How to Remove Sticker Residue
Today I’m sharing how to remove sticker residue. Because 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 showing you how to get rid of 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.)
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.
How to Get Sticker Residue Off Glass
Put some of the non-acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball. Blot it onto the sticky labels residue, allow it to dissolve the stubborn residue, and then rub the residue off. You may need to follow up with a paper towel.
How to Remove Sticker Residue on a Book
I use this trick on other things, like books with smooth covers.
Boom. Stubborn glue be gone.
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.
How to Remove Sticker Residue on Packaging
I also use it on cellophane packaging.
It’s like magic.
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 water, 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.
Other Things to Try
Don’t have the things on hand that I mentioned above? That’s okay! Here are some other household products that you can use to try to remove those stubborn stickers:
dish soap • razor blade • peanut butter • olive oil • vegetable oil • hot water • cooking oil • pencil eraser • rubbing alcohol
So there you have it, how to remove sticker residue!
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!
I haven’t used this trick, but I use the heck uot of goo gone!
Easy enough–thanks for sharing! 🙂
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 🙂
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,
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!
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.
WHAaaat? I totally need this one! You just saved my life for this Christmas!
Great tip!! It looks so easy!
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!!!
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.
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 labels..lol. Anyway, I appreciate you sharing your tricks, definitely gotta go buy myself some more nail polish remover for sure 😉
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!
I use baby oil and it does a great job too. 🙂
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
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.
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.
These are all good ideas, but I swear by my little can of WD-40. Super duper!
If it’s plastic & the nail polish remover spoils it, use olive oil. You tap it with your fingers and let it work for a (long) while, then wash it. You might need to scratch it with your nail a bit. If the glue is hardened (some preserves have the label with this glue) and the surface is glass or metal you might want to use the hallogen stive top scraper to scrape it off. I use this with all the glass jars before the oil thing.
I bought Goo-gone & it was a waste of money.
Hi Chelsea, I’ve seen your pin 100 times on Pinterest and just now took a look at it. I’m glad I did as I too am a Phi Mu! Count me as your newest follower :o)
Follow my middle school class at Jackson In The Middle
So glad you finally clicked over! I love running into other Phi Mu’s on the Interweb. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this useful “secret”. Theres was a spot of glue on my porcelain tile floor. I applied the non-acetone nail polish remover and I immediately clean it with a damp cloth. It worked wonderfully even though they say that kind of tile is very delicate and can be easily damaged.
My neighbors give me their empty prescription Rx bottles that I use to make sewing kits for the homeless. I tell them they don’t need to remove the labels as all I do is pour boiling water in each bottle to just above the top of the label. Let sit for a few minutes and label peels off easily leaving no residue whatsoever.
That is interesting, I never thought of to use nail polish remover. I get a lot of electronics and one of the tricks I use is an eraser. I use a white eraser, which I find works better, to scrub out the residue. It takes a little muscle to get off, but it is safer than liquids.
OMG, what a lifesaving tip! Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but I just nail polish remover and cotton balled a gazillion items in my apartment. Thank you from the bottom of all of the items I’ve ever thrifted.
Hah! That’s awesome! Glad I could help!
oil works, too. Baby, olive, cooking.
Thanks for the tip! I was rolling when I read the “I told you so” part. Funny stuff! I’m betting the nail polish remover works faster than hot water and scrubbing on glass.
I used an Alcohol Wipe and it worked like Magic – No Sticky Residue and no damage to the Cover
you can also heat the sticker with a hairdryer to get it to peel off easily!
This was the tip of the year! I have been collecting Death Metal records for years and some remained sticky even after removing the sticker. Now I used the nail-polish remover some of my 90’s classics are nice and shiny again! And it doesn’t even damage cover. I guess it may depend on the glossiness of the cover but I am one happy man yielding a bottle of nail0polish remover :)!!
So happy to read that this has worked for you, Glenn! Enjoy those Death Metal records! 🙂
Really great tips! But what I need right now is one for getting just the goop left from the sticker on a paper book jacket. Any ideas for that?
Thank you for this tip! I’ve been looking for a solution for years and now I have it 😀
My MIL swears by peanut butter to remove sticky residue. She is a thrift store-aholic and always these little tricks up her sleeve to make new the things she finds
I have found that Lemon Essential Oil works amazingly well. Again, depending on the surface for each of these for practical use.
Use WD-40, it will not harm plastic, and cleans almost everything!
It’s a lubricant, so just wash off with a little soap and it’s clean
I just used this trick!! Got a iPhone 6s from eBay and there was a sticker on the back I tore half off but there was still half the sticker. The fingernail polish remover worked wonderfully!! I’ll be sure to already remember and use this trick.
A little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball works as well.
@Daniel. Correct. You don’t think. Nor read with comprehension either. Note that she wrote, “Emphasis on the non-acetone.”