How to Remove Sticker Residue

Don’t you hate it when you buy someone you love a gift and while you’re carefully peeling the price tag off, the paper part tears away and you’re left with that half paper/half sticker residue nonsense?  You could leave the half paper/half sticker residue on, but that would be kind of tacky of you.  Or maybe you buy yourself something, and you don’t want the husband to know how much you spent and all of the sticker price tag comes off BUT the actual price.  Annoying, right?

Well, today I’m sharing my secret for getting that pesky half paper/half sticker business off for good.

how to remove sticker residue

My secret: non-acetone nail polish remover.

(Emphasis on the non-acetone.  DO NOT use regular, acetone nail polish– it’s a solvent.)

get sticker off

I learned this little trick back in my Phi Mu sorority days.  For special new member occasions, we would decorate the crap out of stuff with paint pens.  Nothing plastic was left untouched.  To this day, I still have a storage container my “mom” in the house covered in paint pen and gave me to celebrate my initiation into the House of Mu– I use it to store Jack’s food.  Anyway, back to the paint pens.  When we’d make a mistake while decorating we’d use non-acetone nail polish remover to remove the paint but not harm the plastic.  One day, I decided to try this trick to remove the half paper/half sticker residue from something plastic I bought.  And it worked.

This blue pot isn’t plastic– it’s glazed.  But the non-acetone nail polish remover trick still worked.

Put some of the non-acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball.  Blot it onto the residue, and then rub the residue off.  You may need to follow up with a paper towel.

remove pricetags


sticker residue removal

I use this trick on other things, like books with smooth covers.

how to remove sticker


how to remove pricetag sticker

I even use it on board books (you know, for the kiddos).  Just be careful because if you do it on a board book with a colored surface you can take some of the color off.

I also use it on cellophane packaging.

remove pricetag sticker

It’s like magic.

get pricetag sticker off

Now, I’m not going to say that this trick works on everything, so it’s best to test a small area first.  Don’t go bananas and ruin whatever it is you used this on, and then send me an angry email.  If you do send me an angry email, I’ll copy and paste this paragraph in my reply.  Along with the sentence, “I told you so.”

There’s another trick I do to remove sticker residue off of things I purchase that need to be washed anyway (mug, bowl, platter, etc.).  I put the item into soapy dishwater, and then rub the sticker off with the coarse side of a sponge.  That’s it.  It works every time.  Use caution if the sticker is on a surface that can be scratched by the sponge (made use the gentler side of the sponge).  And try not to let the sticker pieces go down the drain or into your garbage disposal– you don’t want then to lead to a clog.

So there you have it, how to remove sticker residue!

How to remove that pesky price tag sticker residue!

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  1. I use white vinegar to do the do the same thing. It especially works well on picture frames, as it removes the sticky residue AND cleans the glass. Great hints!
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  2. I haven’t used this trick, but I use the heck uot of goo gone!

  3. Easy enough–thanks for sharing! :)
    Erin@Managing the Manor recently posted..Kitchen Storage Tips-Contributor PostMy Profile

  4. Good idea. I have learned to just use the hair dryer. I blast the sticker with the hot air, and it reactivates the glue, and you can usually just pull the sticker/glue right off. For really old, old stickers, sometimes you might have some glue left. If I can’t pull it off by applying scotch tape to pull adhesive away, then I go to goo gone. I’ll try the non-acetone for any remaining glue next time :)

  5. I spray a little W D 40 on a paper towel and use it to take off stickies. I love your idea and will buy some non acetone nail polish remover next time I am at a store. Thanks,

  6. Great tip!!

  7. Awesome, I didn’t realize nail polish remover will take that stuff off! I always use goo gone, but I feel like it’s kinda oily and weird… Pinning this and definitely trying it next time!
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  8. I also use olive oil. Rub it on, leave it for a day & wash.
    If I’m taking the jar labels off, I use 2 methods. Plastic containers: I blow dry in sections while pulling. Glass containers: soak in soap water & steel scrubber for the rest.

  9. WHAaaat? I totally need this one! You just saved my life for this Christmas!
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  10. Great tip!! It looks so easy!
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  11. Awesome tip!!!

  12. I can’t believe I never thought of this! I wish I had known this a few days ago when cleaning out some used up candle jars, but having this info for the future is going to be so greatly helpful!!!
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  13. Anything that dissolves something else is a solvent…even water is considered a solvent. And even non-acetone polish remover has a lot of chemicals one might be wary of, like propylene glycol. Give regular ole coconut oil a try. Mixed with a bit of baking soda it takes care of those sticky residues lickety split! And just straight it works pretty well too.

  14. Who would have thought? Nail polish remover! So genius! I’ve done the dishwater trick and then scrub the residue off – sometimes it works – sometimes not – depending on the darn sticker. Sometimes you really gotta wonder what they really put on the back of those Anyway, I appreciate you sharing your tricks, definitely gotta go buy myself some more nail polish remover for sure ;-)

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  15. This is so smart! I have quite a few things I’ve been trying to get sticker-stuff off of but can’t. I know what I’m doing tomorrow!
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  16. I use baby oil and it does a great job too. :)

  17. Got any tips for taking stickers off of wood? My sons crib was delivered from Babies R ‘Us 9 MONTHS AGO! Beautiful dark wood complete with 2 enormous stickers describing what is in the wood and safety precautions. I thought they’d be those plastic stickers that just peel right off but nope, these are like reinforced paper stickers that have been glued to the wood. And now there’s a lovely half ripped off corner where I tried removing it the day it arrived! Tell me you have a tried and trusted remedy PLEASE?! Thanks

  18. I am constantly removing labels, including many small wood pieces. I have found using a hair dryer to heat up the label is all I need. If I have trouble and it seems to stick I will continue with the hair dryer or lift another corner of the label at the other end. I rarely have trouble with residue. If I do I run a brown paper grocery bag over the area to “sand” it. Been painting for 25 years and this works best for me with out using chemicals.

  19. Catherine says:

    I use orange glo, a trick I learned when I worked in retail. If a large label I gently score it first, then spray. Stickers and labels come right off.

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