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How to Remove Sticker Residue from Anything

March 4, 2020

No matter what you buy, whether it be an item from the grocery or a toy for your child, that item will most probably come with a sticker on it. Now while the sticker itself may be easy to peel off, the residue it leaves behind can be a pain. Who wants to waste ten or fifteen minutes of their time picking at leftover glue with their fingernails? 

Fortunately, there's also a pretty long list of easy household solutions for getting that residue right off. Here's how to remove sticky residue from pretty much anything:

How to Remove Sticker Residue:

1. Scrape it off

If you're dealing with a hard object like a glass jar or a plastic toy, then scraping it off might be the easiest solution. Though not the best solution for when you're in a rush, scraping the sticker residue off the surface with one of the following tools should do well in a pinch:

  • Dry Rubber Eraser: Make sure that the item with the sticker residue is dry, then rub the eraser onto the area. The friction from the eraser's rubber surface should roll the leftover adhesive right off.
  • Plastic Pan Scraper (or a Credit Card!): This is probably the best option if you don't want to scratch the surface of whatever you're trying to get the residue off of. The downside? If the residue is particularly sticky, the scraper might not be sharp enough to get it off.
  • Paint Scraper: Being more heavy-duty than a plastic pan scraper or a credit card, a paint scraper should get the sticker residue right off. Handle it carefully though, as you might damage the object while scraping.
  • One-Sided Razor Blade: The sharpest scraper out there. Being more flexible, these are best for when you need to get residue off curved surfaces like bottles and mason jars. Just be careful not to cut yourself!

2. Use Heat

Most adhesives can be weakened by heat. If the object you're handling can withstand heat, then one of the simpler things you can do to remove the sticky adhesive is to boil some water. Then, pour the boiling water into a small basin. If you can't submerge the entire item in the hot water, at least submerge the area where the sticker is. Leave the item there for around 15 minutes to half an hour. Once you take the item out of the water, the sticker adhesive should come off with just a couple of scrapes from your fingernail. 

A word of caution: be careful if you're dealing with glass. Hot glass is prone to shattering, so don't move the bottle before it's cooled down a bit. Also, never put a sealed container in the hot water, as it may heat the air inside the bottle and cause it to explode. 

3. Break Out the Liquids

If all else fails, then your last hope is to apply some sort of solvent to break down the adhesive. Here's are the most common household items you can use to remove sticker residue:

  • Peanut Butter: Probably the strangest solvent on this list, but some people swear by it! Smear the peanut butter onto the adhesive, let it sit for an hour or so, and then wipe it off with a clean rag or tissue. 
  • Cooking Oil: You can use any cooking oil here, be it olive, canola, coconut, or sunflower oil. This method isn't recommended if the item you're trying to clean is prone to staining—oil is known to stain absorbent materials, so test a spot before proceeding. If the oil leaves no trace, soak a paper towel in the oil, place it over the sticker residue, and leave it there for a few minutes to half an hour to let the oil soften the adhesive. Once softened, you should be able to scrape the residue off with your fingers.
  • Vinegar: Dilute some vinegar in water and soak a dishrag in the solution. Then, wrap the cloth around the object you're handling, leaving the rag there for around fifteen to thirty minutes. Remove the cloth and scrape off the residue with your fingers or a plastic scraper. If the sticker residue is particularly strong, you may want to skip the dilution and use pure vinegar to remove it instead. 
  • Rubbing Alcohol or Vodka: When using rubbing alcohol, you can use the same method as the one for cooking oil. Dampen a dishrag or paper towel in rubbing alcohol or vodka and place the towel on the area with sticker residue. Let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the liquid to dissolve the glue. Once softened, the residue should come off with your fingernail or a plastic scraper. If some bits are particularly persistent, you can use an old toothbrush doused in alcohol to scrape the rest off. 
  • Nail Polish Remover: The most powerful household solvent when it comes to removing sticker residue. Place a few drops of the solvent onto the sticker residue and scrub with an old toothbrush. The polish should get rid of the adhesive in a minute or less! 
  • Commercial Cleaners: In the event that all else fails, or you're just too darn lazy to make the effort with any of these household items, then your last hope is a commercial cleaner or a sticker remover like Goo Gone. These are products on the market that you can purchase which are formulated specifically for sticker residue. Not only will this get the adhesive off in a jiffy, but it'll also be useful to have on-hand for the next time you need to get sticker adhesive off of an object. 

Keep Cleaning Hassle-Free

There's an endless list of household objects that can be marred by such a seemingly harmful piece of paper. Don't let something so inconvenient cause you unnecessary stress. If you're in the market for a solution to stressful housekeeping, then give us a call at HomeFresh! For affordable rates, our team of professional cleaners will keep your home in tip-top shape. Book us today!

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