Whether you need to remove iron-on letters because of a change of style or because they got damaged — we can help. It’s very easy to add iron-on letters to your clothes, but it can be quite tricky to remove them.
We’ll teach you how to remove ironed on letters using three different methods: heat and steam, iron, and also, by using a chemical solvent.
- Remove ironed-on letters with heat and steam, an iron, or a chemical solvent.
- Use a hairdryer, garment steamer, or steam iron to apply heat to the letters, then peel them off with a sharp knife.
- For the iron method, place the iron inside the shirt with the soleplate against the back of the letters, and peel off with a sharp blade.
- Test chemical solvents on a hidden area of the garment before using them to remove the letters.
How to Remove Ironed on Letters From Clothing
We have three helpful methods for removing ironed on letters.
1. Using Heat and Steam
Step by Step Directions
- Check the garment’s care label to see if it can handle high heat. If it can’t, do not use this method. For example, polyester can melt when exposed to high heats (1).
- Lay the garment on a flat, heat-resistant surface such as an ironing board.
- Put a towel or a thin piece of plywood inside of the garment. This stops you from damaging the other side of the clothing.
- Aim the hairdryer at the letters using the hottest setting.
- Alternatively, you can use a steam iron to apply heat to the letters. To do this, put a wet towel over the letters. Turn the iron to the highest setting and iron over the letters. Both methods should heat the adhesive enough so the letters can be removed.
- Use the sharp knife to scrape off the letters. It should be loose enough to lift off with the help of your knife, but be patient!
- If you need to apply more heat, do that by scraping off the letters with a sharp knife.
- Once the majority of the ironed-on letters are removed, it’s time to tackle the residue. Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol or an adhesive remover.
- Check the solution in an inconspicuous area of the garment first to be sure it doesn’t damage the garment.
- If safe to do so, rub the residual glue with the cloth until clean.
- Wash as normal in your machine.
2. Using an Iron
Step by Step Directions
- Check the garment care label. Make sure it’s iron safe, and always stick to the recommended iron temperature to protect the fabric.
- Heat the iron up to the appropriate heat setting for the fabric.
- Thread the shirt over the top of your iron, so the iron is inside the shirt. The soleplate should be against the back of the lettering.
- Pull the shirt tight against the soleplate.
- Use the blade of your scissors or a sharp knife to slowly peel off the lettering as the garment heats. The hotter it gets, the easier it will be to remove. But it still requires some patience.
- Go letter by letter, moving the garment across the soleplate as you go.
- Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover. Test it in an inconspicuous area of the garment to check that it doesn’t damage it.
- Use the cloth to gently rub the leftover glue off the garment.
- Put the garment in the washing machine and wash as normal.
3. Using Chemical Solvent (Or Nail Polish Remover)
Step by Step Directions
- Put your garment in your tumble dryer at high heat for a few minutes. This will heat the adhesive and hopefully make it easier to remove.
- Take the garment out of the dryer. Test your chemical solvent in an inconspicuous area of your garment first. Make sure that it doesn’t damage the fabric.
- If your solvent isn’t already in a spray bottle, pour it in. This makes it easier to apply the solvent to the letters.
- Spray the solvent over the letters. You don’t need a lot but do cover the entire lettering.
- Let it sit for a few minutes, depending on the packaging instructions.
- Stretch the fabric in different directions to help the solvent get into the fabric.
- Use an old cloth to rub the solvent into the fabric.
- The lettering will start to lift off. Keep using the cloth to peel off the lettering.
- Use for fingers or a sharp knife to peel off any stubborn bits.
- Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover. After testing the solution in an inconspicuous area of the garment, go over the garment removing any glue residue.
- Wash the garment as normal.
Now that you know how to remove iron-on letters, it’s like you have fresh, new clothes! You can do whatever you want with your new garment. Many people like to switch up their clothing letters from time to time. These methods work great for a change in style.
You can choose to remove letters using a hairdryer, a steam iron, a dry iron, or a solvent. With one of these items hopefully in the house — you’re good to go!