5 Ways to Remove Sticker Residue Off Surfaces, According to Cleaning Pros

published Feb 19, 2023
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Hand holding small brown bottle/jar with label coming off, sticky, hard-to-remove
Credit: Rebeca Bolanos/Shutterstock

Whether you’re dealing with label adhesive on a glass jar or you have a kid who really likes stickers, figuring out how to remove sticker residue off home surfaces can be challenging. The good news? This all-too-common job doesn’t have to be a headache. The right tools — ones that might already be in your pantry — and a bit of elbow grease can go a long way. 

Below, how to get sticker residue off with ingredients you probably already have on hand, according to cleaning experts. 

Method 1: Mineral oil and vinegar

A combination of two common pantry ingredients is sure to remove sticky residue from any surface in your home. After applying mineral oil (or any cheap cooking oil) to the affected area, simply scrub it with a brush. Then, spray the sticky spot with white vinegar and buff it with a dry towel. Lastly, wash away any lingering oil and vinegar with dish soap before drying it again.

Method 2: WD-40

WD-40 isn’t just for staving off squeaky hinges — it’s also a great adhesive remover. Cleaning expert Allen Rathey, director of the Indoor Health Council, recommends spraying the solvent generously to soak the sticky area. Allow it to sit and work its magic for a few minutes, then use a dry rag or a plastic scraper to remove the adhesive. 

Method 3: Goo-Gone

Orange oil such as Goo Gone also works wonders on sticky residue, says Rathey. Just follow the same steps as above, soaking the area and then scraping the adhesive away. If you’re in a pinch, lemon or orange essential oil may do the trick. 

Method 4: Rubbing alcohol

Kathy Cohoon, operations manager with residential cleaning company Two Maids and a Mop, recommends soaking a cotton ball or pad in rubbing alcohol, then applying it to the sticker until it’s fully saturated. Repeat twice and, using a clean razor blade or plastic scraper, slowly peel off the sticker. Glass cleaner, Cohoon says, can help remove any additional residue when you’re finished.

Method 5: Nail polish remover, oil, and baking soda

The safest all-surface option is mixing baking soda mixed with cooking oil, says Steve Evans, owner of the house-cleaning service Memphis Maids. After applying your solution to the sticky spot and letting it sit for a few minutes, scrub it off with a plastic scraper. You can also try adding a few drops of acetone nail polish remover but avoid this harsh ingredient on plastic. (Evans says acetone eats away at plastic.)

Whatever you end up using, always be sure to spot-test on a small, hidden area first to avoid damage!