10 Ways to Remove Stickers & Sticker Residue

10 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 10 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. Goo Gone

Goo Gone is a powerful adhesive remover and is safe for most surfaces. When removing stickers or sticker residue from a surface, simply spray the surface with Goo Gone and let sit until the residue has absorbed the solution. From there, simply wipe or scrub the surface with a wet towel to be sure all remnants are cleaned away properly. 


4. 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.


5. 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.


6. 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.


7. 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.)


8. WD-40

WD-40 is a fast-acting penetrant that breaks down the rust bonds that hold parts together that are stuck. While WD-40 has many uses, a little spritz is a frictionless way to remove stickers and their residue. Spray the lubricant on the sticker or sticker residue and let it sit for several minutes. Once the WD-40 has soaked, use a rag to wipe away residue and clean the surface.


9. Plastic Scraper

While this a more labor intensive option, using a plastic scraper can be the least harmful option to removing a sticker from a surface. Consider applying warm water, rubbing alcohol, or even peanut butter (the oils can break down the sticker adhesive) to help loosen the sticker from the surface, and then remove the residue and leftover bits with a plastic scraper.


10. Hot Water & Dish Soap

Depending on the size of the surface that the sticker is stuck to, you can remove stickers by immersing them in hot water, either in a sink or bin, and adding a couple of drops of dish soap to the hot water. Allowing the sticker to soak until the residue from the sticker softens will help make it easier to remove.


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.



FAQs on How to Remove Stickers

Can hand sanitizer remove sticker residue?

Yes, using hand sanitizer can remove sticker residue. Due to its high alcohol content, hand sanitizer can easily break down adhesive and dissolve sticker residue from surfaces. Hand sanitizer is also safe to use on most surfaces, including wood, metal, and glass.

Can vinegar remove sticker residue?

If you don’t mind the smell, white vinegar can be used to remove adhesive and residue from a sticker. Use a paper towel soaked in vinegar and cover the sticky surface. Once the vinegar has had a few minutes to soak, scape away the sticker remnants and wipe down with a clean damp cloth.

How do you remove stickers easily?

Stickers can easily be removed by using a few different solutions. Some ways to remove sticker residue include white vinegar, Goo Gone, WD-40, peanut butter, and even a hair dryer.

How do you remove sticker residue without chemicals?

Sticker residue can be removed with a variety of natural solutions including white vinegar, soapy water, peanut butter, mayo, or cooking oil. Simply apply whichever natural method of your choosing and let it sit on the residue for a few minutes. Once it has a chance to mingle with the sticker adhesive, use a clean damp paper towel to remove the remnants.

Can soap remove sticker residue?

Yes! Dish soap can be used to remove sticker residue by filling your kitchen sink with hot water, adding a few drops of dish soap to the water and letting the item with sticker residue soak in the soapy solution.


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  • Nashira Edmiston