6 Ways to Remove Stickers & Sticker Residue

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6 Ways to Remove Stickers & Sticker Residue

Everyone knows that annoying feeling. You just tried to remove a sticker — only to notice a bunch of sticky residue left over. Now, you’re left digging at residue with your fingernails, most likely destroying the surface of the object. And what, now you’ve gotta wash your hands? And you know it will take way too long to get this gunk out from underneath your fingernails. Plus, even if you really scratch it out, you’re bound to miss at least a spot or two. 

What is that residue crap, anyway? There’s gotta be a better way! 

Don’t worry, we got you. At Stomp, we know our stickers — and we know how to handle sticker residue. We don’t want our customers to end up in a sticky situation; that’s not good for anyone involved.

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Removable Vs. Permanent Stickers 

Before we get into the best ways to remove stickers, let’s break down an important distinction. What is the difference between a permanent sticker and a removable sticker? Well, the name makes it pretty obvious, but in case you still have questions, we’ll quote ourselves here:

“The permanent sticker has a pressure-sensitive adhesive that does not allow removal from a surface it is applied to without causing damage to the sticker or leaving some sticky residue (dependent on the length of time on a given surface). The removable sticker has a low-tack adhesive that can be removed quickly and cleanly from a surface.”

So, in other words, a permanent sticker is tough to remove, while a removable sticker is much easier. And there are specific uses for each type of sticker.

 

When to Use Removable Vinyl Stickers

Removable vinyl stickers are best used in situations where you’re thinking about removing something without leaving behind a sticky residue. This is the go-to material choice for standard stickers such as:

  • Food Packaging
  • Home Organization
  • Electronic Stickers
  • Appliance Stickers
  • Calendar Stickers
  • Name Tags
  • Windows

 

When to Use Permanent Stickers

Meanwhile, if you want to slap a label or distinguisher on something and ensure that it will last, permanent vinyl stickers are the way to go. It’s the best material for applying to items like the following: 

  • Work Gear
  • Clothing Tags
  • Storefronts 
  • Watercrafts
  • Doors
  • Industrial Machinery
  • Waste Bins

 

Top 6 Sticker Removal Strategies

 

Bathroom wall with stickers and graffiti.

 

Whether you want to remove stickers from glass, plastic, wood, electronics, or metal, there are a variety of sticker removal strategies that will get the job done. Don’t find yourself picking away and breaking nails. Work smarter, not harder. Be gone, sticker residue! 

These six sticker removal strategies will make your surface feel fresh again — ripe and ready for slapping on a new customized sticker. These are our favorite sticker residue removal strategies.

 

1. White Vinegar

White vinegar is excellent for cleaning in general, and that’s no different when removing stickers and sticker residue. 


The process is simple. Soak a cloth with white vinegar, cover the residue area with the rag, soak it for about half an hour, and the sticker should gently wipe away clean. If you don’t get it all, rinse and repeat until it’s all gone.

 

2. Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, Nail Polish Remover, or Clear, Unflavored Vodka

Alcohol-based products are very effective at dissolving sticker adhesive. Once you’ve decided on the type of alcohol, soak a rag or paper towel in it. Then, cover the sticker or sticker residue area for about 30 minutes, then wipe it away.


Similar to the white vinegar sticker removal strategy, if you can’t get the sticker entirely removed, rinse and repeat until clean.

 

3. Hair Dryer

For stickers that are a little more stubborn (such as bumper stickers), heat from a hair dryer is a very effective and easy way to remove them. Just turn your hair dryer on low and point it toward the sticker. Be patient, and after about 30 seconds or so, it should start to peel off. 


Important note: If you decide to use heat to remove a sticker, make sure the surface is heat-friendly. The last thing we want is for you to fry your laptop because you decided to remove an old Black Flag sticker.

 

4. Peanut Butter or Mayonnaise

This one might seem kind of funny — and that’s because it is. But it works! 


Similar to the old trick to remove gum from hair, food products do work for sticker removal. Take either peanut butter (we’d recommend smooth, for obvious reasons) or mayonnaise, slather it on the sticker you want to remove and wait between 30 and 60 minutes. The oily, high-fat content of both will cause the sticker to loosen, and you should be able to wipe it off cleanly.

 

5. Baking Soda and Coconut Oil

Here’s another solution to sticky situations that you can find in your kitchen cupboards. Combine a few teaspoons of baking soda with a few drops of coconut oil — or any oil, but coconut is the best — and that will form a thick paste. 


Apply the paste to the sticker and let it sit for about an hour as the oil saturates it, loosening the adhesive. Then, use a sponge to scrub away the paste. The sticker should easily peel off.

 

6. Lemon Essential Oil

Essential oil, not just for soothing smells! It’s also perfect for removing pesky sticker residue. In fact, all citrus oils are very effective at sticker removal due to their degreasing properties.


Simply add a few drops of lemon essential oil directly on the sticker, let it sit for 10 minutes, and wipe the sticker away. (Note: If your sticker is on plastic, use a different method, as essential oils can damage plastic.)

 

A hand removing sticker skin with stickers on a laptop.

 

Should You Choose Removable Vinyl Stickers or Permanent Vinyl Stickers? 

Creating customized stickers is a dynamic and fun way to express your brand voice. But whether you choose removable or permanent vinyl stickers depends on your goals. What are you doing with them? Looking to brand your latest craft brew creation? Or are you handing them out as marketing materials? 


Only you know what’s best for your brand. Team up with your friends here at STOMP and create the best customized stickers on the market.

 

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  • Nashira Edmiston