When stickers, labels, or any other sticky appliances are added to a surface for a certain length of time, it can be annoying when it comes to removing them and seeing that gluey residue has been left behind. Although you might immediately be tempted to scrap away the residue as soon as possible with a knife or a scraper, this can lead to damaging the material underneath the sticker residue. In this article, you will find some handy and alternative methods on how to remove sticky residue using everyday items, that have been tried, tested, and proved to be a success without leaving damage on the products.
If you have tried to remove sticky residue by hand or using household tools, you may find that it may not always generate the results that you want and can lead to damaging the products that they are attached to. We have found which household tools will be the most effective for removing sticky residue, but before you start, make sure to test the tool on a small area of the surface first before preparing to remove the sticker residue entirely. Doing this will prevent damaging the material.
A plastic scraper is often the go-to for removing sticker residue. Even if you do not have one at hand, you can use an old plastic credit card which is a great alternative and both items will offer better protection than a metal scraper. Plastic scrapers are more affordable too! The problem that you may find with plastic scrapers is that they will not be as sharp as metal scrapers, and therefore, may not be as effective for removing stubborn sticky residue. Additionally, you do not need to push too hard with the scraper, especially on fragile surfaces such as glass since this can lead to scratching it.
Surprisingly, hot soapy water has been revolutionary in the industry for removing sticky residue. Simply add some squirts of washing up liquid into a bowl or bucket of hot water, and allow the item to soak within the water for an hour. The hot water will assist in softening the sticker residue and make it easier to wipe away with a dishcloth or even your fingernails, which will really help to dig away at the small glue marks that it leaves behind.
Another way of applying heat to a product to help remove sticky residue is by using hairdryers, which work similarly to using hot soapy water, but is less messy. Apply heat from the hairdryer to the surface the sticker has been applied to, and allow for the residue to soften first, and afterwards, will be easier to remove by hand.
Using hairdryers rather than soapy water will also work better on larger objects too, such as mirrors or a piece of furniture. You can use a warm setting on your hairdryer, but not overly hot as this could damage the surface of the product as well.
Use adhesive tape to provide a strong and sturdy performance for fixing nameplates, artwork, and more…
Applying materials that have high acidic levels will be very effective for removing sticky residue from products. Alcohol, for example, has a pH value of 7.33[i], which, although this is not too acidic, or even alkaline, still contains the appropriate chemicals which will assist in removing sticker residue. Even vodka can be used to remove sticker residue by rubbing it using a cloth until the appliance becomes wet, and the residue will rub away. Sometimes, the sticky residue can become stubborn, in which case, you should soak the cloth and leave it on the area until the residue softens, and then try rubbing it again until the residue has gone. This method will work best on products that are made from glass, wood, and plastic.
It may seem like an odd choice, but peanut butter is a perfect option for removing sticker residue. Why? Because peanut butter is very oily, and whilst it may hang around a lot in your cupboard, you can still put it to good use when not adding it to your toast, by using it to remove that pesky sticky residue off your printing products instead. Simply spread the peanut butter onto the sticker surface and allow 15 minutes for the residue to soak up the butter. Once this has been done, the residue should wipe away easily.
A similar oily product to wipe away sticky residue is cooking oil, and is more gentle than peanut butter for removing stains from other surfaces, such as plastic and glass, too. To do this, apply the oil to the designated sticky area, and allow it to soften the sticker residue. After it has soaked for about 15 minutes, you can scrape the residue away with a plastic appliance, such as a knife or scraper, with your fingernails, or a cloth.
WD-40[ii] is commonly used for multiple purposes such as to help clean mechanical equipment such as hinges, wheels, and chains. So why is it on this list? Because it can remove sticker residue! All you have to do, like other appliances on this list, is to spray WD-40 over the affected area and leave to sit for a few minutes. The sticky residue should wipe away easily.
Another way on how to remove sticky residue from printing products is using white vinegar. Like rubbing alcohol, white vinegar is powerful and acidic enough to remove sticker residue without too much trouble. Additionally, it is great for killing bacteria, too, so if you have a product that has become affected, all you have to do is rub the vinegar on the surface and it should help to kill the infection.
To apply it, you can either:
- Apply it to the sticky zone, allow it to soak for a few minutes, and you should easily be able to wipe it away.
- Add white vinegar to hot soapy water, and allow the item to mix with the solution for an hour. You can then peel away the sticker residue by hand or with a cloth.
Mayonnaise is both acidic like vinegar and has greasy properties like oil, and therefore, will be just as effective for removing sticker residue. Just spread the mayonnaise onto the sticker surface and leave it to soak for 15 minutes before you wipe away the mayonnaise with the sticky residue.
For less tricky tasks to remove sticky residue, a rubber eraser should be effective enough. Rub the eraser onto the sticky surface, and it should rub up the dried glue and make the sticker easier to remove.
Of course, any commerical cleaning products that you may find at your local store can be just as effective for removing sticky residue as the other items on this list. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines whilst using the product. All you will need to do is apply the cleaning material to the sticky residue area, allow it to sit on the residue for a couple minutes, and then scrub away with ease using a cloth.
A simpler way of removing sticky residue from printing products is by using masking tape. You can do this by wrapping masking tape around your middle two fingers, sticky side facing outwards. Once you have done this, press the taped side onto the surface and pull away, and the dried glue should stick to the tape. You can repeat this procedure until all residue has been removed.
Our final method on appliances to remove sticky residue is by using steel wool, which is also effective for removing sticker residue and glue. Soak the steel wool in warm soapy water, and gently rub the residue with the wool to remove it. Make sure to apply enough pressure here, whilst also not scratching the surface underneath the residue.
You could also consider toothpaste as an alternative for removing sticky residue from surfaces and printing products. However, not all surfaces will be efficient for using toothpaste to wipe away sticky residue, such as natural materials including wood and fabrics. This is because toothpaste can bleach and stain these surfaces. Make sure to test any gel-based products first on a small area and wipe away immediately whilst applying slight pressure to see if it will provide the right results.
Now that we know which appliances are right for removing sticky residue, let’s put that knowledge into practice. Here is how to remove sticky residue from different surfaces.
Since glass can be easily damaged, you have to be careful with how you go about your process of removing sticky residue from it. We recommend that you use alcohol or white vinegar for removing sticky residue from the glass. Rub the solution onto the residue and polish away using a cloth.
There are many options for removing stickers and their residue from plastic, but you should also avoid scraping the material in case this causes dents or scratches.
Start by soaking the item in hot soapy water. Leave to soak for up to an hour, and if the sticker residue hasn’t budged, then using vinegar or cooking oil will provide better results.
The best method for removing sticker residue from metal is by using applied heat. Using a hairdryer should be your first option. However, if the hot air fails to loosen the sticker residue, consider using cooking oil instead. Leave it on the surface for up to an hour, and then clean it with hot soapy water.
Wood is a natural material, and therefore, can be vulnerable to many of the items listed for removing sticker residue. You need to be careful with this process, and you should avoid using food products including peanut butter and mayonnaise. Instead, use white vinegar or commercial cleaning products which will be just as effective for removing sticker residue, as well as killing unnecessary bacteria, too. Allow the cleaning solution to soak for a few minutes, and then you should be able to peel away the sticker with ease using a plastic scraper. For better results, wipe the surface of the wood with wood polish for an excellent finish.
Vinyl walls and window stickers can also be easy to remove. The longer the sticker has been applied to these surfaces, though, will be trickier to remove. For quick and easy results, heat a corner of the vinyl sticker using a hairdryer on a warm setting, and this should loosen the sticker from the wall or window.
Removing stickers from cars can provide a greater challenge and are not easy to remove without slightly damaging the paintwork. To avoid this, consider doing the following process:
- Clean the vehicle with soapy water. Make sure to wash away any dirt or debris that could damage the paintwork before you start to remove the sticker.
- Heat up the adhesive so that it will be easier to peel.
- Peel off the sticker when it has heated up, and start from a loose corner.
- Once the sticker has been removed, use distilled vinegar or a glue product to remove the rest of the residue.
- Make sure to wash and dry the affected area once the process has been complete.
To remove sticker residue from an item of clothing, the best option to do is to not place the item in a clothes dryer. Instead, freeze the item of clothing for 90 minutes, and then try and pick off the hardened residue. If any is left over, you can use dish soap with warm water applied to a microfiber cloth to finish it off.
Alternatively, you can also use nail polish remover. Apply this to a clean cloth, and carefully rub the remaining residue from it. If you want a less messy job, applying the masking tape process will work as well.
Removing sticker residue from glass and mirrors can be painstakingly irritating, especially since you want to avoid damaging the glass as much as possible. It is integral to protect the quality of the mirror. Similar to removing sticky residue from glass, you can rub alcohol onto the surface and polish away the residue using a cloth. If the residue is stubborn and won’t budge after applying alcohol, consider heating up the residue with a hairdryer instead and attempt to peel it off then.
If your laptop is covered in stickers and you want to make room for more, or you want to make it look more professional, then you can apply cooking oil (olive oil) to the stickers that you want to remove. Use a drop of cooking oil on a cloth and rub on the sticker, and then begin peeling the sticker from the device.
When you purchase a poster, you may find that the pricing sticker has been attached to the product itself rather than the sleeve. If this has occurred, you need to be careful removing the sticker so that it does not damage the poster. The easiest way to do this is by using a white cloth, a hairdryer, and a paintbrush.
Begin by heating up the sticker on the poster on the highest setting to loosen the glue. Then, rub your fingernail on the edges to pull them up. Work carefully here so as to not damage the main print of the poster. Use the paintbrush and add Goo Gone onto the sticker without touching the poster itself. Wait a few minutes for the Goo Gone to work its magic, and then gently scrub the residue off the poster.
Be sure to check out how to create a poster effectively.
And that is everything that you need to know about how to remove sticky residue from everyday products. Although it is a simple process to follow, it can be easy to go wrong. Removing sticker residue can take time and effort to remove completely, but following the instructions from this article, should bring peace to your mind on removing that pesky glue.
Mix in white vinegar with warm soapy water. Get a cloth and soak it with the solution, and then scrub it on the applied area of the book. Alternatively, you can also rub alcohol, which is just as effective as white vinegar.
You can remove sticky residue from a white board with cooking oil spray or baking soda paste. Apply these solutions to a cloth and wipe the sticker off of the white board.
Sticky residue can be removed naturally by using cooking oil or baking soda. Allow these products to sit on the residue for 10 minutes to help break down the adhesive. Baking soda is useful here because it is a natural cleaner and also a mild abrasive. Use a paper towel with the cooking oil applied, mixed with warm soapy water, should help to remove sticky residue from the selected surface.
[ii] Toolstop (2021) ‘WD-40: What is it and What Can You Use it For?’, Toolstop Blog. Available at: https://www.toolstop.co.uk/blog/knowledge-base/wd40-what-is-it-and-what-can-you-use-it-for#:~:text=Lubricates%20moving%20parts%20such%20as,Loosens%20rusted%20bolts [accessed 25th April, 2023]