Remove Paint from a Decal

Every so often I need to remove paint from a decal. In the example below, drops of white oil-based paint are hiding some of the text on the decal.


I am always very cautious when cleaning decals and I have not accidentally ruined one yet. Sometimes I just leave the decal alone if I do not feel confident about cleaning it. For example, I rarely attempt to clean paper or paper-foil decals.

In this case, the decal is a waterslide-style decal. It is in sound condition and stuck well to the handle. It may also have a varnish coating like the rest of the chisel handle.

In this instance, my cleaner of choice is Vaseline (petroleum jelly). It will often soften the paint without having any effect on the decal. I tested it first by applying a small amount on the lower right-hand side of the decal. There were no problems, so I applied the Vaseline and let it sit for about an hour. Then I tried scraping off the paint with my thumb nail, a very handy tool sometimes. It worked well.


I had applied Vaseline to the paint on the rest of the chisel handle as well. It did not do as good a job as it did on the decal, but I was satisfied with the results. Vaseline is safe to use indoors. It is non-toxic and has virtually no odor.

Before and after photos are shown below.


Before and After (Front)


Before and After (Back)