How To Get Sticker Residue Off Anything—From Picture Frames To Jars And More

Removing a price sticker to find sticky residue is the worst

So you found the perfect new mirror. It’s one-of-a-kind, with a burnished gold frame and an immaculately shiny surface; you can already picture it adorning your mantle. Best of all, it’s on sale! You swaddle the mirror in blankets, lay it across the back seat, and drive it home. You think your excitement knows no bounds—until you realize that the little orange sticker, brazenly advertising the reduced price, was placed directly on the mirrored surface. Once you peel the sticker off, it’s bound to leave an unsightly residue. Is there a way, you wonder, to remove the sticker (and its gummy residue) without damaging the mirror’s surface? Well, there sure is.

 Woman cleaning the mirror surface

Oscar Wong/Getty

Sticker residue is notoriously hard to remove—soap and water are rarely successful in fully stripping away the gummy adhesive. In the past, the task of removing sticker residue from picture frames, jars, or any other surface has left us feeling frustrated, but we’ve discovered that there are plenty of smart ways to remove sticker residue. Best of all, most of these methods use products you probably already have around the house. We’re talking WD-40, vinegar, and even a hair dryer. With these smart tips, you’ll never be befuddled by sticker residue again.

How To Remove Sticker Residue By Scraping 

First, you can try removing the residue without any additional products. Use a plastic scraper, such as the edge of an old gift card, to scrape the adhesive off. This method is particularly successful for removing sticker residue from plastic or wood, but is not the best solution when working with glass, as you run the risk of scratching the surface.

How To Remove Sticker Residue By Heating

One of the most brilliant hacks for removing sticker residue lives in your bathroom cabinet. If you don’t want to treat a surface with chemicals, try heating the sticker residue with a hair dryer. The hot air loosens the adhesive, allowing it to peel off easily and cleanly. Simply aim the hot air at the sticker for 5-10 seconds and scrape to remove.

How To Remove Sticker Reside By Soaking

Hot Water

Hot water can be effective at removing sticker residue—all it requires is a bit of patience. As a first step, try soaking a paper towel in hot water and covering the sticker residue for 3-5 minutes. This should make the residue more pliable and easier to scrape off.

If the sticker residue is particularly tough, you may want to turn to more potent substances to remove the gunk. Soaking the sticker residue, then wiping it clean is an effective method for stripping back the residue—and you can use any number of products you have around the house. Note that using chemicals runs the risk of damaging the product’s surface, so you should always test the treatment on an inconspicuous area to ensure that there are no undesired consequences.

Rubbing Alcohol

One of the best ways to remove sticker residue is with rubbing alcohol, a substance that’s safe to use on most surfaces (such as glass, wood, and plastic). Soak a paper towel or rag in rubbing alcohol and lay it over the surface of the sticker residue for several minutes. This will soften the residue and allow you to rub it off easily.

White Vinegar

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand or don’t want to use the harsh chemical, a similar approach can be taken with vinegar. White vinegar has plenty of household uses—such as removing lingering odors from your laundry—and as it turns out, this pantry staple is also particularly adept at removing sticker residue. Soak a paper towel in warm white vinegar, then lay it over the desired spot for 3-5 minutes before rubbing off the residue.

How To Remove Sticker Residue with WD-40

You probably keep WD-40 stocked in your cleaning cabinet to grease door hinges, but it turns out that this mighty product can also be used for other purposes, like removing oil stains from clothes and removing the sticker residue from all types of surfaces. Simply spray the solution onto the sticker residue and let it sit for several minutes, then wipe the residue away.

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