How To Clean Sticker Residue?

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Children adore stickers – and they can end up sneakily sticking to windows, walls, furniture, clothing, and basically anywhere that little child fingers can get into.

Some adults like stickers too, but you might find that you are regretting adhering one to your bumper or your laptop a few years down the line. 

Some companies even like stickers and can make things like reusing pasta sauce jars or taking those pesky bookshop stickers off of your favourite paperback without getting that sticky residue all over your fingers. 

Thankfully, you’ll be relieved to know that you can get this sticky residue off of the vast majority of materials – you just have to know what method to use. Read on to find all of our expert advice on how to remove any stickers from your home. 

How to Remove Sticker Residue: Our General Guide?

  • Step One: the first step that you need to undertake when removing a sticker from any object is that you remove it as much as possible using your fingers.

We suggest you peel away the sticker itself and then rub the sticker residue with your fingertips so that it forms little balls that you can pluck away and dispose of. Once you have done this as much as possible, move on to the next step. 

  • Step Two: if your item can go into a sink (i.e., a jar, a plastic toy, or an easily detachable piece of furniture) then put a few squirts of dish soap into hot water, and let the item soak in this solution for around 10 to 15 minutes. This should soften and loosen the remaining residue, which you can then scrape away with a credit card or plastic scraper. 
  • Step Three: if the item cannot go into your sink, or some residue still remains, you can whip out the peanut butter to strip away any leftover residue (yes, really!). Put a little peanut butter onto the remaining residue, and let it sit for as long as it takes to soften the residue (usually between 10 and 30 minutes.

Then, clean up both the leftover gunk and your peanut butter. If you don’t have any peanut butter to hand, you can use other fat and oil-loaded compounds, such as mayonnaise, butter, or cooking oils. 

  • Step Three (alternate): you can also use white vinegar to strip away the leftover sticky residue. Soak a disposable paper towel in warm white vinegar (or room temperature rubbing alcohol – please don’t try to heat this up, as it can be really dangerous). Lay your paper towel over the sticker residue, and leave this for around five minutes.

This will soften the sticker residue, and you should be able to scrape it away with a credit card. 

  • Step Three (alternate): you can also use WD-40 to effectively remove the residue. Spray it onto the sticker gunk, let it soak into the gunk for around 10 minutes, and then wipe it away with a paper towel, or a clean cloth. 

Now we have explained our general methods for removing sticker residue from items around your home, let’s look at an item that might need a little bit of extra care and attention. 

How to Remove Sticker Residue from Clothing/Fabric?

How to clean sticker residues

You might be thinking that there is no way to fix an item of clothing that has sticker residue on it – but thankfully for you, you won’t have to throw out your favourite top just because it has been sticker-ed by an adventurous toddler. 

Sticker residue that has found its way onto clothing can be easily removed, so long as the clothing item hasn’t been through the clothes dryer, as this can cement the residue and set it more firmly into the fabric. If you find it early, then we suggest you use white vinegar on the material (oils can stain fabric).

Here is what to try if you have accidentally put the garment through the dryer, there are a few courses of action that you can take 

  • For synthetics, we suggest that you put the item in the freezer for around an hour and a half, and when the residue has hardened, you pick off as much of the residue as you can right away. If there is any residue left after you have manually removed it with your fingers, then you can put a drop of dish soap and water on it, and scrub it with a microfiber cloth. Then, launder it, as usual, to finish the job (though we recommend air drying it, in case there is any gunk left over). 
  • For natural fibres, stripping agents like acetone and nail polish remover will work wonders to effectively remove sticker residue. Apply these compounds to a clean, lint-free cloth, and then gently rub it away. Launder (and then air dry) as you would do usually. 

Always bear in mind when it comes to fabrics that different things can respond differently to the same cleaning method or solution. Test all of the remedies in an inconspicuous area, so that if it does do any damage, it won’t ruin the whole garment. 

A Few More Tips for Removing Sticker Residue

For stubborn residue and delicate materials, there are a few things that you can do to help you remove any sticker residue without damaging your home. Use these at your own discretion, and always spot-test any solutions!

  • Duct Tape – the saviour of many domestic problems, duct tape can fix a myriad of issues in the home. If there is stubborn sticker residue on a hard material, then you can use duct tape to peel it away. Just press it gently into the residue, and then peel it back carefully. You might have to do this a few times.
  • Hairdryer – this bathroom staple can help you remove any sticky residue from your home, as the heat will loosen the adhesive, making it easier to scrape off. 
  • Rubbing eraser – this can help you to agitate the adhesive off of the surface, and will roll the residue away. 
  • Commercial cleaners – there are a few commercial cleaners that can be used to remove sticker residue from items in your home. Products like Goo Gone (which can be purchased for pretty cheap from Walmart, and other similar retailers). Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions, which generally want you to apply the product to the residue, let it sit for a while, and then scrape it away, or wipe it down with a cloth. 
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Final Thoughts

Having stickers stuck all over your house needn’t be the end of the world – there are plenty of ways that you can remove residue, using cupboard staples, and household essentials that you are guaranteed to have. 

We suggest that you use duct tape, oil, or peanut butter on solids (such as glass, plastic, or wood), and use white vinegar, acetone, or even freeze it for more delicate fabric.

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