School buses are covered in a pesky yellow reflective tape that seems to be attached with glue engineered by NASA. We tried several different methods to remove it, including scrapers, razor blades, acetone, and a 3M brand Stripe-Off Wheel. Ultimately, nothing was really working, so I picked up a cheap heat gun ($17) from a home improvement store, which we should have just done in the first place. It was cheaper than the 3M Wheel and worked about 100 times better.

Using the heat gun, heat up a section of the tape, being careful not to stop in one spot for too long. Once hot, the glue will begin to melt. From there you can scrape up the edge, and gently begin to pull the reflective tape off while running the heat gun down the length. The heat gun melts the glue underneath and makes the tape soft and pliable, so it doesn’t chip off.

A sticky residue is left behind, which we removed by spraying with Goo Gone Pro-Power. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrape We had to do this process twice. 

Overall, we wish we hadn’t wasted so much time and money and gone straight for the heat gun. You can check out the process on our YouTube video and see how easy it was: 


Jason Epperson

Father of three. Husband to the amazing Abigail. Theater Producer. School bus owner.

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