How to remove glue and sticky residue from wood

Read on to discover how to get sticky residue off wood, with some super easy tricks and tips.

Updated 29 August 2019

Room full of shiny wooden furniture after removing sticky residue from wood

Key steps 

To remove sticky residue from wood, try:

  • Vegetable oil, heat and warm soapy water
  • A few applications of furniture polish and a clean cloth
  • Cotton balls or swabs and nail polish remover
  • Mineral oil
  • Commercial adhesive-removal specifically for wood

Whether you’ve got glue residue from crafts on your wooden table or a sticky label residue on a new wooden ornament, knowing how to get sticky residue off wood can be tricky. It’s important to work gently when you’re trying to remove stickers from wood, so that you don’t damage the surface. Here, we’ll show you how to remove sticky residue from wooden objects and leave them beautifully smooth. 

 Understanding how to remove glue from wood is simpler than you think. Why not try using warm heat from a hair dryer to soften the glue, and simply wipe away?

How to remove sticky residue from wood

With these five methods, we will show you how to remove stickers from wood without damaging the surface. 

  1. Note: Before applying oils and polishes, always test them on an inconspicuous area of the wood to check for adverse reactions.
  2. The first method you could try is vegetable oil. Rub vegetable oil into the sticky residue and leave it to soak for around 2 hours. Use a warm hair dryer to loosen the residue with heat before wiping clean with warm soapy water.
  3. Another method uses furniture polish. Use a clean cloth to rub the area gently with furniture polish. You’ll probably need to do more than one application of polish to fully lift the sticky residue.
  4. A delicate use of nail polish remover can remove glue from wood. Start by applying a small amount to a cotton ball or swab. Rub it gently over the sticker or glue residue with circular motions, taking care not to apply the solution further than the residue patch. Then, wipe up with residue with a dry cloth. With a damp cloth, wipe down the surface afterwards to remove all traces of nail polish remover.
  5. You could also remove stickers from wood with mineral oil. Apply it directly to the affected area, then using a clean cloth, gently scrub at the residue. As with nail polish remover, wipe away all excess oil after removing the residue.
  6. If the four methods above don’t work, you can use a commercial adhesive-removal product. Always confirm that it is safe for use on wood, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

With these simple methods, you now know how to get sticky residue off wood easily to leave your wood furniture and ornaments looking fabulous. For tips on removing sticky residue from other surfaces around the home, click here.

Originally published 22 August 2019