How to Remove Sticker Residue

How to Remove Sticker Residue – Looking for a great way to remove sticker residue? Your search is over. I have the best method for removing sticker residue from almost any surface today. As I’m sure you know, stickers are everywhere these days. Everything from laptops to cars often have stickers on them that are hard to remove. This can be extremely frustrating when trying to clean these surfaces. But have no fear, help is here. Read on to get my step by step guide today.

Children love stickers, and sometimes they end up on windows, walls, furniture, clothing, and places you would never expect.  Some adults like stickers as well, and you may find yourself regretting you stuck one on a closet door or car bumper a few months or years down the road.  Can the residue from stickers be removed?  You’ll be relieved to know in most cases, the answer is yes. Enjoy the tips below!

Whether on wood, plastic, glass, rubber or other materials, the first thing you should do after removing the sticker is to remove as much residue as possible with your fingers.  You can do this by rubbing your finger across the residue to form balls that you can pluck off.  Once you’ve removed as much as possible, try the following:

If the item with the residue can go into the sink, put a couple of squirts of dish soap into hot water and let the item soak for 10 or 15 minutes, then scrape off remaining residue using a credit card or plastic scraper.

Peanut butter works well to remove residue from glass, plastic, and wood.  All you need to do is put a little peanut butter on the gunk and let it remain long enough to soften the residue  Clean up the gunk and the peanut butter using a clean rag.  Mayonnaise, canola oil and other cooking oils work well if you don’t have any peanut butter on hand.

Soak a paper towel in warm white vinegar or room temperature rubbing alcohol, then lay it over the sticker residue for about five minutes.  This will soften the residue so you can scrape it away with a credit card.

WD-40 is also effective for removing sticker residue.  Just spray onto the sticker or gunk that’s left after you have removed the sticker, let it soak for 10 minutes or so, and wipe away with a paper towel or clean cloth.

Table of Contents

How to Remove Sticker Residue

Once you’ve removed as much as you can by hand, use one of the following methods to remove any sticker residue that remains. One word of caution: With all of these methods, test the surface in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t stain or cause other damage.


Credit: Jason Donnelly

Plastic Scraper

While metal blades might scratch the surface you’re trying to save, a plastic scraper (such as the edge of an old gift card) or the blade of a plastic knife can be safely used to scrape the adhesive from many surfaces without scratching. Other options include wiping the spot with the scratchy side of a sponge or rubbing the debris away with a rubber eraser. This works well to get sticker residue off plastic, but if you’re not careful, it may scratch a glass surface.

Hot Water

Put a few drops of dish detergent into a sink or container full of hot water and immerse the item (if practical) into the water to soak until the residue softens. Scrape away the gunk with a plastic scraper or your fingers. Cold water will not remove sticker residue as effectively as hot water.


One of the best tools to remove sticker residue is in your bathroom. Aim a hair dryer at the sticker residue, turn it on, and allow the hot air to loosen the adhesive. Scrape to remove.

removing sticker with alcohol and cloth

Credit: Jason Donnelly

Rubbing Alcohol or Vodka

If you want to know how to get sticker residue off plastic, wood, or glass, rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent that’s safe for most surfaces. Vodka is a good substitute. Wet a paper towel or clean rag with rubbing alcohol, and rub the residue to lift it off. For stubborn stickers, lay an alcohol-soaked rag on the area, and let it sit for several minutes to soften the residue. Use the rag to rub off what’s left behind.

Peanut Butter

If you want to get sticker residue off wood, glass, or plastic, dab peanut butter on the spot and let it sit until the sticker residue softens. Use a clean rag to lift off the peanut butter as well as the residue.


The lubricant spray WD-40 ($5, The Home Depot) has a lot of uses throughout the home, and removing sticker residue is one of them. Spritz the solution onto the sticker spot and let it sit for several minutes. Then use a rag to wipe away the residue.

removing sticker with cloth and oil

Credit: Jason Donnelly

Canola Oil or Olive Oil

Applying cooking oil can help soften sticker residue. Scrape away the remainder with your fingers, a plastic scraper, or a plastic knife. You can also try rubbing with a clean rag. After the sticker residue has been removed, simply wipe away the excess oil.

Distilled White Vinegar

Learning how to remove sticker residue with household items can save you money. Soak a rag or paper towel in vinegar and lay across the sticky area. Let it soak for a few minutes to soften the residue, then wipe or scrape to remove. Plus, you can use vinegar to clean all around the house.

Rubber Eraser

Erasers aren’t just useful for errant pencil marks. You can also use a rubber eraser to remove sticker residue from most surfaces. The rubber surface will roll the residue away.

Commercial Cleaners

A few commercial products, such as Goo Gone ($4, Walmart), are formulated to remove sticker residue. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, but in most cases, you apply the product to the residue, let it sit, then scrape or wipe with a rag to remove.


Credit: Jason Donnelly

How to Get Sticker Residue Off Clothing

To remove sticker residue from clothing, try to remove the sticker as soon as possible, and don’t run it through your dryer. But accidents happen, so if you’re dealing with dried-on sticker residue on clothing, try these methods. Remember to experiment on an inconspicuous spot first.

After you’ve picked off as much sticker residue as possible with your fingers, your next strategy depends on whether the clothing item is made of natural fibers or synthetics. You can get rid of sticker residue on clothing made of natural fibers by rubbing the spot with acetone (nail polish remover) applied to a clean cloth. Wash and dry the item as you would normally.

How to Get Sticker Residue off Glass Surfaces

If you’re removing sticker residue from glass, including mirrors, the good news is that the job shouldn’t be too difficult. Here’s the easiest way to get sticker residue off glass:

  1. Fill a sink with hot water and dishwashing soap
  2. Soak the glass in the hot, soapy water for an hour
  3. Use a dish sponge to scrub the residue off the surface

The rough side of the sponge is the most effective for scrubbing. If there’s still a bit of adhesive left behind, repeat the steps to remove it.

If the glass surface is too large to fit in a sink you can repeat the same process in a bathtub. You can also soak a towel in the soapy solution and place it on the residue, resoaking and reapplying every 15 minutes or so. Then use the rough side of the sponge to remove the rest of the residue.

How to Remove Sticker Residue from Metal

Metal is the second easiest material to remove adhesive from. However, excessive scrubbing can cause paint discoloration or accidental buffing on bare metal. Here are the easiest ways to remove sticker residue from a metal surface without damaging it:

Removing sticker residue from bare metal:

  1. Apply a small amount of baby oil to the sticker residue and let it sit for 20 minutes
  2. Soak a cotton ball or rag with baby oil and use it to gently rub the surface until the residue is gone
  3. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth or paper towel

If the glue is particularly stubborn, you can also use a bit of WD-40 in place of the baby oil.

Removing sticker residue from painted metal:

  1. Create a 1:1 mixture of coconut oil and baking soda (note: you may need to warm the oil slightly for it to mix thoroughly with the baking soda)
  2. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution
  3. Using your finger, lightly rub the solution soaked cloth over the residue to remove it
  4. Wipe the surface with a clean microfiber towel

This is a less aggressive method aimed to minimize paint damage. The baking soda acts as an aggregate to break up the residue while the oil prevents scratching the paint. You can repeat the process if necessary. If you’re short on coconut oil, other cooking oils such as vegetable or olive oil will work as well.

How to Get Sticker Residue off Plastic

Plastic is very easily scratched if an aggressive residue removal method is used. If you’d prefer to keep your plastic smooth and crystal clear, here is a technique to try:

  1. Fill a sink or small tub with hot water
  2. Add a cup of white vinegar
  3. Add a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid
  4. Stir to combine the mixture
  5. Place the plastic item in the sink or tub, ensuring the residue stays submerged
  6. Let it soak for 20 minutes
  7. With the residue still underwater, rub it with your fingers until it’s removed

This method helps avoid the scratches that a sponge can cause in soft plastic, while still being mild enough to touch with your bare hands. Again, if any residue remains, repeat the process.

How to Get Sticker Residue Off Wood

Because wood is so porous, sticker residue can bury itself in the grain, making it very difficult to remove entirely. Instead of sanding the wood, you can try a less aggressive method:

  1. Gently heat the residue with a hairdryer or heat gun adjusted to its lowest setting
  2. Using a bit of hand cleaner with pumice, such as Gojo or Fast Orange, rub the residue with your hand, going back and forth with the grain
  3. Continue until the surface feels clean
  4. Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth

If there is any hand cleaner left on the wood, dampen the microfiber or use a wet paper towel to remove the rest of it.

By following these tips, you should be able to remove sticker residue off most surfaces. Because they’re gentle methods, you’re less likely to damage your surfaces, and more assured to end up with a smooth, clean, residue-free finish.

To get rid of sticker residue on clothing made of synthetics, place the item in the freezer for 45 to 90 minutes. Pull the clothing out, and immediately pluck off as many of the hardened bits as possible. Then moisten the spot with water, add a drop or two of mild dish soap, and rub the remainder of the sticker residue off using a microfiber cloth. Wash and dry the clothing item as you would normally.


Removing sticker residue can be an annoying chore that many of us probably wish we never encounter. The problem is, sometimes we don’t have a choice and we need to remove sticker residue. It can be off windows, cell phones and even stainless steel. Fortunately, it’s not difficult and the results are worth the trouble…

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