How to Remove Decals from Your RV Exterior

There are many reasons why you might decide to remove RV decals. The existing decals may not have been properly maintained and look worn or faded, they could be a style or color that you don’t care for, or you may want to replace them with your own personalized decals. Whatever the reason, there are many routes you can take to remove those unwanted decals! Here is what we have found to work best for us when removing decals from our RV’s exterior.

How to Remove Decals from RV - Step 1

Step 1: Warm Up The Decal Adhesive

Everyone that removes decals seems to agree that HEAT is the best way to get started. People have tried different methods for applying the heat, and all of these have been proven to work! You can use a variety of different tools, we recommend:

  • Hair dryer
  • Steamer
  • Heat gun
  • Direct sunlight

Applying heat to the decal anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes (depending on the air temperature) warms it up enough to be removed more easily. Parking the RV so that the decals are in direct sunlight for a few hours will make your job much easier. The warmer the air is when you try this project, the easier it is to peel!

Step 2

Step 2: Start Peeling The Decals

There are several tools that can assist in removing the decals. Sometimes your fingernail is all you need to get the peeling started. Other options include:

  • Putty knife
  • Razor (use carefully so you don’t scratch your RV!)
  • Credit card

Depending on decal size, age, and air temperature, this might be a slow process. Your decal might peel off in very small strips, or it might peel off completely with one peel.

Step 3

Step 3: Remove The Old Glue

You will need paper towels and gloves for this next step. After the decals have been removed, you will most likely have some glue that is left behind on the RV. There are several products you can use to help with the adhesive removal.

  • Goof Off
  • Rapid Remover Adhesive Remover
  • Goo Gone
  • 3M General Purpose Adhesive Remover

Simply apply the cleaning product onto the glue as instructed (with a paper towel or spray directly onto the RV), and let it sit on the surface for a few minutes. Using one of the scraping tools from the previous step, scrape the remaining glue off.

Your putty knife, razor or credit card should easily scrape off the adhesive after the cleaner has been applied.

Step 4

Step 4: Remove Any Oxidation

After the glue is gone, you may still have some “ghosting” where the decals used to be. These ghosts are caused by the oxidation discoloring the area around the decals. You’ll have to remove the oxidation on the vehicle’s surface to match the color beneath the vinyl that has been protecting its surface area from oxidation.

A heavy-duty oxidation remover, such as Meguiar’s Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover, is what you need for this final step! This product will restore weather-exposed surfaces, reducing ghost images from vehicle surfaces covered by graphics. Work a section at a time using a small amount of product on a 100% cotton terry cloth towel. Rub thoroughly into the surface with moderate pressure. Immediately wipe with a separate cotton terry towel. Do not let the product dry on the surface.

Your RV is now rid of the unwanted decals and you can enjoy the blank surface or apply new decals!

You might also be interested in:

How To Fix RV Delamination
Buying a Used RV: Inspecting The Exterior

 Lauren Grijilva

Lauren is a wife, mother of two, photographer, blogger and lover of nature and adventure! Currently traveling around the U.S. in a fifth wheel, Lauren and her family seek to live life to the fullest and continue to look for ways to simplify their lives in order to live larger with less. Follow along on their journey by visiting their family travel blog.

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7 Responses to “How to Remove Decals from Your RV Exterior”
  1. Warren Perry

    RV Make: wildcat, RV Model: 28" rear kitchen, RV Year: 2008

    Need front Decal for this wildcat 5th wheel make is RTRAV

  2. Doug Fannin

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: 35U Adventurer, RV Year: 2000

    looking for new decals

  3. Paul Glasser

    RV Make: Pace Arrow Pusher, RV Year: 1994

    No 12 volt from battries going into coach. Works on shore and on generator

  4. William

    RV Make: Thor, RV Model: ACE, RV Year: 2015

    Being that my coach is fairly new most of the decals look great, however I have one that has turned dull and oxidized. How can I bring back the bright and shinny appearance to match the other decals? Is there a product to bring back life or do I have to replace it. Thank you..

    • Customer Service

      Dear William,

      Thank you for your patience. In response to your question-

      Most of the time when a decal has oxidation it would have to be replaced to get the full color and look back to it. It is possible that just the coating on it has gone dull and can be revived though. There are many products out there but using an RV wax could help restore the look. Thetford makes a wax that removes oxidation that could help you, I will post a link below with more information. I would try a product like this before replacement. I hope it helps!

      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

  5. Harold Rhodes

    RV Make: Newmar , RV Model: Mountain Aire , RV Year: 1999

    Where do I find the battery compartment and the inverter on my 5th wheel Camper trailer

    • Customer Service

      Dear Harold,

      We’d love to assist! Would you be able to provide us with the year, make, and model of your camper trailer? Any details you can provide would be most helpful!


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