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How to remove sticker residue


Sticker residue

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You want to reuse marmalade jars or gift boxes, but all attempts to remove the residue from the price sticker remain unsuccessful? Here are the best sticker removal methods. So, you can say “bye bye” to sticky remnants.

Sticker removal solution: Water, heat, oil, or alcohol

You have managed to remove the edge of the sticker and peel it off halfway, but that's exactly when it happens - the paper tears and you’re left with bits of adhesive and paper still stuck on. You may be able to remove the worst of it with your fingernail or a label scraper, but you're left with an unsightly, sticky stain.

Since you have no way of knowing which particular adhesive was used, the following general rule will help: Most adhesives are either water-, heat-, oil- or alcohol-soluble.

So, if you want to remove adhesive residue, it's best to use the elimination method according to many sources online. Start with the least aggressive and only move to stronger solvents if the adhesive is very stubborn.


Warm water with a dash of pH-neutral dishwashing liquid, for example, is usually the best sticker removal method to get rid of residue from glasses and bottles. Place the items in a soapy water bath for a few minutes and you can easily remove the sticker residue or watch the labels come off on their own.


If it is a non-water-soluble adhesive, heat will come into play. Take a hairdryer and apply heat to the sticker from a safe distance and only in short bursts. The adhesive will soften, and you can remove the sticker residue with your fingernail or a label scraper.

Oil or grease

If these two methods don't work, it's probably a stubborn adhesive. Some adhesives are oil or grease soluble. Coat the sticker with some oil or grease and push a little of it under the edges of the sticker.

For paper stickers, butter and margarine work well. For plastic stickers you can use cooking oil. Leave the grease on for a few minutes and then peel or scrape the sticker off. Be sure to use a work surface that isn’t sensitive to grease.


Only in exceptional cases should you go to extremes and use alcohol as a sticker removal solution. Sources claim you could use nail polish remover which also contains alcohol. But it can have an aggressive effect on surfaces and can damage them. Therefore, always test the effect of an alcoholic solvent on an inconspicuous area before applying it to a large surface.

If you’re confident no damage will occur, apply the alcohol carefully and leave it to soak in for a few minutes; you can then remove the sticker residue. Be sure to wear gloves and ventilate the room well during and afterwards. Alcohol solvents can be aggressive to the skin, and they produce harmful fumes.

Sticker removal solution for metal

To remove stickers from metal, use an alcohol-based solvent or cooking oil, which you can apply with a cloth or cotton ball. After a short soaking time, you can peel or scrape off the residue relatively easily. You can also use vinegar essence to dissolve the glue. If you need extra tips on how to specifically clean aluminium. We’ve got it covered.

Removing stickers from wood

Sources claim stickers can be removed from unpainted wood by carefully applying a little dishwashing liquid or vinegar. You can also use nail polish remover if the glue is stubborn but use very little. If the wood is varnished, be careful not to damage the varnish. It is advisable to remove sticker residue with heat first, for example, with the hairdryer method described above.

Sticker residue removal from glass

Sticker residue on glass can be easily removed by soaking it in soapy water. Usually, the detergent will dissolve the labels on its own or they can be easily peeled off. For more stubborn stickers, brushing with butter or cooking oil will help.

Since a water bath is not the best sticker removal method for windows or car windows, use a hairdryer first to loosen the adhesive. You can then remove the adhesive residue from the sticker with a label scraper, ceramic hob scraper, or ice scraper, or try using your fingernails.

Sticker removal from plastic or synthetic materials

The right method to remove stickers from plastic is mainly a matter of the material. For delicate plastic surfaces, you should first try a water bath, cooking oil, or a hair dryer. Alternatively, sources say you can mix a paste of water and baking soda, apply it, and let it work for a while.

For less sensitive plastic surfaces, apply an alcohol-based solvent with a cotton ball or cloth. Let it work for a short time and remove the adhesive residue with a scraper or your fingers.

Sticker removal solution for furniture

Children's stickers or price stickers can also find their way onto furniture. When you scrape them off, residue often remains, you can loosen and remove stickers from furniture with a hairdryer or a cotton ball soaked in vinegar or nail polish remover. Then simply clean your couch as you normally would.

We hope these sticker removal solutions are going to come in handy. For more useful tips read through our articles on how to dry clothes, how to clean makeup brushes and how to tie a bow tie.