How to Remove Sticker Residue

How to Remove Sticker Residue

If there are items in your home with stickers on them, and you remove those stickers, the chances are good that there will be residue there that you may find difficult to remove. The thing is, once you know exactly what to do about it, it’s a lot easier than you think to get great results. There are a few factors involved in determining how to remove sticky residue from any item, but the specific method requires knowing what type of sticker was used, that is, where the residue came from, and what materials that actual item is made of.

How to Remove Sticker Residue

Price tags, labels, and regular stickers can be difficult to remove, in part because you don’t want to damage the surface of the item they’re adhered to. Before you start scrubbing or cutting into an item to remove any type of sticker, you have to consider the item you’re taking care of because wood, plastic, glass, and all other items are completely different when it comes to getting the surface clean and free of a gooey mess. Below are some of the most common items people tend to remove stickers from, and what you can do to make sure they’re spotless when you’re done.

How to remove residue from metal.

In most cases, you’ll be working with either bare metal or metal that has been painted. With bare metal, rub some baby oil or WD40 (depending on how tough the residue is) to the residue area and let it sit there for about 20 minutes. Afterward, take a cotton ball and soak it in the same substance (baby oil or WD40), then rub the residue gently until it is gone. Next, wipe off the area with a clean towel or paper towel. For painted metal, use a 1:1 mixture of coconut oil and baking soda, keeping in mind that you might have to warm the oil slightly so that it will mix properly with the baking soda. Take a clean microfiber towel and dip it into the mixture, then rub the affected area until the residue is gone. If it doesn’t work right the first time, you can repeat the procedure until it does work. You can also use other oils in place of the coconut oil, including olive oil and vegetable oil.

How to remove residue from wood.

If you don’t want to sand the wood, you can try this method instead. First, gently heat the residue with either a hairdryer or a heat gun, making sure it’s on the lowest setting. Take some hand cleaner that has pumice in it, and rub it with the grain going back and forth. Continue doing this until the surface feels smooth and clean, then take a soft microfiber cloth and dry off the area so that it’s completely dry. If any of the hand cleaner is still left on the wood, use a damp cloth to remove it. You can also use this method more than once to make sure every bit of the residue has been removed.

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How to remove residue from glass.

If the item is small enough to fit into a sink, place it into a sink filled with water and dishwashing soap. Let the item soak for one hour before removing the residue. If the item is too big to fit into a sink, you can do the same thing using the bathtub instead. If the item is too large for either of these methods, take a towel and get it wet, then put dishwashing soap on it and place the towel on the spot where the sticky residue is located. With these large items, you’ll probably have to rewet and resoap the towel every 15 minutes or so and reapply it to the sticky spot. In all of these instances, just take a sponge and scrub the residue off after the item has finished soaking. It’s best if you use the scrubbing side because the residue will come off quicker and it won’t ruin the glass.

How to remove residue from a car.

If you have car dealer stickers, bumper stickers, or any other type of sticker on your car, you’ve likely noticed how difficult they are to remove, but it doesn’t have to be that way. First, use soap and water to thoroughly clean the residue area. Next, take a hairdryer and blow warm air on it for about a minute, holding it two to three inches away from the residue. Then, use a credit card, razor blade, or a box cutter to peel off the residue. When the sticker or residue starts to detach, go ahead and use a product such as Goo Gone or something similar to finish removing everything. Once everything has been removed, use a cloth to make sure every bit of the residue has been removed, and clean the area until it feels nice and smooth again. You can also use WD40 to make the residue easier to remove, as well as vodka, distilled vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or even boiling water poured over the residue. Be extra careful when using something such as vodka, which can be flammable.

How to remove residue from books.

‘Oddly enough, one of the most effective methods for removing sticker residue from books is the heat method, in which you use a hairdryer to loosen up the residue. Don’t use a super-high heat, and know that it may take a while, so you’ll have to be patient. If you can’t get all of the residue off with heat, use something else after you’re done with the heat, such as Goo Gone, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or even lighter fluid. Be very careful with these removers because not all of them will work well on the book’s cover. If you notice any damage occurring, stop the process immediately and wipe it off thoroughly. With all of these methods available, you are certain to find one that works for your particular book, and you’ll be surprised by how well most of them work.

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How to remove residue from clothes.

Clothes can be a challenge because oils can stain them and let’s face it, you don’t want to be rubbing anything such as lemon juice or peanut butter on your clothing. Instead, the best way to remove residue from clothes is to use heat. Take a hairdryer and blow it on the residue spot, making sure the dryer is set to the lowest setting, or soak it in very hot water for a little while. Once the clothes get warm enough, the sticky residue should come off easily.

How to remove residue from a laptop.

With a laptop, you have numerous products you can use to remove sticky residue. This includes oil or oil-based products, dishwashing soap, rubbing alcohol, a heat source such as a hairdryer, semi-abrasive materials such as magic erasers or Scotch Brite pads, and even adhesive tape, which you will place over the residue, rub the tape in firmly, and remove it in one swift motion. Be careful not to get any of these materials on the keyboard or inside the screen, and if one of these methods doesn’t work on your laptop, you can simply try another one.

How to remove residue from your windows.

Windows, including car windows, can be a challenge because they cannot be removed and soaked in any type of removing solution. Therefore, you need a Plan B. Start by using a razor blade to peel off as much of the residue as possible, then use soap and water and a towel to clean the area thoroughly so that as much residue as possible is removed. Use the razor blade and your hand to remove even more of the sticker and residue, then use either rubbing alcohol, vinegar, WD40, boiling water, or vodka and rub it in using a towel. This should remove a lot more of the residue. When it looks like all of the residue has been removed, use a towel to wipe away the left-on residue and if it doesn’t remove it all, start the process over again.

Be careful and read the directions printed on the product

With all of these methods, you have to be careful and read the directions printed on the product to make sure the item you’re cleaning is able to be used with that specific product. For instance, you can’t use abrasive materials on many of the items listed above, while you can’t use anything oily on other items. Paying attention to the directions for each product is important because the method either won’t work as planned or at worst, it will ruin the item you’re trying to clean.


Does vinegar remove sticky residue?

Distilled vinegar does indeed work well at removing sticky residue, especially from items such as glass and plastic. Vinegar also tends to work quickly, so you likely won’t have to work for long periods of time just to be successful at removing the sticky residue. It has just the right amount of acid in it to remove the residue without ruining the item it is there to clean.

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Can baking soda remove sticky residue?

Often, the baking soda has to be mixed with another ingredient, most commonly some type of oil such as vegetable, olive, or even coconut oil. It can be used on its own as well, and it really depends on what item you’re trying to clean and what type of sticky residue it is.

Will lemon juice remove sticky residue?

Like other ingredients, lemon juice often works best when it’s mixed with other ingredients, such as water and baking soda. Like baking soda, lemon juice is a natural cleaning agent, so if you do your due diligence, you’ll be able to discover thousands of uses for it.

Are There Other Cleaning Materials You Can Use?

In addition to the materials mentioned so far, there are many other cleaning materials as well, and they include:

  • Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil, or melaleuca, is not only a great way to remove sticky residue, but it also has a nice pleasant scent that you’ll enjoy the entire time you’re working. It is a natural essential oil that is found in many products, but for the best results, try to use 100% tea tree oil and not a blend.
  • Mineral or baby oil. Again, oils work wonders in removing sticky residue from a lot of different items. Both mineral oil and baby oil are also very inexpensive, so you’ll be able to keep them around for a very long time. The only thing you have to be aware of is that these types of oil can get everywhere, including places you don’t want them to be, so use them with caution and go slowly.
  • Paint thinner. Using paint thinner should be a last resort – only used when all else fails. This is because paint thinner can be rather harsh and sometimes ruins the item you’re trying to clean. It also has a very strong, unpleasant smell that tends to linger long after the project is complete. Still, it is a very effective method of removing stickers and sticky residue, so it’s worth it to give it a try.
  • Goo Gone. This product was mentioned earlier, and you can buy it almost anywhere. The only warning you should heed when using it is to use it in a well-ventilated area because it has a very strong odor. Nevertheless, it works!


Cleaning stickers and sticky residue off of any item can be a challenge, but once you learn the ingredients that are useful for doing this, the task becomes a lot easier. The good news is, most of these ingredients are household items that you probably already own, and the ones you may have to go out and purchase usually don’t cost much. Most of them are also “natural” ingredients that won’t harm the items you’re trying to clean. Nevertheless, it’s still recommended that you pay strict attention to the directions so that you don’t accidentally ruin something you’re trying to clean. Following the rules is always the smartest option when you’re trying to remove sticky residue from any item in your home.

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