There’s nothing more annoying than removing a sticker from a new purchase and finding it’s left an ugly residue behind. Not only does adhesive residue look unsightly, it quickly becomes a magnet for dust and dirt. Whether you’ve got sticker residue on wood, glass, plastic, or metal, our cleaning Pros know how to remove it — without causing damage. Find out how to remove sticker residue from any surface now!
Pro Tip: Keep these organic and natural cleaners around to tackle any cleaning job!
How to remove sticky residue from glass
What is it with manufacturers putting stickers on glass? From how to remove sticker residue from windows to cell phones, to even your car windshield! Getting rid of the adhesive can be a royal pain, but our Pros know how to remove sticker residue from glass.
How to remove adhesive from glass
The good news is, glass is one of the easiest surfaces to remove annoying sticker residue. The easiest method is to soak the sticker with soapy water. You can submerge the whole glass object in the sink if it can all get wet. This works really well with drinkware and ornaments. Simply leave the water and soap to work their magic and the sticker remains and residue will peel right off.
To remove glass from doors, windows, and other large objects that can’t be easily submerged, fill a container with warm, soapy water and soak a sponge. Hold the sponge against the sticker residue and let it absorb until the residue comes loose. To prevent causing water damage to walls or flooring, place old towels underneath the glass, and use paper towels to absorb run-off before it reaches the floor.
If the glass is on a delicate surface like your cell phone, first check if the phone is water resistant. (Android phones can download an app to test their water resistance. Apple users can check the support documents for their device.) If it is, you can get it a little bit wet without doing any harm.
- First, turn off your phone
- Dampen a microfiber cloth with clean water and hold it against the sticker residue
- Allow the water to absorb into the residue
- Leave for a minute to work, then try to rub the residue to remove it
- Repeat as necessary, avoiding getting the phone too wet
- Dry the phone thoroughly before turning back on
Pro Tip: If the residue is very stubborn, try using a plastic scraper (like these pan scrapers!) to gently remove it without damaging the glass.
Now you know how to remove sticker residue on glass!
How to remove sticker residue from plastic
Plastic is also an easy surface to remove sticker residue from, because it can also get wet without getting damaged. Follow the steps above to soak the residue with warm, soapy water if possible.
If the plastic item won’t easily submerge, you can also learn how to remove adhesive from plastic using the following solutions:
- Baking soda and vegetable oil
To remove adhesive from all kinds of plastic surfaces, make a paste from baking soda and a little vegetable oil. Apply the paste to the sticker and leave for five minutes, before wiping clean. This cleaning solution is non-toxic and shouldn’t harm the color or finish of plastic, although if you’re unsure, always spot-check an area first
Yes, really! It’s the oil in peanut butter that gets the job done, so if you’re fresh out of cooking oil, try PB instead. Just put a dab of peanut butter on the plastic and leave for five minutes, then wash clean.
If you don’t want to deal with removing an oily residue once you’ve removed the adhesive, try white vinegar instead. Dampen a microfiber cloth or paper towel with vinegar, and press onto the residue. Allow it to absorb for 5 minutes then rub the adhesive to remove it.
Pro Tip: Got other plastics you need to clean? Learn how to clean plastic shower curtains now!
How to remove sticky tape residue from plastic
Sticky tape is super convenient, but it can be a pain to remove the residue! The good news is, it comes right off with nail polish remover (acetone). Add a little acetone to a cotton swab and wipe it across the residue. Repeat several times until all the adhesive has gone. Then use a clean cloth and fresh water to remove any traces of the acetone and prevent it from discoloring the plastic.
How to remove adhesive from metal
One of the best ways to remove sticker residue from metal is to use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. Apply a small amount of alcohol to the sticker mark and let it absorb. Use a cotton swab or microfiber cloth pressed against the residue to apply it without making a mess. Leave for five minutes, and then rub the residue or use a plastic scraper to lift the remainder.
This method will work on any metal surface. Just wipe it down with a clean cloth and fresh water afterward to remove any trace of the alcohol.
Other good cleaners to remove adhesive from metal include:
- Hairspray — look for one that contains alcohol
- Hairdryer — if you don’t want to get the metal wet, use heat to break down the adhesive
- Mineral oil — use just a small amount because it will spread everywhere! Remove the oily residue with a little dish soap and water
How to remove sticker residue from stainless steel
One Pro tip for removing adhesive marks from stainless steel is to use WD-40. This is a strong solvent that quickly breaks down sticker residue. Spray a little onto the mark, leave for a minute, and then use a plastic scraper to remove the adhesive residue.
How to remove adhesive from wood
Depending on the type of finish, it can be tricky to remove sticker residue from wood. Here are a few options:
How to remove sticker residue from wood without damaging paint or varnish
Only use as much water as necessary to dampen the residue, don’t soak it, and always dry the area thoroughly afterward.
Yes, use one adhesive to remove another! Apply the sticky side of the tape to the residue, and carefully lift it free.
Toothpaste is an amazing cleaner, and it works on more than just your teeth! Avoid using a gel toothpaste. Instead, look for one that contains baking soda. Apply a little to the residue and immediately wipe it away. With a little pressure, the adhesive should come free.
How to remove adhesive from unfinished wood
If the residue is on bare wood, avoid using anything oil-based that can absorb into the timber and affect the finish (or any future paint or vanish you apply). Instead, use a small amount of acetone or rubbing alcohol, applied with a cotton swab. Use just enough to dampen the residue, leave for a few minutes, and then remove. You can also use a fine grit sandpaper to shift the adhesive.
How to get sticker residue off clothes
There’s nothing more irritating than purchasing a new outfit and finding the store stickers have left an unsightly residue behind. These marks attract dirt and lint in seconds, leaving you with a discolored patch on your new outfit! But the good news is, they can be removed.
Your first option is to launder the new clothes before you wear them. (Here’s why you should always do that anyway!) Laundering with detergent and water is usually enough to remove sticker residue and adhesive.
For spot-cleaning, avoid any oil-based cleaners. That means no peanut butter or vegetable oil! Oils will absorb into the fabric and can leave a permanent mark behind. Instead, use white vinegar or a little heat to break down the adhesive and remove the mark.
Pro Tip: Got other marks on your clothes? Learn how to remove chocolate stains now!
Removing sticker residue from all kinds of surfaces isn’t difficult. Just follow our Pros’ guide to the right kinds of cleaning solutions to remove adhesive from any material. Get your glass, plastic, metal, wood, and fabric shining like new — without any annoying residue left behind!