How to strip (remove) a sealant
Summary: A quick look into how you can remove a sealant before applying a fresh one
Sealants can vary in how difficult they are to remove. While something like carnauba wax is easy to take off, a ceramic coating is much more difficult and involved. Chemical methods of removal can make the surface bead water again as if it was freshly coated, but they might require multiple rounds of use to remove your sealant fully. Many chemical methods work by overconcentrating products (against manufacturer’s directions). Be sure to do a test spot in a less visible place and use common sense while being careful.
Methods to Strip a Sealant
These are listed in order of mild to strong and all of these methods assume the vehicle is already clean.
Highly Concentrated Soap
For this method you take a wet mitt/towel and put some soap directly on it. The Tensides of the soap can strip lighter waxes in those concentrations. Rinse the car immediately after.
High pH Contact Wash
For this you use high pH basic product. Put it in your mitt directly (as concentrated as the manufacturer allows) and wash over the car, if needed multiple times to break down the sealant. The combination of the contact wash and the high pH is what removes the sealant here. Rinse quickly, don’t let that solution sit on your car.
Claying can remove some sealants but doesn’t always, so don’t be surprised if everything is intact still after. Sometimes claying can be enough to remove the sealant if the sealant is old or degraded.
This product isn’t available in the US anymore, but it’s absolutely amazing. It works both chemically and through micro abrasives that are included in the soap.
This method will remove even the strongest ceramic coating by simply removing the layer of paint the coating has bonded to. For the most part a very light polish will do – very few things need more than that. Ultimate aggression (clearcoat removal) for ultimate results!