The Definitive Guide To The Best Methods For Removing Stickers

by Jillee
11 Materials
10 Minutes

You don't have to spend hours scratching at a stubborn sticker—use one of these simple methods to remove it instead!

Sticker glue can be surprisingly difficult to remove, a lesson that most of us have already learned the hard way! Certain types of stickers and labels seem to fuse to the surface of the objects they’re stuck to, and trying to remove these troublesome stickers and the adhesive residue they leave behind can be beyond frustrating!

But on the bright side, the stubbornness of sticker residue is no match for my particular brand of stubbornness! ;-) So it should come as no surprise that I’ve tried out dozens of different methods of removing stickers and sticker residue over the past several years in search of the most effective options.

As it turns out, there are several effective ways to get rid of sticker residue, and I’ll be sharing them with you in today’s post! I decided to include a few options because some methods work better on certain types of stickers (and because having more options makes it easier to make use of supplies you already have on hand!)

So without further ado, here are 11 ways to remove stickers and stubborn residue from everything! :-)

How To Remove Sticker Residue: 11 Effective Methods

1. Washing Soda

You can use washing soda to remove labels from bottles, as well as almost any type of sticker from an item you can safely submerge in water. Fill your sink with warm water, add around 1/2 cup of washing soda and stir, then soak the item in the hot soapy water for 30 minutes. The sticker or label should slide right off!

2. Peanut Butter

The fat content in peanut butter is surprisingly effective at dissolving sticker adhesive. Just smear a thick layer of it across the sticker you want to remove, then let it sit for an hour or so.

After the wait, you should be able to wipe the sticker residue off easily with a damp cloth.

3. Hair Dryer

Heat from a hair dryer is one of the easiest and cleanest ways to remove stickers, and it’s especially useful for removing old bumper stickers from cars. Turn your hair dryer on, hold it close to the sticker you want to remove, and hold it there for about 30 seconds.

The sticker should peel away easily, but if it’s still giving you trouble, another 30 seconds of heat should do it.

4. Pencil Eraser

If you’ve removed the paper part of a sticker but can’t get the adhesive residue off, grab a pencil eraser! The rubber will grip and drag the adhesive away from the surface and let you scrape it off more easily.

5. Alcohol

You can use several different alcohol-based products to dissolve sticker adhesive, like rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or even vodka. Soak a paper towel in your alcohol-based product of choice, then wrap the damp towel around the sticker you want to remove. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then wipe the sticker and adhesive away.

6. Baking Soda And Coconut Oil

Using a combination of baking soda and coconut oil (or olive oil, vegetable oil, or any oil you happen to have on hand) can pack a powerful punch against stubborn stickers. The coconut oil saturates and loosens the paper and adhesive, while the baking soda helps scrub the mess away.

Mix enough coconut oil and baking soda to create a paste, then smear the paste across the sticker. Let it sit for an hour, then scrub with a sponge or brush.

7. Mayonnaise

The fats and oils in mayo make it a surprisingly useful tool for removing stickers! Just spread a thick layer of mayo onto the sticker, let it sit for half an hour or so, then wipe the sticker and adhesive away from the surface.

8. Razor Blade

You can remove stickers manually with the help of a razor scraper or an X-ACTO knife. Start by holding the blade at an angle and gently pushing it under the edge of the sticker. Use the lifted edge to peel the sticker away from the surface, working in sections if necessary, repeating until the whole sticker is gone.

This method can be particularly useful for removing stickers on glass, but it may not be the best choice for other surfaces (especially painted ones). Using a plastic razor blade instead of a metal one can cut down on the risk of scratching up a surface.

9. WD-40

WD-40 has gotten me out of some sticky situations in my life, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that it can also help remove stubborn stickers. Spray the lubricant onto the sticker or price tag you want to remove, let it soak in for a while, and the sticker should come right off.

10. White Vinegar

Soak a washcloth in white vinegar, then wrap the cloth around the area where the sticker is. Let it soak for half an hour or so, and the sticker should wipe off easily.

11. Lemon Essential Oil

The degreasing properties of citrus oils are really handy for tackling sticky residue. Apply a drop or two of lemon essential oil directly to the area, let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then wipe the sticker and adhesive away. (Just avoid using lemon oil on plastic, as it can cause damage to the surface.)

Bonus Options: Store-Bought Gunk Removers

  • In certain rare cases, like if a sticker is very old or has been exposed to the sun, you may need something a bit more powerful to help remove all the residue.
  • Here are some store-bought products that I’ve found useful, and that may be just the thing you need to tackle those extra tough stickers:
  • Goo Gone Original Liquid – Great for tackling almost any type of sticky, waxy, or oily mess, and it’s safe to use on most surfaces.
  • Goo Gone Automotive – Great for removing stubborn bumper stickers, tree sap, bug splatters, and other messes.

Do you have a go-to method or product you use to get rid of stickers or adhesive?

Suggested materials:
  • Washing Soda
  • Peanut Butter
  • Hair Dryer
See all materials
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions

    What’s an easy way to remove the prescription labels off of pill bottles before recycling?

  • Julie Shull Julie Shull on Mar 04, 2022

    What exactly is Washing Soda?

  • Mandy Copeland Mandy Copeland on Mar 06, 2022

    I have a rectangular glass worktop saver I suppose you'd call it and it has a design bonded to the underside of it which has started to flake off round the edges. I'd like to get it all off and just have the plain glass but it's very resistant. I've tried rubbing alcohol, scourers etc. but it won't budge. Have you got a magic method to get it off or will I just have to resort to a razor blade?

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2 of 22 comments
  • Donna Bates Donna Bates on Feb 23, 2023

    I’ve tried a few of these, heard about a few but never tried but I definitely saved this just in case of anything

  • NatureHippy NatureHippy on Mar 28, 2023

    I use a little cooking oil and dish soap to remove the glue left on jars after removing the labels, then use a cloth or paper towel, works for me.

    Cheaper than going to the store to buy GOO Gon! I've been doing this for years.