How to Remove Sticker Residue from Almost Anything – LifeSavvy


It’s quite difficult to remove decals from surfaces, but once you do, there’s usually an unsightly (and still sticky) residue left. There’s no need to worry, though, these simple tips and tricks will help you remove sticky residue from almost any surface in your home.

The sticky gunk left behind by labels, stickers, and tags can be surprisingly difficult to completely remove. Of course, you can just reach for the Goo Gone, but if you prefer to avoid harsh chemicals, you can remove almost any annoying sticker residue with just one tool and a few ingredients. And you probably already have everything you need in your closet.

How to remove sticker residue from glass

Someone removes a sticker from a car windshield with a scraper.

One of the most common places you’ll find sticker residue is on glass bottles and jars. Fortunately, these smooth surfaces can usually be cleaned relatively easily, without the use of harsh chemicals.

There are different methods for removing sticky residue from glass. If the object is small enough to be submerged, try the following method first:

  1. Fill a sink or large bowl with hot water, soapy the water.
  2. Submerge the item and soak for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Gently scrape or wipe away residue until loose.
  4. Rinse with clear water and repeat if necessary.

If the article is too large to overwhelm, follow these steps instead:

  1. Dip a sponge in warm water and dish soap, then dab off the residue.
  2. If there are still some left, use a plastic scraper to gently peel it off.
  3. Thoroughly wipe the area with clean water and repeat if necessary.

If soap and water don’t do the trick, you can switch to olive or vegetable oil. They can loosen sticky residue, making them much easier to wipe away, without a strong odor that will linger.

The process is quite similar to those above; just follow these steps:

  1. Apply a small amount of the oil of your choice to the residue, either with a sponge or by dripping it directly onto the surface.
  2. Rub the oil on the surface, then let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Use a plastic scraper to gently loosen the residue.
  4. Wipe the item with a clean, damp towel, then repeat the process if necessary.

How to remove sticker residue from plastic

Much like glass, sticker residue on plastic has the advantage of being on a relatively smooth surface. In many cases, the simple soap and water approach works, just like with glass. Just follow the steps described in the previous section.

However, if a sticker has been there for a while (like labels on the bottom of a plastic organizer, bathtub, laundry basket, etc.), your cleaning solution might need a little nudge.

In these cases, a White vinegar solution might work—follow these steps:

  1. Mix one part vinegar with two parts lukewarm water
  2. Add a little dish soap to the mixture (enough to form a moderate amount of suds).
  3. Immerse and soak the item if it’s small enough, or apply the solution to that sticky residue with a sponge.
  4. Use a plastic scraper to gently scrape off the residue until it comes off.
  5. Rinse with clear water, then repeat if necessary.

How to remove sticker residue from metal

The back of a car covered in stickers.

From bumper stickers to house numbers on mailboxes, stickers on metal can be a little trickier to remove. Many adhesives can bond to metal with remarkable strength. Also, once you remove the sticker, there will likely still be some residue.

On some items, the water and dish soap method we covered in the glass section can work just fine, so it’s worth trying first. However, for more stubborn residue, you can try using a spray lubricant like WD-40.

Follow these steps to get rid of any stubborn sticky residue on the metal:

  1. Use a plastic scraper to remove as much of the sticker and residue as possible.
  2. Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto a clean rag.
  3. Gently wipe off residue, then repeat if necessary.
  4. When all residue is gone, use a clean cloth to wipe and dry the surface.

If the metal object is something sensitive, like a laptop, you’ll need to be a bit more careful and avoid any method that requires soaked sponges or rags.

Instead, try this gentler method like this with:

  1. Use a plastic scraper to gently remove as much of the sticker and residue as possible.
  2. Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth or paper towel, gently wipe away any stubborn residue, then repeat as needed.
  3. When the surface is clean, wipe it immediately with a dry cloth.

How to remove sticker residue from fabric

A man wearing a name tag sticker on his shirt that reads, 'Hello, my name is Mr. Know It All.'
Rob Byron/

Sticker residue on clothing usually comes from store size and price stickers. Although most of them tend to peel off quite easily, some might not. Other stickers, like name tags, may leave a residue on your favorite blouse.

Fortunately, removing sticker residue from fabric or clothing doesn’t require fancy laundry products. You will only need one household ingredient, then follow these simple steps:

  1. Carefully peel off as much of the sticker as you can, including the sticky bits. Just be careful not to pull or break the fibers of the material.
  2. Soak the item in a mixture of equal parts cold tap water and white vinegar.
  3. Wash it on a regular cycle, using the coldest water setting and your usual routine. detergent.

Removing sticker residue from anything can be really annoying and time consuming. Forget harsh chemicals and cleaners, you probably have everything you need under (or over) your sink. These DIY cleaning solutions will remove that gunk without damaging the surface underneath.

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