How To Remove Weatherstrip Adhesive

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Weatherstripping is an amazing way to protect our homes and vehicles by keeping the elements at bay, but it doesn’t last forever, especially if the only thing holding it in place is an adhesive.

Sooner or later, that tackiness is going to fade, revealing weak spots in your weatherproofing, leaving your property vulnerable to wind, damp, mold, and possibly even insects.

How To Remove Weatherstrip Adhesive

At this point, any weatherstripping is as good as dead, but before you can install some fresh protection, you need to create a stable foundation by removing the adhesive left over from the initial treatment.

It sounds like a tricky job, but once you know all the tips and tricks, it couldn’t be easier.

Here’s everything you need to know about stripping weatherstrip adhesive!

When Should I Remove Weatherstripping?

Not sure when you should refresh your weatherstripping?

Well, in my opinion, the best course of action is to simply search for the advertised longevity of a weatherstrip when you install it then change it once this effective period has elapsed.

Just to be safe, I’d do a few inspections leading up to that point as well.

If you’re not sure when your weatherstripping expires, you can also just check the old-fashioned way by feeling for air coming through even though the strip seems intact.

You may also notice some damp or mold spreading around the area. A slight yet sudden increase on the energy bill is another dead giveaway. 

Removing Weatherstrip Adhesive: What Are My Options?

You have a number of options when it comes to removing old weatherstrip glue (all will be revealed in a moment), but before you can get at the glue, you need to remove the weatherstripping itself.

In my experience, the best way to do so is to use a putty knife, but if you feel you can remove it easily with your fingers, go right ahead.

With that out the way, let’s explore ways you can get rid of that pesky residual adhesive!

Tools

We’re not done with that trusty old putty knife just yet!

You should be able to remove the majority of the remaining glue simply by scraping the knife (or another similar tool) along the surface.

For tight spots, switch up the knife for a flathead screwdriver, and you’re golden.

And if you’re worried about scraping a little too deep and damaging the surface or paint job, a neat little trick you can use is wrapping the tip of whatever tool you’re using with a layer of tape.

Don't use too much tape as it will blunt the tool and inhibit removal, but a single or double wrap will soften surface contact without getting in the way.

Heat

How To Remove Weatherstrip Adhesive (1)

No luck with the tools? No worries! Next up, grab a hairdryer, set it to a warm setting, and blast the glue with some hot air to soften it up.

Instead of holding the dryer in one spot, run it slowly along the length of the strip, then grab your tools and try to peel it away.

If it’s still refusing to give up the ghost, wedge your putty knife under the edge, then apply heat to the section directly in front of the blade for about 10 to 15 seconds.

You can use a heat gun instead if you have one, but don’t lose patience and crank the heat up too much. 300 °F is as high as you should ever go, otherwise, the glue may melt and re-adhere to the surface you’re trying to strip.

Solvents

Should you be looking to make this as easy a job as humanly possible, hit the weatherstrip adhesive with some specialized solvents before trying to remove it.

These solutions are designed from the ground up to break down glue molecules and diffuse the strength of their bond.

But before you grab any old chemical concoction, consider the surface you’re trying to clean, as many solvents are potentially damaging in certain scenarios.

Keep your own health and safety in mind too.

Always ventilate the area as best you can and wear a breathing mask if guided to by the solvent instructions or if you deem it necessary.

Nitrile gloves are a must too, as these liquids are almost always severe irritants, or worse… corrosive.

WD-40 is a relatively non-invasive option if the glue is receptive to water displacers, but you may need to go a little stronger if you’re up against a particularly robust adhesive.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have acetone. I strongly advise against using this stuff, as it doesn’t just strip glue, but everything!

It usually has a bleaching effect, will strip paint and wood stain, and can even break down plastic.

I’ve always had a lot of success with 3M General Purpose Adhesive Remover, but I’ve heard amazing things about Goo Gone Pro-Power Goo & Adhesive Remover too, so you’ll be in safe hands with either of these solvents.

Simply follow the instructions on the back of the solvent container, give the solution time to work its magic, then wipe the glue away — It’s as easy as that!

What About White Vinegar?

If you’d rather remove chemicals from the equation, you might have some luck with white vinegar.

To give it a go, soak some paper towels in pure white vinegar then rest them on the glue for a few minutes.

You’ll be left dealing with a somewhat unsavory smell, but after this brief vinegar bath, your putty knife should peel that glue right off!

I wouldn’t recommend this for use on vehicles, however, as white vinegar can damage the specialized paint.

Final Thoughts

Weatherstrip glue is designed to be tenacious, which is why it causes such grief when we want rid of it but, armed with the tips and tricks discussed here today, that adhesive stands no chance!

Just remember that if you need to use a solvent, you’re not just looking for one capable of diffusing the glue, but one that will play nice with the surface.

As well as boosting energy efficiency, at its core, weatherstripping is about protecting your property, so the last thing you want to do is damage your home or vehicle in the process.