Stuck on you.
February 19, 2007 6:21 PM   Subscribe

A neighbourhood vandal has stuck a "glue trap" to the middle of my windshield. How do I get it off? (more inside)

My fiancée was visiting friends for dinner in Toronto during our recent cold-snap. She parked on the street and returned to find a glue trap stuck to the middle of the windshield. For the unfamiliar, it's a sheet of heavy paper about 6" x 4" with "Exterminator's Glue Trap: Contains No Poison" on the back (and an adorable image of a brick of cheese) used mostly for catching rodents. The face-down side (face up for catching things, face down for vandalizing cars) of the trap features super-sticky epoxy-like glue.

Sadly, it features no instructions on how to remove it. We have no garage, so spending a long time outside will result in frostbite or worse. I've already ruined a perfectly good snow scraper and a pair of mittens. Help me before I stick myself to the window and have to call an ambulance.
posted by mrmcsurly to Grab Bag (22 answers total)
Goo Gone, or in a pinch, WD40 may work.
posted by Mach5 at 6:30 PM on February 19, 2007

If they're like the home traps, vegetable oil.
posted by lleachie at 6:31 PM on February 19, 2007

First, go somewhere warm (a friend's garage, heated parking structure). Then you probably want to use paint thinner. If this doesn't work, use cooking oil of some sort and warm water. Paint thinner is your best bet, though.
posted by The God Complex at 6:32 PM on February 19, 2007

(paint thinner is what a cursory search turned up for use when removing the gluetrap from a non-organic surface--cooking oil was for people/pets).
posted by The God Complex at 6:33 PM on February 19, 2007

warmth and cooking oil is what I recommend.

You probably don't want any harsh chemicals damaging the windshield, the wipers, the seals or your paint.
posted by Megafly at 6:43 PM on February 19, 2007

A hair dryer should provide enough warmth to loosen it.
posted by IronLizard at 6:45 PM on February 19, 2007

I have yet to find a sticky substance that turpentine can't dissolve. However, I don't know what it would do to your windshield. It's organic, but who knows... just be careful.
posted by sbutler at 6:52 PM on February 19, 2007

Oil, goo gone and paint thinner are harmful to the seal around your windshield, so don't drown the thing in them. I'd try warming it up with a hair dryer or heat gun first to get the paper and a good bit of glue off, then I'd wipe it with paper towels drenched but not drippping in goo gone.
posted by advicepig at 6:52 PM on February 19, 2007

Couple other important points:

1) Your windshield might not respond well to uneven heating, especially at the temperatures some heat guns produce. When you're glazing windows you have to watch carefully how hot the glass gets. I imagine a windshield would be an even costlier "opps".

2) Many of these chemicals people are recommending are flammable. If you are going to use a heat gun, it would probably be a bad idea to mix both.
posted by sbutler at 7:07 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as sbutler notes ixnay on the eathay ungay, no heat gun. Hair dryer should be mild enough used with a rag soaked in goo gone
posted by edgeways at 7:20 PM on February 19, 2007

I would stick with a blow dryer, not a heat gun, and I'd only use the blow dryer if the windshield has already warmed up to some reasonable "room temperature" (say 60F, so definitely inside a heated structure of some sort). Otherwise, I think you may definitely be risking cracking it.

Goo Gone is great stuff, and would be my first choice. I think you can get it at most big home stores, e.g. WalMart, Home Depot, Target, etc., at least down here in the U.S. I've no idea what exactly goes into the stuff (smells delightfully citrus-y), but it's never failed me. Trick is to saturate the "goo" with it, let it sit for a few minutes, then attack with a rag, also soaked in Goo Gone.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:21 PM on February 19, 2007

We used to use those at work (don't ask). The instructions said to remove the poor dead/dying critters with mineral oil. Don't know if that's any different than vegetable oil.
posted by doublesix at 7:29 PM on February 19, 2007

Ditto, ditto, ditto on the Goo Gone. As others have noted, though, keep it the heck away from the rubber seal around your windshield - it'll dissolve it pretty darn quick.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:34 PM on February 19, 2007

Goo Gone is murder on your hands use gloves,
posted by hortense at 8:06 PM on February 19, 2007

Unless you have a friend with a garage, I would call up an autoglass place tomorrow morning and ask if they can get it off for you for under $15. It's too cold out to be doing fiddly, oily work outside, and they may have the perfect tools for the job.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:40 PM on February 19, 2007

Aside from the good advice here... I'd check my insurance policy tp see if auto glass is covered, and then call my agent and ask advice on what the best course of action is -- if it's a situation where a deductible comes into play, you might want to keep at the DIY route and not file a claim. But, if it's covered with no out of pocket/deductible (as some auto insurance is), you're all set.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:47 PM on February 19, 2007

Sometimes just making a claim can work against you in the insurance racket; they keep track of things like that and it just might affect your rates down the line. This is not a tough problem to solve; I'd avoid any involvement with an insurance company.
posted by mediareport at 9:24 PM on February 19, 2007

I'd get a sticker scraper, and a fresh pack of single edge razor blades. With a fresh blade, gently make a number of vertical, parallel scoring cuts through the glue trap, at intervals about a 1/4 inch narrower than the width of razor blade (you're trying to cut the glue trap into a number of narrow "ribbons" while still on the windsheild). Don't use any more pressure than is necessary to cut through the paper backing cleanly, so as not to scratch the windshield glass underneath.

Then using the scraper, start from the top, and peel the strips downward, one by one. Using a combination of the scraper and a peeling action where you pull the paper backing over itself as far possible, almost 180 degrees from how it lay, while scraping gently back and forth at the moving "peel point" with the scraper is the fastest, easiest method of removing most of the trap. Your actions in doing this are concentrating the maximum mechanical force on a very tiny line area of the glue at any given instant, and anything short of high strength epoxy adhesives generally respond well to this kind of release technique.

Shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.
posted by paulsc at 1:31 AM on February 20, 2007

Our exterminator recommended vegetable oil.
posted by xsquared-1 at 4:47 AM on February 20, 2007

I would think the cold would make it easier to scrape off.
posted by JJ86 at 5:54 AM on February 20, 2007

You could also run the car with the windshield defrost on high heat for a little while instead of standing outside with a hair drier or heat gun, and then maybe use one of the suggestions above to get the thing off.
posted by eatcake at 6:25 AM on February 20, 2007

Tossing a blanket over the windshield while running the defrosters will help it heat up faster and to a warmer temperature.
posted by Mitheral at 1:27 PM on February 21, 2007

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