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.

About the Author: 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.

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

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

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

    Reply
  2. Doug Fannin
    Doug Fannin

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

    looking for new decals

    Reply
  3. Paul Glasser
    Paul Glasser

    RV Make: Pace Arrow Pusher, RV Year: 1994

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

    Reply
  4. William
    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..

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      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!
      https://www.thetford.com/product/premium-rv-wax/

      Sincerely,
      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  5. Harold Rhodes
    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

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      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!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  6. Bailey Strempel
    Bailey Strempel

    Thanks for spreading your experience. Great tips explained. Covered almost every little aspect. Hope this might help campers and hikers. I really appreciate your article

    Reply
  7. TONY
    TONY

    RV Make: Jayco 28' , RV Model: Red Hawk, RV Year: 2020

    Can I tow a 2007 Chevy Silverado 1500, automatic, flat tow

    Reply
  8. David Buchan-Terrell
    David Buchan-Terrell

    RV Make: 86 Glendale Royal Classic. 24 ft., RV Model: Royal Classic, RV Year: 1986 AD

    I would like to be in contact with other owners of similar units. To compare ideas and exchange ideas.

    Reply
    • Lauren Grijalva
      Lauren Grijalva

      There are lots of Facebook groups for specific RVs. I’m a member of a “Coachmen Chapparel” Facebook group and it IS really helpful to connect with people who have the same rig.

      Reply
  9. Bill Blackwood
    Bill Blackwood

    RV Make: fleetwood , RV Model: jamboree searcher, RV Year: 1994, Brand: onan generator, Model Number: microlite 4000 ky

    Generator cranks no start,is there a fuel level sensing device and where is it usually located?, i.e.what determines the fuel level is too low and shuts down the generator.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Bill,

      There is a fuel level sensor gauge inside of the fuel tank. It will stop the flow of gasoline to the generator when the fuel tank reaches 1/4. This is to prevent you from being stranded and left with no gas for travel.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  10. Randy Babchuk
    Randy Babchuk

    RV Make: Glendale, RV Model: Royal classic, RV Year: 1999

    Looking for new decals

    Reply
  11. Fred Saar
    Fred Saar

    RV Make: Montana, RV Model: 5th, RV Year: 2008

    Removing decals is the easy part. The old glue is the chore. Tried all the products listed and more with little success. Finally found Turtle Wax Label and Sticker remover. Along with a plastic putty knife it works great. And much less time consuming than the other products!!!

    Reply
  12. Ian
    Ian

    RV Make: Toyota Land Cruiser, RV Model: 80 Series., RV Year: 1996

    Hi, I have just read you article on decal removing. I would like to know, do any of the techniques suggested have any effect on the integrity of tinted windows, ie does it remove the tinting ?

    Reply
  13. Shirley
    Shirley

    RV Make: Nomad, RV Model: travel trailer, RV Year: 2013

    I have found fingernail polish remover works great for removing the leftover glue.

    Reply
  14. Carolyn Herbison
    Carolyn Herbison

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Baja, RV Year: 2015, Model Number: bhs

    How do I remove the front window cover & reline insulation strip

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Carolyn!

      We’d love to help! What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply