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5 Best Substitutes for Window Tint Application Solution

Window tinting doesn’t always have to be done by professionals. You can do it yourself without needing any expensive or specialized tools. The biggest thing is using a solution to clean your windows to ensure the tent attaches to the surface. And there are many expensive brands of window tint application solution.

There are a few substitutes you can use to replace any window tint application solution. All of these substitutes are great replacements that work just as well as professional solutions but are also inexpensive.

The solution isn’t always the most important part, although it does provide the optimal surface for the adhesive to stick. Here is what you need to know about alternative solutions and the best way to apply window tint.


5 Best Substitutes for Window Tint Application Solutions

There are many tint application solutions on the market. Many are very expensive and sometimes aren’t worth the price compared to these effective and inexpensive substitutes. Here are the best substitutes for window tint application solutions:

  • Baby Shampoo
  • Dish Soap
  • Alcohol 50/50
  • A mix of alcohol and baby shampoo
  • A mix of alcohol and dish soap

The wonderful thing about these alternatives is that you may already have them around your house. If not, they are easy to pick up at any local general or grocery store!

1. Baby Shampoo

If you talk to window tint professionals, many don’t use manufactured solutions. Many use baby shampoo, specifically Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. Even students like Stephanie at Tint World suggested baby shampoo as her first option when applying window tint.

All you have to do is add some baby shampoo to the water and clean the window. Once the window is clean, you can start applying the tint. It’s super easy, inexpensive, and doesn’t have a lot of chemicals or additives that are often unsafe in professional solutions.

2. Dish Soap

Bottle of Palmolive dish soap

If you don’t feel like going out and getting baby shampoo, dish soap is a great alternative. It is perfect for applying window tint, and the tint will stick well without any problems.

You don’t have to choose a specific dish soap, either. Just whatever dish soap you use for your dishes will be perfect. You don’t have to go out and get another brand, nor do you have to purchase the most expensive options to get the best results.

3. Alcohol 50/50

Haz isopropyl 70% rubbing alcohol

Another substitute option is using 90% rubbing alcohol. The ratio between the alcohol and water must be 50/50. If you have other rubbing alcohol, you may need to do some math and adjust the balance. This means more alcohol to water with lower percentages.

This substitute isn’t used as much because rubbing alcohol can be a little expensive, and you’ll need to use more than if you choose to use dish soap or baby shampoo. 

4. A Mix Of Alcohol And Baby Shampoo

You can also make a mixture of rubbing alcohol and baby shampoo. You will do the same with the alcohol ratio and then add some drops of baby shampoo. This is a great solution that ensures cleanliness and adhesive attachment.

Again, follow the rule that if you use a lower percentage of rubbing alcohol, you may need to adjust the ratio of alcohol to water. You don’t have to change the ratio for the baby shampoo. Just add it, mix it, and you are ready to go.

5. A Mix Of Alcohol And Dish Soap

You can also mix a little dish soap into the alcohol 50/50 mixture. This is a perfect substitute if you want to use the alcohol mixture and don’t have baby shampoo. You get similar results, and it is very inexpensive.

Best Practices For Window Tint Application

When completing the process of putting tint on your window, there is a correct way to do it. Especially as a beginner, you want to ensure you do each step correctly, or it will have to be redone.

For the best results, these are the steps to follow when applying window tint:

  • Clean the window.
  • Cut the tint film to shape.
  • Apply soapy water to the window and film.
  • Apply film.
  • Spray tint with your solution.
  • Remove all bubbles.
  • Let it set.

Follow these steps for a professional appearance and a longer-lasting application.

Step 1: Clean The Window

Windshield wiper nozzles spraying

First, you must clean the window surfaces before doing anything. Dirt and grime can cause the adhesive to loosen and the tint to peel. You may even see dirt particles when you look through the window.

Any dirt and grime will cause the application to look like a beginner did it. Even if it looks clean, you still want to clean it off right before adding the tint. Dust particles are sometimes hard to see, so make sure there are none left on the surface.

Step 2: Cut The Tint Film To Shape

This step is optional, depending on the situation. If you have a lot of film, you should cut the film close to the shape of the window. 

You can do this by putting the film near the window and cutting the shape or by measuring the window and then cutting those measurements on the film. If it is a car window, you can spray it with soapy water so that the film clings to the window, and you can cut it to the right shape.

It is always better to cut more than you need. You can always cut away more, but you cannot add any back to a piece cut too short. A piece cut too short is just wasted. You may have to make a few cuts before the shape is perfect.

Step 3: Apply Soapy Water To Window And Film.

The next step is to separate the film from the liner and spray it with a substitute solution. It can be soapy water, shampoo water, or an alcohol mixture. Also spray the window to which you are applying the film.

When you apply the solution, it allows you to move the window tint with ease. It also helps with the adhesive attaching to the surface and ensures that it is durable and longer lasting.

Step 4: Apply Film

Next, press the adhesive to the window you have prepared for the tint. It is good to start at one side and move to the other. Ensure you line it up the best that you can, so it doesn’t look mis-aligned.

Don’t rush this process. It can be frustrating if you can’t line up the tint with the window. Just take your time with this step.

Step 5: Spray Tint With Your Solution

Spray the solution on the exterior of the tint. This will ensure that the edges are smooth and flawless and that the tint will adhere to your window securely.

Step 6: Remove All Bubbles

This is where you will use the squeegee to remove all the bubbles and other creases. Always work from the inside out to remove all the bubbles. This may take a little time, but moving from one side to the other in slow motion will be the best process.

Step 7: Let It Set

Once you have removed all the bubbles and creases, it is time to let it all set. Try not to get it wet. If you wash it during the setting period, it could damage the adhering process. You need to allow about seven days for the tint to set and harden. 

If you are applying tint to your car, do not roll down the window you have recently tinted. This can cause the tint to peel if it isn’t completely set, and you will have to repeat the process. 

Tips To Applying Window Tint

Following the steps mentioned above is the basic process that can help you complete the job successfully. But here are a few tips that should help the process go even more smoothly and guarantee that your job is successful:

  • Use a squeegee to get off any cleaning solution.
  • Use a microfiber towel to wipe off the cleaning solution and excess liquid.
  • Try to complete the tinting job during warmer, less humid weather.
  • If you tint during the winter, the curing time is longer.
  • Always cut bigger and trim the film as needed.
  • Use a peel board to help you figure out the right cuts.
  • Use a razor blade for all cuts.

Using these tips will improve your window tinting application.

Pitfalls To DIY Window Tint Application

There are many pitfalls when you try to do your window tint application yourself, especially if this is your first time doing it. Some of those pitfalls include the following:

  • The process may be rushed.
  • You may not have the right tools.
  • The surface may not be adequately cleaned.
  • More chances for mistakes.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the window tint yourself. You may do the job just as well as the professionals, but knowing the pitfalls can help you with the procedure, not hinder your ability.

The Process Is Rushed

Sometimes the process can be rushed. This is because you want to get it done and may skip the necessary steps. This is especially true if you don’t read instructions closely.

May Not Have The Right Tools

When you do it yourself, you may not have all the right tools. The tools aren’t advanced, nor are they costly. But if you’re doing the application, you may realize you don’t have the tools required to complete the job.

Always make sure you have all the tools before starting the job. The tools include:

  • Soapy water or application solution.
  • Microfiber towels or low lint towels.
  • Razor blade
  • Squeegee

These are the only tools you need, but only some have them. They can be found at most local stores, and most can be used for other purposes, not just once and done.

The Surface Is Not Cleaned Properly

It is essential that the window, including the areas around the window, be cleaned properly. Any dust or other particles in the general area can be transferred to the window at any point.

It is always better to be extra careful and do more than only clean the area where you are putting the tint. Any dirt will cause your tint job to look bad and fall off easily.

More Chance Of Mistakes

There is always a greater chance that do-it-yourselfers will make a mistake. And with errors, the tint will not last as long as if a professional had done the work.

Professionals do these jobs regularly, thus getting enough practice to know all the tricks of the trade. The risk of mistakes is much higher with a DIY who will do the procedure maybe once or twice than with a professional with lots of experience completing the task.

Final Thoughts

Many of these solutions are just as good, if not better, than the professional solutions used for window tint applications. Using these for a job can result in a look similar to a professional job with half the price of the manufactured solutions. More expensive doesn’t always mean better.

For more, don’t miss The Average Cost To Detail a Car or Truck (Partial vs. Full).