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How To Remove Iron-On Letters From Clothes

Iron-on letters can be a great way to add individual flair to your clothing. However, that doesn’t mean you want them there forever. If you have some items that you love but want to remove the letters, whatever you do, don’t throw them away – they can be salvaged! And it’s far more straightforward than you would expect.

We’ve outlined three ways to remove these letters so your clothing gets a new lease of life. Read on to find out more.

3 Ways To Remove Iron-On Letters From Clothing

Using Chemical Solvents

For this method, you will need the following materials:

  • Chemical solvent (nail polish remover will also work)
  • Tumble dryer
  • Spray bottle
  • Old cloth
  • Sharp knife
  • Rubbing alcohol (or adhesive remover)
  • Washing machine

Method:

  1. To heat the adhesive used to stick the letters to your item of clothing, pop the garment in a tumble dryer. This only needs a few minutes to heat it a little.
  2. Before jumping in, test your chemical solvent in a small and inconspicuous area on the clothing to ensure it doesn’t stain or damage the material.
  3. Decant your solvent into a spray bottle (if it isn’t already in one) – this will make applying it much more manageable.
  4. Spray the solvent on the letters and make sure they are thoroughly covered.
  5. Read the instructions for the solvent to see how long you should leave it.
  6. Pull and stretch the item about so that the solvent can sink into all the areas it needs to be.
  7. Take a cloth and start rubbing the solvent into and over the letters.
  8. When the letters start to peel, use the cloth to pull them away from the material underneath.
  9. For stubborn bits, you can use a sharp object such as a knife to lift the material.
  10. When the letters are removed, take your rubbing alcohol and test it on an inconspicuous area before going over the whole area to remove all traces of glue.
  11. Put the item in the washing machine and wash it as per usual.

Using Heat and Steam

For this method, you will need:

  • Towel
  • Ironing board
  • Hairdryer
  • Steam iron
  • Sharp knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth
  • Washing machine

Method:

  1. Check the label to ensure the item of clothing can handle high heat before you begin (if not, use another method).
  2. Lay the garment on the ironing board (or other hard heat-resistant surface).
  3. Put a towel inside the clothing behind the letters to ensure the other side of the item isn’t damaged.
  4. Blow heat from the hairdryer onto the letters.
  5. Use a sharp object, such as a knife, to start peeling the letters away – this may take some time and require you to add more heat from the hairdryer.
  6. Once all the letters are off, use a cloth and rubbing alcohol to remove any residue glue on the garment (before you start this step, ensure you’ve tested it in an inconspicuous area of the clothing to check it doesn’t damage the material).
  7. Put the item of clothing in the washing machine as usual.

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Using An Iron

For this method, you’ll need:

  • An iron
  • Sharp knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth
  • Washing machine

Method:

  1. First, check if the item of clothing you have is suitable for heat by checking the label.
  2. Hold the iron inside the item of clothing so the hot side faces the backside of the letters.
  3. Pull the clothing tight over the iron and then take your knife and start to peel away the lettering as it warms up. Do this one letter at a time, and be careful of the heat and the blade.
  4. Once all are removed, use rubbing alcohol and a cloth to remove any residue glue – make sure to do a small test with the alcohol on an inconspicuous area of the clothing first to ensure it won’t cause any damage.
  5. Put the garment in the washing machine as usual, and it should come out like new.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Iron-On Letters Come Off in the Wash?

Iron-on letters are specifically designed to withstand the washing machine and detergent. That means they are incredibly unlikely to be removed by just putting them in the wash. While it’s possible that after many washes, you might start to see some peeling, the best way to remove them is to use chemical solvent or heat.

How Do You Remove Excess Glue From Iron-On Letters?

If you remove iron-on letters from a clothing garment, you’ll likely be left with some residue glue on the fabric once the letters are off. This residue glue will not come off in the washing machine and instead will require rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover. Rub this on with a cloth; the glue should come off easily.

Final Thoughts

While you might have once loved the iron-on letters you added to your clothing, if you’ve decided it’s time for a change, removing them is not as complicated as you might think. Use heat or chemical solvent to remove the letters, and then your clothing will be like new, ready for you to personalize it in some other way – maybe with a custom patch this time?

Head to The/Studio for custom patch inspiration!

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