How to remove cell phone holder adhesive from dash

27 Jul, 2022

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You thought long and hard about what cell phone holder to buy before you installed it on the dash. You saw the blogs, read the reviews, and maybe even watched Youtube videos on the subject before choosing the one you were sure would never drop your phone, and never come undone.

But that’s just the problem, isn’t it? Your cell phone holder works so well that it won’t come off! Or even worse - the adhesive seems eternally glued to your dash, and no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get rid of it.

Luckily, there are solutions to both of these problems, and if you’re crafty and clever enough, removing a tricky phone holder or adhesive from your dash doesn’t have to be too much of a chore, or even too expensive. 

1) What is the best way to remove adhesive from the dash

Although this would seem like the most direct question to ask (and to answer), it’s actually a little more tricky (and sticky!) than that. After all, not all adhesive is created equal, so the solution to this problem will depend on what kind of holder you purchased in the first place, and what kind of glue your mount uses. But luckily, there are a few industry-standard adhesives that, for the most part, are considered standard-use for cellphone holders.

2) What is the most common type of adhesive for cell phone dash mounts

The most common type of adhesive used in cell phone dash mounts, and the one you are most likely to run across if you purchase a high quality dash mount, is actually a semi-transparent “glue disk” called VHB.

VHB stands for Very High Bond, and as to be expected, the name implies the function - VHB is highly durable and very sticky, and generally won’t lose its adherence to your dash over time, even in the event of an accident or rough roads. And while this is certainly great for the functionality and durability of your cell phone dash mount, it can mean problems when you try to remove it later. After all, that’s not what it was made for, is it?

And if you are wondering whether or not this is indeed the adhesive used in your cell phone dash mount, chances are, it is. Although the most common manufacturer of this type of adhesive is 3M, there are other brands who purport to have similar fatigue resistant and adhesive qualities. However, even if you’re not sure, don’t worry - the remedy for removal is pretty much the same for all types of this adhesive.

3) What are some adhesive removal tools I can use

If you know you used the 3M-brand VHB adhesive (or something similar), the best option for removing your mess will be the General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner made by 3M. Since they specifically manufacture and market these products in conjunction with one another, they are chemically matched to take care of your sticky situation.

Likewise, as an aerial spray, it is quite easy to use. Simply spray onto a rag or paper towel for ease of control and scrub it down with a little elbow grease.

Additionally, another brand-name alternative to the 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner is Goo Gone. Although the substance and methods of both cleaners may differ slightly - 3M’s General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner is an aerial spray, whereas Goo Gone is normally a gel - this is usually just a matter of personal preference and won’t reflect the performance. 

After all, regardless of what material your dashboard is made of, both brands generally won’t stain, and the application is pretty much the same. A little elbow grease, time, and effort go a long way.

Goo Gone

4) What are some adhesive removal techniques

However, if your elbows do start to get tired, you can always supplement the gel or spray with some adhesive removal techniques and tools, such as a plastic razor blade or even wallpaper scraper.

But just make sure it’s plastic, not metal! You don’t want to inadvertently damage your dashboard in the process, ultimately causing more harm than good.

Likewise, if you live in a cold part of the world, don’t try to remove your cell phone dash mount when it’s chilly outside. Glue is a viscous liquid and can expand and contract based on the temperature. This makes it hard to remove when it’s cold outside, and easier to remove when it’s warm.

So if you must remove your cell phone dash mount and your environment is less than ideal, use a hair dryer to warm up the spot where the mount connects to your dash. This will make it infinitely easier to remove.

Afterwards, simply take a butter knife, slide it underneath, and gently pry/slice until your mount comes loose, then apply your Goo Gone or 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner.

5)  Is there a way to remove adhesive without purchasing a brand name removal gel or spray

Yes, there are, but we generally don’t recommend them because the consequences of misuse or wrong application can sometimes outweigh the benefits of money saved.

For example, a quick scroll through Reddit or online chat forums claims a wide variety of at-home remedies such as peanut butter, vodka, rubbing alcohol, vegetable, canola oil, and even mayonnaise.

And sure, maybe some of these may work - but aside from making your dashboard smell like a sandwich (or like you’ve been hitting the bars all night), if applied incorrectly or for too long, they can end up staining the material of your dashboard, which can cost you money in the long run.

6) Are there cell phone holders that don’t use adhesives

Yes, there are, and some of them work great! But just like with anything, make sure you do your research. Not all of them are created equal, and designs may vary or work better depending on both your phone and car type.

Personally, our favorite alternatives to glue-based cell phone holders are ones that attach to a car’s air vent, such as the OMOTON Magnetic Car Phone Holder. This product offers an adjustable clamp phone holder that directly attaches to a car’s vent. Likewise, its Olecranon Hook Design makes it easy to clip on and off, which is super convenient if you use rental cars often, or simply don’t want to waste your time gluing and ungluing cellphone holders from your dash for the rest of your life.

Similarly if you share a car (or cars) with your family, we would also highly recommend looking for a rotatable multi-use car phone holder so that you can use different types of phones in different types of vehicles.

Omoton Magnetic Car Phone Holder

7) Is an adhesive cell phone holder worth it

When it comes to sticking power, nothing is going to beat good old-fashioned glue. But when it comes to convenience, there are certainly a wide variety of options that are superior. After all, once you glue your cell phone mount to the dash, there is really no going back until you are ready to either sell your car or buy a new cell phone holder. So if you misplace your dash the first time, there are no second chances.

So to avoid this sticky situation altogether, the best option is really to go for an air vent clamp to avoid this constant gluing and ungluing to begin with.

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