How to Remove HTV Residue from a Shirt [3 Methods Discussed]


Home » How to Remove HTV Residue from a Shirt [3 Methods Discussed]

Did you make a mistake when you tried to adhere your HTV vinyl with your heat press? Or maybe the heat transfer vinyl started peeling and you want to remove it and start again. Mistakes happen.

The beauty is that you can fix mistakes quickly, and it is fairly easy to remove vinyl from a shirt. This handy post on how to remove vinyl from a shirt will show you the options you have and walk you through the steps on how to fix your mistake.

Today, we share three popular ways to remove the vinyl from a light or dark shirt.

Tutorial: How to Remove HTV Residue from a Shirt

Not sure how to remove heat transfer vinyl from a shirt? Find below three of the best ways to remove the vinyl from a shirt.

First, we will look at using a chemical to remove both the vinyl and the residue. Secondly, we will look at how to remove vinyl using an iron, and lastly, we will look at how to remove the vinyl with steam.

1. Use a Heat Transfer Vinyl Remover for Fabrics

Our preferred method for removing vinyl from a shirt is by using HTV remover solvents. If you are wondering how to remove iron-on letters in an easy and fuss-free manner, then this is our pick for you.

I can recommend any of the following heat transfer vinyl remover solutions. I simply tend to grab whichever is the cheapest and in stock as they all do a good job.

1. AlbaChem 1020 Vinyl Remover for Shirts

Our favorite product is the AlbaChem 1020 Remover. This product is fabulous because not only does it do a great job in stripping the vinyl off, but it also does an outstanding job of removing the adhesive leftover as well.

How to Use this HTV Vinyl Remover

  1. Apply VLR to the back of your fabric where your vinyl decal is.
  2. Wait a few minutes.
  3. Turn the shirt around and slightly pull, tug and stretch the vinyl decal to help break the bond between the fabric and vinyl.
  4. Use your fingernail or tweezers to start picking at the edge of your vinyl decal.
  5. Once it starts to lift off, simply peel the vinyl off the shirt.
  6. If there is any gluey residue left, pop some of the VLR solution on a rag and simply wipe it over the area.
  7. Allow to dry completely before heat pressing again.

This product works great with Siser, Precise, Silhouette, Cricut, Thermoflex, Chemica vinyl.

Click here to check the current price on Amazon.

2. TRW Vinyl Remover

Whenever we can't find our favorite AlbaChem 1020 Remover, we often look towards the TRW Magic Vinyl Remover.

How to Use an HTV Vinyl Remover

  1. Tumble dry the shirt on a high temperature for 5 minutes.
  2. While the shirt is still hot, turn it inside out.
  3. Cover the entire backside of the heat transfer vinyl design with the remover.
  4. Stretch the fabric so that the solvent can soak through and loosen the adhesive.
  5. Give the solvent a few minutes to work.
  6. Flip the shirt the right side out and use some tweezers to lift off the vinyl.

Now, you have managed to remove the vinyl, but it is important to note that the HTV adhesive residue is still on the shirt and we need to remove this as well.

  1. Apply more of the remover to the front of the shirt and gently use a white rag to rub away the residue.

Click to Purchase TRW Magic Vinyl Solution from The Rhinestone World

2. Use a Hot Iron and Tweezers

Wondering how to remove vinyl heat transfer without the use of chemicals?

A nifty trick is to simply use your iron and some tweezers. Again this might not be the best way to remove the actual adhesive from the vinyl, but it does a really good job of removing the vinyl itself.

How to Get Iron On Vinyl Off Without Chemicals

Here is a great video to show you how you can remove the vinyl with an iron:

  1. Heat up your iron to its max temperature.
  2. Simply place the hole of the shirt over the iron (as if you were dressing a person). The backside of the vinyl should be snug against the iron (this is where the glue is), whilst the actual vinyl design should be facing away from the iron.
  3. Wait for the adhesive to start melting – you will probably be able to smell when this starts to happen.
  4. Simply use your tweezers and start loosening the vinyl from the corners and edges.

We prefer using the vinyl removing solvent instead of using the iron method due to the fact that you can slightly damage the threads of the shirt whilst you are picking at the vinyl.

But this is a nifty trick for when you don't have a solution on hand and you just want to get on with it.

3. How to Remove HTV from a Shirt with Heat & Steam

Another way that you can try to remove the vinyl is by using both heat and steam. This doesn't always work very successfully and often you might find that the adhesive residue stays behind.

It works better when there was an error in the application of the vinyl and it never adhered properly in the first place.

It is important to read the care instructions of your shirt before you apply heat to it, as not all fabrics react to heat positively.

How to Take Off Heat Transfer Vinyl with Heat and Steam

  1. Lay your shirt on a surface that can handle the heat. We like to use our ironing board.
  2. Place a towel in between the front and back layer of your shirt. This will protect that other side of the shirt.
  3. Use a hairdryer on its hottest setting. Hold the hairdryer close to the design. The heat should cause the adhesive of the vinyl to become malleable which means that you can attempt to loosen it.
  4. Alternatively, you can also try using a wet towel on top of the design and then use a hot iron over the top, the steam should help to loosen the vinyl transfer.
  5. Use tweezers and a sharp knife to gently loosen and scrape away the transfer.
  6. Repeat the steps by applying more heat and scraping until all the transfer has come off.

Of course, sometimes mistakes happen because you used the wrong type of vinyl, and other times it can be purely due to the wrong temperature, time, or pressure settings. Sometimes it is due to a dirty press.

If vinyl is the problem, then I recommend you purchase only the best vinyl for T shirts. Also remember that not all HTV works equally well on all different types of fabric, so make sure to match your HTV to your fabric.

I hope you found our post on how to remove iron on vinyl helpful. Not sure which method to choose? I highly recommend the VLR solution. It is simply easy to use and dries and no time. All the best removing the vinyl from your shirt.

Hi, I’m Jolene! I have a whole career based on working with all different types of crafts. Some of my work has also been featured in craft magazines. I’m passionate about helping others to unlock their creative potential and turn it into something beautiful. I don’t just provide tutorials on my website, but also inspirational ideas and advice to help kickstart your creativity.

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