How to Remove Sticker Residue From Any Surface

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Whether it’s a label, price tag, or kids’ stickers, stickers are great to put on letters, walls, cupboards, and projects. Or if you’re bored, you can stick a couple on your arm.

But they’re a humongous pain to get rid of—we waste a lot of time scraping their residue off the walls and other surfaces, resulting in half-torn stickers. Want easy ways to get rid of the sticker residue? Read on, and may the force be with you…in your arm strength to get rid of that stickiness!


How to Remove Sticker Residue From Any Surface


There’s nothing more annoying than trying to peel off a sticker from glass and ending up with sticky fingers and a half-peeled sticker. Just submerge the glass in water in the sink, along with a cup of washing soda. Soak the glass for a few minutes and the residue will come right off.

For other glass components like the back of a car or vase, simply take a cotton swab and soak it in rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, or nail polish remover. Swipe the swab over the affected residual area and let it soak overnight. Wash the component off with lukewarm water the next day and voila! Scrape it off using a razor blade or just peel it off.

It’s now sparkly clean and ready to use! Remember, if you’re removing residue off a window, don’t use anything sharp. Only use a cotton cloth to avoid scratches on your window!

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Don’t ruin your beautiful wooden table with lots of water trying to get rid of one pesky sticker. Just soak a cloth in white vinegar and place the cloth over the sticky area. Wait for 5-10 minutes and peel the sticker off the wood. It will smoothly peel off, leaving no residue behind.

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There’s another way. Dry the residue using a hairdryer on warm heat. This will melt the glue, allowing easier cleanup. Then soak a cotton swab in the oil and blot the residue. Wait for 20-30 minutes before cleaning up the area with a clean cloth and warm water as per usual. 


Because metal is a relatively tougher material to work with due to its sensitivity, there are two ways to remove residue. Because obviously, one isn’t enough.

One way is to scrape the adhesive gently with the edge of your credit card. Don’t scrape too hard unless you’re willing to break it to smithereens! Then use the WD- 40 spray and scrub scrub scrub. The residue will come right out.

Or, mix one tablespoon of coconut oil and baking soda each and apply it to the adhesive. Wait for a few minutes before wiping it away with a wet cloth. 


Take a cotton swab and soak it in vegetable oil for a couple of hours. If you’re a mom, cotton swabs should be a norm to have in your cabinet to clean the ears of your lovable brats running around the house. Use a hairdryer to melt the glue, making sure the hairdryer is not blowing hot air, only warm.

Now for the last round of cleaning, use hot soapy water and a soft, clean cloth. Bingo! Peel of the sticker. It’s usually easier to remove residue from plastic than other materials since the plastic itself is made of smooth, breakable material.

Don’t use nail polish remover on plastic, since the strong chemicals in the remover will eat through the plastic. Keep in mind, we use plastic regularly to store food and items.


Usually, for items other than clothes, you should wait for the residue or stickiness to dry out before removing it. However, it’s the opposite of clothes. The longer you let the stickiness stay, the worse the clothes get.

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Depending on the garment (whether it’s silk, wool, cotton, etc.) choose your detergent and wash cycle accordingly. Apply the detergent to the sticky area and rub it. 

Make sure the detergent isn’t too strong and that you don’t rub too hard. This could cause white spots or lighten of the garment color. Wash the clothing item according to the manufacturer’s instructions including the temperature of the water, and the type of wash cycle.

If the residue remains stubborn, apply some rubbing alcohol directly to the area and then wash it. Make sure the garment can withstand the alcohol by testing it in another area and looking at the result. 


For obvious reasons, an extra wet cloth soaked in soapy water is not a good idea to get rid of the residue on a laptop. So, use a soft cloth and dab it lightly in water making sure all the excess water is wrung out.

Rub it over the residue. If this doesn’t work, put a tiny amount of mineral oil or citrus-based acid on the cloth and then rub the area. Make sure the oil or acid doesn’t cause any discoloration to the laptop by checking to test in a small area of the laptop.

Duct Tape Residue

Try using lighter fluid or WD-40 and blot it over the sticky area. Wait for a couple of minutes, and then clean the area with water and cloth as you normally would. If all else fails, try rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or talcum powder. The talcum powder will dry the stickiness making it easier to scrape off. 

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Tar Residue

Tar is a bit difficult to remove due to its sticky superpowers but not impossible. Scrape off the tar with a blunt-edged tool, like a butter knife or a paint-stirring stick. Then apply a thick, generous layer of butter or oil to the tar.

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Wait for about 30-50 minutes and apply more if needed. Scrape off the rest of the tar, then clean the area as per usual with a clean cloth and warm, soapy water. 

Extra Tips

    • While removing residue on plastic, do not use nail polish remover, since it will eat through the plastic.
    • If there is residue on your clothes, immediately apply detergent, and don’t let the clothes sit too long if they’re sticky.
    • For materials other than clothes, wait for the residue to dry before attempting to peel it off.
    • The residue will dry faster if you use a hairdryer (on warm mode not hot) to melt the glue, instead of air drying the residue.

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Written by Pulkit D

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