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How to remove sticker glue

Stickers can leave unsightly marks on clothing and surfaces – find out how to get rid of that annoying residue with this step-by-step guide.


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how to remove sticker residue

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, just follow our easy guidelines below.

Use a basic pencil eraser to scrub off the last few scraps of sticker residue on flat hard surfaces – their shape makes them particularly ideal for lifting small deposits of glue. Remember, however, that the sooner you deal with a sticker stain, the better – once the mark has dried in (accumulating dirt and grime in the process) you’ll find it much tougher to get rid of!

How to remove sticky label residue from clothes

Removing sticker residue from clothes can actually be fairly simple:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Rub a good quality detergent (like OMO) 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. When dealing with any cleaning product, always protect your hands and follow the instructions on the label.

  4. Re-wash the garment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Our guide on how to interpret wash care symbols can help you with this. Wash at 40 degrees or below to ensure that the heat from the wash doesn’t set the stain.

  5. If some of the residue persists, re-treat the area. Alternatively, you can try blotting surgical spirit 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.

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

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

  3. Soak a cloth in some warm water & Sunlight Dish soap and wipe down to get the wall totally clean.

How to remove sticky labels 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 ‘decals’ have their own recommended method for removing their stickers to follow, but if the packet instructions have long since disappeared, you’ll need to:

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

  2. Use a pencil eraser to rub away excess residue.

  3. Soak a cloth in some warm water & Sunlight Dish soap and wipe down to get the wall totally clean.

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, so:

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

  2. Moisten any paper residue with a damp cloth.

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

  4. Soak a cloth in some warm water & Sunlight Dish soap and use to remove the residue

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

  2. 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!

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

Once you know how to remove sticker residue easily, you can use this skill to reuse jars and tins around your house – as well as taking care of kids’ sticker-related mishaps. Give it a go!

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Originally published