
June 30, 2009
Q. We have metal garage doors where the previous owner/builder failed to remove the plastic protective film and it has now sun-baked onto the surface. I have tried a number of solvent based product with no success. I have even tried pressure washing at about 2500 psi 40 degree spread. t took the loose bits off but the majority remains firmly adhered to the painted metal surface. Should I consider just painting over it?Ken Ines
- Vancouver BC Canada
A. Yes, I'd say it's unfortunately sounds like it's on for good and try Krylon Fusion [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] paint.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
July 26, 2009
A. Success! After reading this column, I figured I would try Citric solvent, ammonia, acetone and Goof-off (in that order) to remove the blue cellophane from a nice stainless microwave some friends gave us. They had used it for a while without removing the protective file, and it was hopelessly stuck and leaving a gluey residue. We happened to have a bottle of Orange TKO "super concentrated cleaner", and it worked like a charm. It did NOT work instantly. I had to pour the orange concentrate on the remaining blue plastic, spread it around, and wait for a few minutes. Then, using a paper towel soaked in the cleaner, my thumbnail would easily scrape the plastic off. It even started coming off in sheets (like it was supposed to) after soaking for a little longer. I still had to scrape with my fingernail through the soaked paper towel to get some stubborn parts off, but it was spotless after 15 minutes of work.Joe Cordes
- Berkeley, California
August 18, 2009
Q. Would Shellac, Kilz [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] (oil), or Zinsser Zinsser Cover Stain [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] work in a situation where the plastic coating has baked on to a primed metal door over a 10 year period of time? Which would be the best option.
- Abbotsford, B.C. Canada
A. I have had to remove the plastic film from stainless steel on many occasions over the years so was surprised/happy/delirious when I came across this site suggesting that ammonia would remove the film. Wow, I thought, is this what I have been missing! So I tried it, but alas, it wasn't to be. Actually, I probably would have been pissed thinking about all of the work I could have avoided.
Anyway, the ammonia seemed to make no difference at all. The plastic I am talking about is the white kind that is standard from the mill to protect polished SS. It is very tough and, if left exposed to sunlight, is almost impossible to remove without trashing the underlying surface. The basic problem is that the white (vinyl?) coating makes it very hard to get at the glue with anything that can soften it.
Here's what I have found to be the best way to remove this plastic coating from polished SS:
- Use a heat gun (mine is a B&D Heat and Strip) and a 1 1/2" putty knife, to heat the plastic coating and gently scrape it off the surface. This is the slow part. Someone else here suggested a blow torch, but I have found that that can damage/distort the surface. Be sure to work in the directions of the polishing to minimize surface damage.
- The result will be a mottled, greasy-looking surface, the remains of the plastic and the glue.
- Next, using rubber gloves, apply a generous film of Jasco water based paint stripper, all over the surface. Wait 5 minutes and then re-strip with the putty knife. This should remove almost all of the residue.
- Buff out the remaining residue with a paper towel soaked in Jasco.
- Buff out any remaining scratched with a SS pot scrubber, again working in the direction of the underlying polish. Incidentally, NEVER use mild steel tools or steel wool on a SS surface. If you do, atomic iron from the mild steel will become embedded in the surface where it promptly rusts and discolors it.
Hope this helps. Tim
- Seattle, Washington
April 29, 2010
A. I can absolutely second the approach taken by Timothy Hicks (described above).
I used a heat gun (the type used on shrink tubing) to heat up the white vinyl (which effectively melted it) and a soft cloth to wipe it off. I was then left with the glue residue. A combination of Goof Off and a citrus cleaner worked fine. No marks or stains on the metal at all.
It takes a *long* time to do this. Figure 30 mins for 2 x 2 ft sheet of stainless sheet;
Wear a respirator - the fumes from the heated vinyl are toxic - you don't want to be breathing them in.
- Atherton, California, USA
September 9, 2009
A. As a vendor of temporary surface protection films, I may be able provide some insights on this topic. Said insights may or may not be of any assistance, depending upon your particular "how-do-I-remove-this-*#^&*%*^-stuff?!" situation.
* The majority (though not all) of the protective films manufactured in the USA, today, are comprised of a water-based acrylic adhesive coated onto LDPE (low density polyethylene) plastic. The white and black films (with the adhesive on the black side) commonly used to protect stainless steel are co-extruded LDPE films. Extruding two thin layers of molten plastic in contact with each other makes a stronger, more abrasion resistant film for the same amount of plastic as one thicker layer.
* Water based acrylic adhesives are pressure, UV light, dwell time and heat sensitive adhesives. The more you have of each of these variables, especially in combination with each other, the "better" these adhesives perform ... to the point where they won't let go of either the surface being protected nor the carrier film they rode in on. As I believe someone said earlier in this thread, the adhesive and/or plastic becomes "baked" onto the surface. If the surface has a texture that the adhesive can get into, consider it to be twice baked. Though it is slight, brushed stainless steel does have a texture.
* LDPE plastic is non-permeable ... liquids cannot penetrate it. Which is why you can't get your adhesive dissolving agent to work directly on the adhesive.
* LDPE plastic cannot be dissolved by most chemicals. If your liquid adhesive-remover arrived in a plastic bottle, chances are pretty good that that particular liquid isn't going to dissolve a plastic film ;-)
* LDPE won't break down, dissolve or degrade in less than 500 years, except at very high temperatures which would probably cause those few hazardous chemicals that will dissolve it to burst into flames.
* As noted by Tim, stainless steel can be stained and/or discolored. What sometimes appears to be adhesive residue is actually a stain in the steel. Buffing or other treatments may be required to get rid of the stain.
* Other, somewhat specialized, protective films are made with either polypropylene, MDPE, vinyl/PVC or latex saturated papers.
Net-Net: the odds of getting a plastic film to literally dissolve without lots of applied heat, are not in your favor. Concentrate on finding a [mechanical] method of removing the film then address the adhesive mess that got left behind.
- Rockwall, Texas
September 23, 2009
Q. Hey Everyone,
Looks like we've all be scratching our heads on how to remove the 'baked on' plastic film. Mine issue is what Rick P from Texas called "twice baked'. I too bought a house where the previous owner had installed an insulated white finished steel wood grained look of a garage door where the previous owner listened to installer and his suggestion to 'leave on the plastic film as it will just protect the doors finish'! what a crock. I'm now left with this huge double garage door with a cracked, dirt filled plastic shell finish that seems to be bomb proof. I have tried the orange stuff, nail polish remover, gasoline, cooking oil, heat gun (Started to damage the surface), wonderwheel (Automotive pinstripe remover, which just smeared the plastic) and finally ammonia. Nothing has worked. The manufacturers of the door don't even know what to do, other than tell me that the guy should have removed the film on installation. I'm at my wits end with this project, but will not give up. There has to be an answer with this. Ammonia only cleans the surface, but the plastic is still there, and as tough as nails, it's just cleaner! So someone PLEASE HELP with an answer. This is MAJOR double baked!
home owner - Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Film on brass kickplateOctober 1, 2009
Q. Can I try all these same methods on a brass kick plate that the film has been left on for many years, or would some of these products damage the brass finish?MARCIA OLSON
- Auburn, Washington
October 27, 2010
Q. I am writing to try to help my husband who is a contractor and is having a hell of a time trying to clean new polished brass door kick plates for one of his customers. When he was ready to install the kick plates, he peeled off a protective film from the brass. When he did this, the brand new plates looked discolored and it seems as if some of the protective coating was left on the brass. We cannot get the residue off and we are concerned about ruining the polished brass surface with cleaners. If someone has suggestions, we would really appreciate it and so would his customer.Sarah Polselli
Contractor - San Diego, California, USA
A. Hi, Sarah. Brass tarnishes quickly, so there is no way it stays polished unless it is protected with a lacquer or other clearcoat. So this is trickier than some of the other problems. Try acetone or lacquer thinner; they should remove the gunk and the lacquer, if it is in fact lacquer. Then redo the lacquer.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 14, 2013
A. A word of warning when using ammonia. Do not use it on brass. It will turn brass as black as the inside of your hat. I learned the hard way when trying to remove the film from brass name plates that were to be etched.Neil Coy
- Lexington, Ohio, USA
October 29, 2009
A. I have tried for a number of days to come up with a method of removing some of the black and white LDPE film from some carts that were built a few years ago and stored in a location where they saw sunlight. As with most people I tried every solvent I could think of. Then I did some searching and found that Xylene [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] at elevated temperatures would penetrate the LDPE. What I found to work was to use a heat gun and warm the metal. Then I soaked a towel in Zylene and placed it on top of plastic and let it sit. After 10-20 min, the plastic coating peeled off as if it were new. Nice and easy leaving no residue. I did get it a little too hot in a few places and melted the plastic fairly severely. But what I found was that by laying the towel over the area second time for a few minutes, the residue wiped right off.Peter Novacek
- Menomone Falls, Wisconsin
April 6, 2010 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. How can I remove plastic type cover from stainless steel door panels? It had dried out and stuck like paint over the time.I appreciate any suggestions.Thank you all. Jorge G.Jorge Gallego
elevator tech. - New York City, New York
A. My daughter had a product that removed Artificial Nails by dissolving the glue =>
I tried this with a cotton pad, the glue residue dissolved VERY easy........10 out of 10
- Northampton, England
A. Had the same problem with the protective coating on aluminium composite panels that had been exposed to the African sun for about 10 months. Tried all the suggestions with no luck. Eventually had success with a high pressure cleaner.Chris Bode
- East London, South Africa
September 26, 2010
! My husband and I bought a brand new oven from an outlet store that had been returned for whatever the reason, but it was beautiful... until we got it home and tried to peel off the blue plastic film. It had melted onto the oven so we used Goo Gone which sort of helped, but it took at least a painstaking hour to peel off the film even with Goo Gone. It was off, but there was a residue that was not coming off with the Goo Gone no matter how hard I scrubbed.
In my frustration, I turned to the web. We didn't have any Ammonia, but I had a non-acetone nail polish remover. I used a cotton ball to apply the nail polish remover and it worked instantly! My husband and I used that and within 10 minutes the oven looked amazing! We wiped it with a microfiber cloth after applying the nail polish remover. Then we polished it with stainless steel polish. It's beautiful. Thank you!
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
April 26, 2011
Q. Hi! I have the same problem as many of you do. I bought a used kayak Aluminum pool that had plastic coating on it. It was stored in the heat and I cannot remove the plastic film. I have tried solvents with no luck. Can someone please help me. Will heat ruin the aluminum? Thanks for any help..Susie Dicerbo
homeowner - Harrison Township, Michigan, USA
A. You might try a gas fired catalytic heater. They do not give the intensive heat of heat guns. Their face temperatures can be adjusted from 350 °F to 900 °F. The heat is medium rays infrared.Dave Howie
- Edmonton Alberta Canada
June 16, 2011
A. Protective blue plastic left a residue on a new fridge. Read the posts and opted to try nail polish remover with acetone. Worked like a charm!
Thanks everyone for your collective input!
- Mississauga Ontario Canada
June 17, 2011
A. Okay kids...this is the deal: We just boiled some water in a tea kettle and poured it on the doors of the outdoor gas BBQ, and presto...the blue film peeled off in a flash. Taking off the residue in additional to the film...Easy and free!!Terry Smith
- seattle, Washington
July 28, 2011
I had fitted a stainless steel oven a year ago but had not yet moved into the house so the film was never taken off. It had been getting the morning / afternoon sun everyday and the blue film was "double baked". I had been struggling for the past 2 days trying to peel the blue film off. Finally googled it and came across this thread and right at the end was Terry Smith's solution. Immediately boiled some water and took off the oven door and poured the boiling water on it, the film peeled off like it should have when it was new. It was as simple as that. unfortunately I still have the glue residue where I had been peeling it bit by bit. Tomorrow morning I'll head to the supermarket for some ammonia and will try that out. Hopefully that should work. I think
Terry's reply should be on top of this thread, so people don't have to struggle with other things when the solution was so simple.
Thanks a lot, Terry.
- Auckland, New Zealand
March 31, 2013
We had white wrapping on our new, just installed canopy range hood. Some of it peeled of easily as you would expect but a large area did not. We were working it little by little with our fingers peeling it and it took an hour to get just half of it off. Found the boiling water solution mentioned by Terry earlier in the thread(after trying and failing with nail polish remover). Just boiled water and poured it on the range hood, then tried peeling immediately - worked like magic! Just remember to wear gloves when pouring the boiling water...it's rather hot. There is still glue residue so will try ammonia to clean that off when we can hold of some. Would love to see Terry's solution posted at the top of this thread too, as another person has pointed out it would save many people much time in searching through the thread. Thanks!Chris Winn
- Raetihi Ruapehu, New Zealand
April 1, 2013
A. Hi Chris. We've added that note to the top, but please remember that there are different films, adhesives, and situations. Just as you like Terry S's answer, because it worked for your particular situation, even more readers swore by ammonia because it worked better for them, and a good number found only acetone (nail polish remover) effective :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
August 9, 2011
Q. How would you get rid of the adhesive on the back of a combination lock?
- St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
A. I figured it out! I just had to remove the film from four elevator doors on a mega million dollar high-rise. It had been left on for four years. The condition was similar to gold flake film with a tar adhesive adhering it to the stainless. It was not fun at the beginning, but I learned the trick to doing it.
After reading and and trying everyone's recommendation and failing, I found that a combination of a few of your suggestions worked like a charm. Using a razor blade window scrapper, a heat gun, and goo gone.
With the blade, place it on an edge of the film. With the heat gun, warm the point were the razor's edge meets the film until it starts to peel up. Slowly and carefully work your way down, trying not to break the film you are peeling away. Pull the heat away a little once you get started, while staying in front of the blade. It peels like butter without a scratch. Then use the Goo Gone to clear off the remaining adhesive.
A couple hand cramps later and you are done!
- Huntington Beach, California, USA
October 10, 2011
Q. When our stainless refrigerator was delivered it had a protective blue plastic covering on to prevent scratching. We were in the process of renovating and left the plastic on for several months and now have marks that won't come off with stainless steel appliance cleaner. Please let me know what to use to get these marks off??Debra Brown
Purchaser - Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania
! Wow, I couldn't believe it! Was kind of depressed when we opened our dishwasher box, it had been in storage for a year and when we finally got around to installing it I couldn't get all of the wrap (blue) off of it. The wrapper came off but left a residue and smears on the face of the stainless steel door. It looked horrifying. Tried the ammonia and within seconds it was gone. Thanks so much for this suggestion, as I would have had to look at that ugly stain forever as elbow grease just was not taking it off.Carolyn Burke
- Kingston, Ontario, Canada
December 1, 2011
Q. We had some plastic auto body painters sheeting that got stuck to a surface that wasn't quite cured. Is there any solvent that would melt that sheeting without damaging the paint too much? Or does anyone know what kind of plastic that sheeting is?Jeff Reimer
Industrial painter - Alberta, Canada
A. Hi, Jeff.
I don't think there is a chance in a million of removing that sheeting without ruining the paint (in fact the paint may already be ruined, pushed down or pulled up). But I am not a painter and would certainly love to hear that I was wrong. The plastic is probably a polyolefin or vinyl, very chemically resistant anyway.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 14, 2012
A. The blue film on my new stove front was nearly impossible to remove. I used household ammonia and gently worked under the edge of the film with a saturated paper towel. As I pulled and rubbed at the edging at the same time, it truly was an amazingly wonderful result! Thank you!Karen Wineholt
- Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
O.M.G. my whole day so far has been trying to get a clear film off of a white metal shed door. Once again, we thought the plastic was protecting the door until all work other around it was finished - which ended up being a total of about 3 years.
I have tried the boiling hot water, a warm water and soap soak using towels to keep it soaking, Glass Plus, Green Works, ammonia, paint thinner, rubbing alcohol. Nothing was going well at all so I went to town and purchased a Heat Gun this afternoon. No help. I am seriously thinking of just buying and installing a new door. The companies that sell plastic coated items should have to tell you that you do need to remove the coating right away or post a big warning sign on them about the protective seal. This is over the top annoying and frustrating and I feel like crying.
- Port Alberni, B.C., Canada
A. I bought a stainless steel dual-fuel range for my wife for about half the price of a new model. Someone had purchased it years earlier and never peeled off the protective plastic and never installed it. I was really frustrated trying to remove the plastic bit by bit scraping with my fingernail, until I discovered a great method.
I started to use my fingernail in the center of a patch of plastic instead of the edge. It turned a brighter shade of white. At first I just thought I might have just scratched the surface but then realizes that scraping on the plastic actually broke it free underneath. Once you see the bright white appear, you can work it all the way to an edge.
My wife saw what I was doing and grabbed a plastic spoon that worked much better than a fingernail. Do not use it to try to scrape like a putty knife, use it to stretch the plastic from the center and break the bond at the surface. Once you turn everything bright white, you can peel the sheet off in one piece.
I still have to deal with the adhesive residue that is left behind, but after reading about the methods others have written about here, I don't think that will be a problem.
- Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
December 29, 2012
Ammonia worked for me. In 15 minutes flat I was able to remove the protective plastic on my dish washer. Thanks for all the tips. Big up to this site.Robert Carvalho
- Cedar Valley, St. Johns, Antigua
January 16, 2013
Q. How can I remove melted rubber (gloves) off of an appliance.Patricia McGowan
house wife - Odenton, Maryland, US
A. Hi Patricia. What kind of appliance and what finish? Paint, porcelain, stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic, glass are very different things. But it still may be impractical or impossible.
Still, you might take a look at letter 14006 "Melted Rainsuit on Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes" and see if you think it might help.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 2, 2013
A. I am building my home myself and I installed a stainless steel range hood a couple of years ago and made the mistake of leaving the protective covering on until I was done with the kitchen. The hood had a heavy white plastic covering which I was able to pull off with some effort. The glue that was left behind came off easily with the citrus cleaner GOO GONE.
I also installed a 12 inch high stainless steel filler between the hood and the bottom of the pot shelf rather than a cabinet that would be of little use to me. The filler piece was covered with LDPE and therein lies the problem. After finding this thread, I tried various methods to remove the LDPE with no positive results. I finally purchased an electric heat gun (575 & 1125 degrees) and a plastic putty knife (Home Depot). Using the heat gun on LOW (575 deg), I heated the LDPE to the melting point and then used the plastic putty knife, in a nearly perpendicular position, to scrape the plastic off the stainless. If the plastic is heated enough, it will come off at least 95% clean. After the LDPE is removed, the remaining black part that is left on the metal will come off with household Ammonia and a Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch scrub sponge. Any little bits that resist the scrub sponge can be scraped off with the plastic putty knife.
CAUTION: Always direct the heat flow away from the cabinets since 575 degrees can damage the wood finish. Where the filler came in contact with the bottom of the pot shelf, I used a 14 inch wide broad knife to protect the enamel paint from the hot air from the heat gun. Do not use flame as it could discolor the stainless. Do not use a metal scraper or a metal pot cleaner because it will scratch the stainless.
I had also used some blue painters tape to cover any parts of the range hood that were not covered by the factory installed protective film. To remove the glue left after removing the tape, the household Ammonia works just fine.
Remember, low heat and no metal tools. Take your time and don't rush this job. Damage the stainless and you'll have to live with it or pay to replace it.
After everything was cleaned, I used a stainless steel cleaner to finish the job and the stainless looks great. Good luck and remember, the effort will be worth it.
- Phoenix, Arizona
February 11, 2013
A. Short answer = Product name in Australia LIQUID 8 (paint stripper gel)
I had same problem with a stainless steel fridge. Tried MEK, Acetone, Ammonia, Sulfamic Acid, Citric Acid the list goes on all with no effect. Was ready to resign to scratching and picking away
I then remembered I had a paint stripper gel which I 'thought' was citric acid based (was told that when I bought it) but the ingredients are 180 g/L Liquid Hydrocarbon / 180 g/L 2 Butoxy Ethanol and 180 g/L N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone. The product is called LIQUID 8.
Brushed on the gel and left for recommended 15-30 minutes and although not great results I could see it was working. Left it another 30 minutes and the plastic film literally wiped away. A few little tougher spots took a second go but what had taken me most of a day trying came down to being all done in about and hour and a half and most of that time was waiting for the gel to do its stuff.
One thing to note this stuff is not kind to plastics so keep it off any trim etc, I accidentally hit a couple spots and some minor burn marks.
- Western Australia, Australia
February 23, 2013
A. 5 words: Jasco Paint and Epoxy Remover =>
I tried everything above. Bought a island kitchen hood on ebay new only installed. They didn't say they left the plastic on for a year in the sun. White film , I spent 3 hours using vinegar, acetone, ammonia , heat gun and plastic spoon. Jasco brushed it on waited 10 minutes and peeled it off with my hands; no big mess. Wiped down and I have a beautiful Stainless hood which would have cost $600 for $200.
- aurora, Colorado
A. I'd like to take time to respond about white PVC plastic protective covering on stainless steel. When we get equipment that PVC covering has not been removed in years, take it outside, hook your garden hose to hot water, adjust your nozzle to jet. Now wear rubber gloves with cotton gloves under the rubber gloves. Maybe you need to wear a rain suit -- you will get wet. Remember this water is hot; wear safety glasses. Start spraying one spot for a few seconds until it loosens up.
When your start peeling off PVC, keep hot spraying while you are doing this. It will take time; you can go to a self operated car wash if they have hot water. Have fun.
food equipment - Runnemede, New Jersey
June 11, 2013
A. I tried warm water, ammonia, and rubbing alcohol to remove the protective blue coating on my chrome sink. Nail polish remover did the trick. I still had to rub, but it clearly dissolved the coating and did not hurt the chrome finish.
Note: Having a teenaged daughter, I had two bottles of nail polish remover, each with a little at the bottom in the house. The first one was Cutex for natural nails, and promised to work 2-3 times faster than the others. It was the best. The other (purple) one was not as good but I used both up and ran to the dollar store for more. Their generic brand worked fine, not as fast as the Cutex, but better than the purple stuff, and it had a nice smell!
- Marshall, Virginia, USA
June 17, 2013
Q. I am a superintendent at my construction company and have "built out" three floors of an occupied building. Upon entering the final cleaning phase, I noticed that the white and black protective film on the stainless steel elevator doors was never removed since original construction some 5 years ago. I can't seem to get it off and need to be able to use a low V.O.C. agent due to the existing occupancy. HELP!Victor Terwilliger
construction - Norfolk, Virginia
August 15, 2013
A. I work at a industrial manufacturing facility that specializes in stainless, and we've had similar problems. Our best solution for getting the blue plastic off is to heat it with a hair dryer style heat gun, then wipe the goo left behind with acetone.Peter Brazil
- Port Townsend, Washington, USA
February 20, 2014
A. I recently purchased a dishwasher with a stainless steel finish that came wrapped in blue plastic. The plastic came off easily but the imprint of it (14 inches wide) could still be seen on the finish. It wasn't sticky but wouldn't come off with stainless steel cleaner, nail polish remover, or vinegar. However, undiluted household ammonia and some elbow grease removed it completely and left a beautiful finish. Thank you to everyone who suggested ammonia as I would not have thought to try it and it worked!L. Wehrmann
- Richmond, Virginia USA
July 7, 2014
A. The item you want to use to remove adhesive off stainless or other items is denatured alcohol, then Windex with micro fiber cloth on stainless.Edward Welch
- golden valley Arizona
July 28, 2014
A. I removed the glue residue from my stainless steel fridge with Brasso. It took it right off and I tried about everything.Brian roche
- Villa rica Georgia USA
December 12, 2014
A. I purchased a used stainless steel BBQ and discovered that on the back of it, the previous owner didn't bother removing the plastic cover which of course was now baked on. It took 3 days of about 2 hours per day and most of it is now gone. What I did was the following:
1. Get extra strength Easy Off Oven Cleaner (Lye)
2. Heat up the surface, in my case I use a heat gun initially, but then turned on the BBQ
3. Spray Easy Off on the surface, wear a mask, the fumes are nasty
4. Let sit for about 10-20 min
5. User a hard plastic spatula to remove the residue, also wet rag after (get a bag of them at Lowes/HD)
6. You'll need to repeat this multiple times based on how much stuff there is baked on.
This was a PITA, I still have a little bit remaining, but it is mostly clean.
- Los Angeles, California
October 4, 2015
A. The best method to use is a torch, assuming there's no material adjacent or under the stainless steel that will be harmed by the heat.
You can still use a torch if there's something next to the stainless that can't get too hot, but you have to work fast and don't go beyond liquefying the plastic you're trying to remove.
Yes, basically I'm saying you're liquefying the plastic and wiping it off while it's still fluid. Following is an image of me removing plastic film with a torch that had been on an item that was outside for 14 years!
Restaurateur and tradesman - Lancaster, California
Remove sun-baked vinyl packaging from garage doorMay 25, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I left the cellophane plastic on garage door (vinyl) allowed it to be baked in sun ... now difficult to remove. Need guidance as to any solutions or technique.len zap
- indio California usa
August 27, 2014
A. The company I work for is a new commercial truck dealer. When we get new Mack trucks in from the factory the aluminum fuel tanks are covered with a protective film. The film is almost like a powder coating or Rhino lining in texture and durability, more so the longer it stays on and exposed to the sun. We have struggled with removal techniques but it seems like the most effective and least time consuming is a HOT pressure wash.Sidney Dotson
- Knoxville Tennessee
December 26, 2014
Q. I recently bought a car that has a film over the plastic lens cover of the headlight.
According to a local here, some folks put glass darkening film over the plastic headlight cover to look "hot".
While it may look "hot" , but at night it darkens the head light so you do not see the road well.
Have taken it to a paint shop and they said they could do nothing, then took it to a galss shop and that does darkening film on glass windows here in the desert and they said they did not know what to do. But it is a film and being a plastic, most are scared of touching/trying to remove since the base is a also plastic and they think they may scratch the lens cover.
private indiv. - palm springs, calif, USA
February 12, 2015
The boiling water worked great on a stainless steel camera flash handle that had clear tape that had yellowed. The handle being 50 years old and tape applied at that time.
The handle was fairly small so I was able to boil it in a large pot for 10 minutes. The hard outside of the tape boiled off and the residue was easy to scrape off with a plastic fruit peeler. My wife was not home while I was doing this otherwise there might have been a lengthy discussion regarding using the kitchen utensils for this purpose. :-)
Great tip without using chemicals and sooo cheap.
- Norcross, Georgia, Gwinnett
July 14, 2015
A. BOILING WATER!! it works like a charm, you have to work quickly as the film will cool and adhere to the metal. Wearing leather gloves, I poured the heated water as I removed the film. As it cools, don't tear the film off completely so you can continue pulling the film as you apply the next batch of hot water on the surface. It's easier with 2 people but I did it myself. The white film that remains can be cleaned with windex or ammonia.Linc Lucer
- Seal Beach, California, USA
February 24, 2015
Q. I built my own house. It took three years and at the end of the first year I had installed my patio doors. Two years later, I've found that the plastic film covering the glass on the doors had baked on. Scrapping doesn't budge it. I'm very reluctant to use a heat gun or boiling water as the glass might crack. any ideas?Victor Damski
- Lowestoft Suffolk UK
July 28, 2015
You can try nail polish remover, or ethyl acetate. Wipe the edges of the film and when the adhesive layer weakens, shoot and so on.
- Moscow, Russia
August 16, 2015
Q. I never removed the protective film off my outdoor french doors. they baked in the sun and I removed the plastic but the residue has remained and i tried to remove it with goop removal a very little came off only after rubbing it for a very long time. Is there anything else I can do to remove this sticky residue? Thanksphil spadafora
- dix hills New York
September 12, 2015
Q. We remodeled our home and had a SS Viking range and hood installed. The contractor did not take the plastic white film off from the underside or sides of the hood. We are slowly peeling it off but now that the hood has already been installed it's a nightmare! The boiling water idea sounds great but there's no way to pour boiling water onto something you're trying to clean upside down. We have to be in the most contorted positions just to work at it a little. To compound the problem the film seems to go underneath the edges of the trim and light sockets so even when we get the film off to that point, it won't budge. We're worried about using acetone etc. since it's above where we cook and difficult to see where we're applying it and then cleaning it off. Any thoughts about removing this stuff after the SS piece has already been installed?Annie Wilkinson
- Layton, Utah, U.S.A.
A. This worked very quickly and very efficiently:
On a pair of new Range Hood filters the blue film was virtually impossible to remove until I soaked them in HOT water where the plastic became soft then it literally washed off.
Cheap solution if nothing else.
- Toronto Canada
October 17, 2016
A. So you've finally peeled the old film off of your stainless appliance, only to find an immovable film of glue left behind.
Ran into this after waiting over a year to peel a fridge in our showroom. Tried everything (including the bottle of Rye in the back) to no avail, everything just smeared the glue! Then the old grey cells suddenly jumped back to life (could of been all of the cleaners that I had inhaled) and I remembered that Brake Fluid removes paint (amongst other things). Gave it a try and much brake fluid and many paper towels later my 36" x 84" fridge now gleams. Caution, brake fluid will dissolve plastics!!! Mask off any plastic that may come into contact with the Brake Fluid!!! Give it a final wipe down with rubbing alcohol and you have a very clean and shiny fridge or other stainless appliance.
- Calgary, AB, Canada
August 30, 2017
A. As for removing the glue after removing the sheeting, use mineral sprits or Zep stainless steel polish; it also makes it shineRicky Gee
- mt. sterling, kentucky
Ed. note: If you're not weary yet, letter 30965 addresses the same topic :-)
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