How to remove an iron-on transfer: 3 most effective methods (2023)

Last updated 4 weeks ago bySusan Mayrich

If you're not sure how to remove a transfer, there are three easy ways to do it at home. This guide covers the methods that use iron, alcohol, and a hair dryer.

How to use a soldering iron

(Video) How to Remove an Iron on Transfer from Clothes Using an Iron

How to use a soldering iron

How to remove an iron-on transfer: 3 most effective methods (1)

We will also discuss using an adhesive remover to cleanly remove iron-on transfer residue from clothing. And if you have any other clothing stain removal questions, feel free to browse our blog.

For example, you may also want to studyhow to remove screen printing from clothes.

Contents show

(Video) How to fix mistakes and remove Heat Transfer Vinyl and the residue that gets left behind.

How to remove an iron-on patch on clothes with household items

Did you know that the average time to remove a transfer is around 10 minutes? However, since there are different types of fabric, the best method will vary depending on the garment of the apparel with iron-on transfers.

Method 1. How to remove an iron-on transfer with an iron

The most effective way to remove an iron transfer on clothing is with an iron and a damp cloth. However, you should always set the iron to the lowest heat setting to avoid damaging the garment.


  • Eisen
  • Damp cloth
  • tweezers
  • Cotton and alcohol to remove residue from transfers


  1. Set the iron to the lowest heat recommended for your shirt fabric
  2. Place the clothes on a flat surface or ironing board
  3. Place a damp cloth over the vinyl lettering or print for heat transfer
  4. Press the iron over the cloth and remove it after a few seconds
  5. Try lifting the sides of the transfer paper to see if it peels off
  6. Slowly peel the lettering or print away from the garment
  7. If the transfer paper still does not peel off, repeat step 4
  8. The transfer paper may have intricate design, so you can peel it off smoothly with tweezers
  9. Use cotton with a little alcohol to remove the remaining transfer adhesive from the clothing, and then wash the clothing as usual

How to remove an iron-on transfer: 3 most effective methods (2)

Method 2. How to remove an iron-on transfer with alcohol

You may need to soak some items with alcohol to clean and remove the transfers. This is also effective when removing print from cotton shirts.


  • Alcohol
  • cotton swab
  • Hand towel
  • Waxed Paper
  • Messer


  1. Protect the surface you are ironing the shirt on with a towel
  2. Lay the shirt over the covered area with the printed side facing up
  3. Place wax paper over the lettering or print you want to remove
  4. Set the iron to the highest, but safest, heat setting for cotton shirts
  5. Iron the wax paper until the clothing print on it melts
  6. Carefully remove the rest of the iron with a knife
  7. Turn the shirt inside out and drape it over the towel
  8. Saturate the fabric behind the transfer with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab
  9. After soaking for a few seconds, turn the clothing inside out and pluck at the print or lettering

Method 3. How to remove an iron-on patch with a hair dryer

Another method of removing iron-on transfers with heat is to use a hair dryer. However, like any other removal process that uses heat, this is only recommended for cotton garments and not polyester to avoid damage and imperfections to the garment.

(Video) Easiest & Best Way to Remove HTV + Heat Transfer Vinyl + Iron-on Without Ruining Your Projects!


  • Barber
  • Cardboard
  • tweezers


  1. Position the shirt over an ironing board
  2. Place a piece of cardboard under the print
  3. Set the hair dryer to the highest heat setting recommended for the garment
  4. Wave the blow dryer back and forth over the transfer, but keep your distance
  5. Once the vinyl begins to peel away, continue plucking at it with tweezers until it's completely removed
  6. You can repeat step 4 a few times if the transfer is still stuck to the clothing

How to remove an iron-on transfer: 3 most effective methods (3)

What is the best way to remove an iron-on transfer?

The best way to remove iron-on transfers is to use a commercial remover such as vinyl remover. This product also ensures that you don't have any adhesive residue left on the fabric after removing the vinyl.



  1. Read the tips and instructions for using the heat transfer vinyl remover
  2. Determine if you can safely use the product on the fabric of your clothing (e.g. AlbaChem's VLR heat transfer remover should be safe for cotton, polyester and linen, but never for acetate fabrics).
  3. Apply several drops of remover behind the transfer
  4. Use a cotton swab for more precise application on detailed lettering and transfers
  5. After soaking the clothing, stretch the material to loosen the adhesive between the transfer paper and the fabric
  6. Scrape around the transfer film with a spatula
  7. Wait a few more seconds if you notice residue or stains
  8. Apply the remover to a clean cloth and rub over the adhesive residue or stains

If you are unsure about using a commercial remover on your clothes, be aware that around 70% of people prefer to use a damp cloth to remove an iron on transfer. However, using a commercial iron-on transfer remover can reduce the time it takes to remove an iron-on transfer by up to 50%.

How to remove an iron-on transfer: 3 most effective methods (4)

How do I know if the iron-on transfer is completely removed?

The iron-on patch on your clothes will be completely removed if there is no glue or residue on the fabric. The lettering or vinyl design should peel off completely and there should be no adhesive residue on the garment.

However, it is common to still see the glue on the surface of the shirt where you removed the decal. Just follow the steps below as using water is not enough to remove all residue.

How to remove iron-on adhesive residue

  1. Place the clothes in your tumble dryer and set them on high heat for a few minutes
  2. Test any solvent of your choice on a small part of the garment
  3. You can use nail polish remover or alcohol
  4. Spray the solvent over the transfers and leave for a few minutes
  5. Stretch the fabric to allow the solvent to penetrate and dissolve the adhesive behind the transfers
  6. Rub the solvent into the garment with another cloth
  7. Once the vinyl is lifted, peel it with a knife
  8. There shouldn't be any residue on the fabric, but you can always soak a cloth with more alcohol and rub in the glue
  9. Use a commercial adhesive remover if stubborn parts remain
  10. Wash the clothes in your washing machine to remove the chemicals

If you want more tips or questions, you can read our article onRemoving vinyl residue from a shirtT.

(Video) How to Remove an Iron on Transfer from Clothes Using Heat and Steam

What are some tips for removing iron-on transfers?

Follow these tips and instructions to avoid damage or failure when removing iron-on or heat-transfer vinyl lettering from clothing:

  • It is possible to remove iron-on transfers from clothing without heat or chemicals if they were applied with a steam iron that is not hot enough
  • You can simply take away the vinyl lettering if you notice it peeling or lifting off the fabric; Use tweezers to remove detailed impressions with more precision
  • Use a stiff toothbrush over a transfer paper that is already starting to peel off

How can I avoid damaging the fabric when removing an iron-on transfer?

Using a commercial iron-on transfer solvent can reduce the risk of damaging the fabric by up to 80%. This is because it also reduces the possibility of leaving residue on the fabric by up to 90%.

However, since there are many methods of removing transfers from fabric materials, here are some common mistakes that you can easily avoid:

  • Always test chemicals or removers on an inconspicuous area of ​​the garment
  • Methods that use high heat are not recommended on synthetic fabrics such as polyester because theycan get burned
  • Always start with the lowest temperature when using an iron to remove heat transfer vinyl
  • When ironing, use a damp cloth over the transfer and protect the surface with a towel
  • An iron is sufficient to remove most iron-on transfers and the use of a heat press is not necessary
  • When putting clothes in the dryer to speed up the removal process, always use the ideal setting to avoid shirt shrinkage

How to remove heat transfer vinyl from polyester

Because it is risky to use heat removal methods on polyester clothing, the best way to remove heat transfer vinyl from this fabric is with a commercial grade remover.

What you will need:

  • Go away
  • gloves and eye protection
  • Garbage bag
  • tweezers
  • Washing machine and polyester suitable detergent

How to remove a polyester iron-on transfer

  1. Find a ventilated place to work
  2. Wear protective clothing on hands and eyes
  3. Cover the surface with a plastic bag
  4. Turn clothing inside out and spray Goo Gone behind vinyl sticker
  5. After 30 seconds, peel off the transfer with tweezers
  6. Add more Goo Gone if the transfer paper doesn't separate from the fabric
  7. Rinse the garment in the washing machine as usual

This method is also effective for HTV prints, but if you need more tips, look herehow to remove vinyl from shirts.

How do you remove heat transfer stains?

You can use petroleum jelly if there are heat transfer stains on your clothes.

What you will need:

  • Vaseline
  • Cardboard
  • liquid detergent
  • Hot water

How to remove a stain with petroleum jelly iron-on transfers

  1. Turn the clothes inside out and place cardboard inside the shirt
  2. Rub petroleum jelly onto the back of the stain or sticker residue with your hand
  3. Put a few drops of liquid detergent on the jelly and rub in a circular motion until clumps form
  4. Rinse the clothes with hot water and wash as usual to remove the oily stain from the jelly


And this is! We hope this guide to removing an iron-on transfer has covered the best method for the fabric of your clothing.

(Video) Easy Removal of Iron on Transfer From Clothes

If it's not a synthetic fabric, you can use a blow dryer or iron to remove decals. You can also test solvents like alcohol, acetone, or commercial removers on the clothing if you can't use heat.

And for residue, you can always use Vaseline or Goo Gone.


1. How to Apply an Iron On Transfer to a Garment
(Astar's Place)
2. Cricut Iron-On Tutorial for Beginners *EASY*
(Mr. Crafty Pants)
3. DIY Iron-On Transfer
4. Quick Tip #1: Easy way to weed heat transfer vinyl
5. Removing HTV From Fabric - How To Remove Cricut Iron On Vinyl
(Makers Gonna Learn )
6. Shopping for Junk!
(Low-Buck Garage)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated: 04/12/2023

Views: 6532

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.