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How to remove sticker residue

Removing sticker residue and sticky labels from clothes, walls, or glass is easy with these great tips on how to remove stickers!


Peeling a sticker from a wall

Key steps:

  1. Dried out sticker stains on clothing will be much harder to remove than fresh stains. Make sure the stain is completely removed before drying your garment.

  2. Do not use a sharp object to scrape stickers off of windows – you don’t want to scratch the glass!

  3. Hot soapy water is great for removing any sticker residue left behind on surfaces.

Kids often have a bit of a passion for stickers! They’re one of the simplest activities you can use to keep them occupied for hours. But turn your back for five minutes, and those stickers will be slapped onto all kinds of hidden surfaces. Of course, you’ll only discover this later, when their stickiness has had time to well and truly settle in on walls, windows, and your favourite clothes. If you think it’s about time you learnt how to remove sticker glue, whether from surfaces kids have decided to ‘decorate’ or just from jars, then follow our easy guidelines below.

You will need:

  • pencil eraser
  • hair dryer
  • nail brush
  • cloth
  • vegetable oil
  • hot water
  • washing up liquid
  • nail varnish remover


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How to remove sticky label residue from clothes

Removing sticker residue from clothes can actually be fairly simple:

  1. Choose a suitable detergent

    Check the care label of your garment before treating it – this means you can choose a suitable detergent and wash cycle. If your garment is wool, silk, lace, or any other delicate fabric, you’ll want to use a mild detergent and to treat the stain with a little extra care.

    If at all possible, don’t let a sticky stain dry or go through the tumble dryer – once it has dried out, it’ll be much harder to remove

    Step 1: Washing care label
  2. Rub detergent into the area

    Rub a good quality laundry detergent directly into the area. You can also splash out on a specialist adhesive stain remover, but check the label carefully to ensure that it is suitable for your fabric, as some powerful stain removers can be a little too strong for delicate fabrics.

    Always protect your hands and follow any instructions

    Step 2: Pouring laundry detergent onto sticker residue on clothing
  3. Wash the garment

    Wash the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wash at 40 degrees or below to ensure that the heat from the wash doesn’t set the stain.

    Step 3: A washing machine
  4. Re-treat if necessary

    If some of the residues persist, re-treat the area. Alternatively, you can try blotting rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain and washing again as normal. But always make sure you test any treatments on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure that your method and the material are compatible.

    Step 4: Pouring laundry detergent onto sticker residue on clothing

How to remove sticky residue from plastic, wood, and metal

Removing stickers from plastic, wood, and metal can be a little bit trickier if you don’t know the safest method to use. Chemical removing agents can damage these materials, and anything abrasive can leave marks or dents. Instead:

  1. Apply vegetable oil

    Apply vegetable oil to the area and let it soak in for a couple of hours.

    Step 1: Pouring vegetable oil on sticky residue on a wooden chopping board
  2. Soften the glue

    Use a warm (not hot) hair dryer to soften the glue, and wipe the residue off.

    Step 2: Softening glue on a wooden chopping board with a hair dryer
  3. Clean with hot soapy water

    Use hot soapy water and cloth for a final clean.

    Step 3: Washing a wooden chopping board with hot soapy water in a sink

How to remove stickers from walls

These days we often use large vinyl stickers to decorate our walls – but what if you want to take them off? Most manufacturers of wall decals have their own recommended method for removing their stickers, but if the packet instructions have long since disappeared, or a normal sticker has mysteriously made it’s way on to your walls, then you’ll need to:

  1. Remove the sticker

    Remove as much of the paper part of the sticker manually.

    Step 1: Peeling a sticker from a wall
  2. Remove excess residue

    Use a pencil eraser to rub away excess residue.

    Step 2: Wiping sticker residue from a wall with an eraser
  3. Clean the wall

    Use a cloth dampened with hot soapy water to get the wall totally clean.

    Step 3: Wiping a wall with a cloth

How to remove sticker glue from windows

Letting your kids put stickers on the inside of the windows of your car can seem like a fun idea at the time, but when you try to remove them (or they naturally deteriorate), their remains are very unsightly. Torn bits of sticker are not the best of accessories, but neither are scratched windows.

  1. Moisten the residue

    Moisten any paper residue with a damp cloth.

    Avoid the temptation to use something sharp to scrape the glue off – this could scratch the glass

    Step 1: Wiping sticker residue from a window
  2. Apply nail varnish remover

    Then, apply an acetone-based nail varnish remover and rub or roll the glue away from the glass.

    Step 2: Applying acetone to sticker residue on a window
  3. Wash with hot, soapy water

    Use hot soapy water to remove any remaining glue.

    Step 3: Washing a window with a sponge and soapy water

If the sticker has been stuck to the window for a long time, it will be harder to remove. If the above technique doesn’t do the job, you may have to resort to using something like a palette knife, but be very careful to protect your fingers and make sure you use it flat against the surface of the glass to avoid causing scratches.

How to remove sticky labels from jars

Glass jars are incredibly useful things to keep around the house, either as simple flower vases or as a useful way to keep hold of small objects, like spare beads and buttons. The easiest way to remove sticky labels on your jars is by following these steps:

  1. Soak the jars

    Plunge the jars straight into a big bowl of hot soapy water – use a good quality washing up liquid to make the lather.

    Step 1: Washing a label from a jar in hot soapy water
  2. Slide off the labels

    Leave them to soak for half an hour. By the time you come back to them, the glue should have dissolved, and the labels will slide off easily!

    Step 2: Peeling a label off a jar
  3. Remove the remaining residue

    If any residue remains, use neat vinegar and a microfibre cloth – or a small nail brush – to scrub the glass bottles clean.

    Step 3: Scrubbing sticker residue from a jar

Originally published