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How to remove sticker residue quickly with these household items

How to remove sticker residue
Sticker residue from sticky label (Image credit: Shutterstock)

From adhesive decor and children’s stickers to manufacturer labels, these can all leave behind a gooey mess. No matter how hard you try, you’ll need to know how to remove sticker residue to get those surfaces clean again. 

Be it glass, plastic or wood, knowing how to remove sticker residue carefully can be tricky. Unlike knowing how to remove candle wax from wood, one thing you shouldn’t do is to scrape off sticker residue with a blunt knife or metal object. This may scratch the surface and cause even more damage. If necessary, use a plastic scraper or credit card to gently scrape off any excess gunk.  

Luckily, there are safe methods to remove sticker residue quickly with these everyday household items. The best part is, it won’t even take long, and will leave your surfaces mark free. So if you have kids who love getting creative with stickers or simply want to remove sticky labels fuss-free, here’s how to remove sticker residue for good!

How to remove sticker residue with these household items

What you'll need

Gloves (optional)

Masking tape

Baking soda

Distilled white vinegar

Dishwashing soap

Cloths

Paper towels

Rubbing alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover)

Cooking oil

— First, gently remove excess sticker or residue with a plastic scraper or credit card on the surface. Avoid using metal scissors or a knife as this will scratch or damage the surface. 

— Then wrap masking tape around your fingers, press it against the surface and pull up. This should help lift off the sticky residue that will go directly onto the masking tape. Wipe away any excess residue with a damp cloth.

Removing sticker label

Removing sticker label (Image credit: Shutterstock)

1. How to remove sticker residue with soapy water

— For glass bottles or items, soak in warm water with a few drops of dish soap. Then, leave to soak for about 30 minutes, and the warm water should break down the sticky residue, making it easier to rub off. 

— In the case of glass windows or surfaces, simply dampen a cloth with warm soapy water and rub the surface until the residue disintegrates and comes off.

Soapy water and cloth

Soapy water and cloth (Image credit: Shutterstock)

2. How to remove sticker residue with distilled white vinegar

— First, soak a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar before laying it across the sticky area. 

—  Then, leave it to sit for a few minutes to soften the sticky residue before wiping off with a clean, damp cloth. 

In fact, you can do everyday cleaning with white vinegar combined with baking soda. Just remember not to apply on marble, stone, aluminum or cast iron as this can cause corrosion to set in. Check this out if you want to find out what makes baking soda and vinegar so good at cleaning and get your home sparkling. 

Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar (Image credit: Shutterstock)

3. How to remove sticker residue with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover

— First, wet a section of cloth or paper towel with alcohol and rub the surface until the residue lifts off. 

— If you have a stubborn stain that won’t come off, dampen the cloth with alcohol and leave on top of the area for a few minutes. This will help to soften the residue before using the same cloth to rub off any excess gunk.

Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol are effective solvents that are safe for tackling most surfaces. But if you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, vodka is also a good alternative!

Rubbing alcohol on paper towel

Rubbing alcohol on paper towel (Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. How to remove sticker residue with cooking oil and baking soda

— First, mix two tablespoons of cooking oil to three tablespoons of baking soda to form a paste. 

— Next, rub the paste onto the sticker residue using your finger (ideally wearing kitchen gloves). The combined ingredients from the baking soda and oil will help to soften and lift off the sticker residue without scratching the surface. 

— Repeat until the sticker residue has come off before wiping away the excess paste with a cloth or paper towel.

Cooking oil in a bowl

Cooking oil in a bowl (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Of course, if all else fails you can always buy a good adhesive remover. We can recommend Goo Gone Original Liquid ($9, Amazon) to help remove your sticky messes in no time.

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!