The back of a Xenith football helmet with a helmet decal applied to it.
How to Remove Football Helmet Decals and Stickers

Keeping your football helmet clean and looking brand new takes little effort. In this article, we're going to explain how to remove football helmet decals and stickers without damaging the paint or shell, and share some tips and tricks we've learned to make the job a lot easier. Whether you're changing teams, switching numbers, or just ready for a fresh look, learn these methods to save yourself time - and a giant headache!

First Things First

Before tearing the stickers off your football helmet like a Band-Aid, there are certain methods Xenith recommends to ensure flawless results. Also keep in mind, some stickers and decals can be trickier than others to remove entirely. This often depends on the sticker's quality, as stickers of higher quality are typically easier to take off.

Time also plays a factor here. If a sticker has been adhered to a football helmet for multiple seasons, it could be a lot more stubborn when it's time to make a change, compared to a sticker that has recently been applied. The good news, however, is just about every sticker can be completely removed. It just requires a little effort on your part using one, or a combination of the methods we have listed below.

Remove Football Helmet Decals and Stickers

The first rule of thumb when removing football helmet decals or stickers is NEVER use corrosive or solvent-based liquids to remove stickers, which could cause damage to the paint, the helmet shell, and could ultimately affect the safety of the helmet itself.

Let's get to our first recommended method for removing decals and stickers from your football helmet:

Credit Card Method

With the variables mentioned above in mind, it may be possible to remove stickers from your football helmet using an old credit card, plastic knife, or razor blade. Whichever you're more comfortable using, carefully pry up one edge of the sticker/decal just enough so you can get a grip on it.

From there, slowly peel the sticker away from the helmet, careful not to go too fast causing the sticker/decal to tear. 

Fishing Line Method

This one might seem a little off-the-wall but bear with us. As strange as it sounds, the fishing line method works great. Try it once and you might ditch all other previously known methods!

First, wrap some fishing line around each index finger with roughly 6-7 inches of string in between. Hold the line tight, then with a sawing motion, carefully begin sliding the fishing line under an edge of the decal and gently work it underneath the sticker. The fishing line will cut through the adhesive allowing you to remove the decal from your football helmet smoothly.

If you do decide to give this method a try, we recommend wearing gloves to avoid any potential cuts or injury from the fishing line. 

Vinegar Method

For this method, you will need one cup of distilled white vinegar. In a microwave safe bowl or dish, warm the vinegar in the microwave until it is warm to the touch - not hot or boiling. Then, use a clean rag or paper towel to dab the vinegar and begin rubbing over the sticker/decal you wish to remove. You want the vinegar to get underneath the edges of the sticker as much as possible. Let soak for 5-10 minutes.

When you have given the vinegar enough time to fully soak into the adhesive, you can start SLOWLY peeling the sticker away. We recommend peeling away all the edges FIRST, then repeating the process until you can easily peel off the entire sticker/decal. Again, using a credit card or fishing line here works great for getting the solution underneath all the edges. It might require a little patience, but the end result will be a clean and spotless football helmet!

Heat Method

Heat is another popular method for removing football helmet decals and stickers. Now, there are a number of ways to go about this, but one of the most popular - we've found - is using a household hair dryer. Just be sure the heat isn't so hot where it potentially causes damage to the paint, or worse melts the helmet shell. 

We recommend using the lowest setting possible and holding over the sticker for several minutes. The adhesive will begin to soften enough for you to start peeling away with either your fingers or one the methods listed above. Start by holding a hairdryer over the sticker/decal around 7-8 inches away from the helmet and gradually move closer until it becomes easy to peel away. This will help avoid damage to the helmet and ensure your decal peels away cleanly.

Final Clean Up

Once you have completely removed the sticker or decal, you'll likely need to go back with some warm water and dish soap to clean up any remaining adhesive.

If you have stubborn sticky spots, try rubbing the adhesive with nail polish remover, or an oil-based substance like baby oil, vegetable oil or mineral oil should do the trick. 

Your football helmet is now ready for a final clean up before applying new decals!