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These days, each and every time you buy something new, the product seems to come with a sticker on it. Usually, that sticker comes off easily enough, but the residue it leaves behind can be a real pain to remove. If you’re tired of wasting time trying to clean bits of glue off your recent purchases, try one of the following tricks. Each involves a common household staple you probably already have in your kitchen, and all are bound to be more effective than your fingernail alone.
Reach for the cooking oil next time you want to remove sticker residue. Dab any oil—olive, canola, sunflower, or another type—onto a paper towel, then lay that towel over the gunk that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn glue. Finally, remove the towel and rub away the sticker residue with your fingers or a plastic scraper (it should come off rather easily). A degree of caution is necessary with this method, because many oils can stain absorbent materials. Concerned? Test a drop of your chosen oil on an inconspicuous part of the object. Proceed only if the oil leaves no trace.
Rubbing alcohol is another option for removing sticker residue. (In a pinch, you could even use vodka!) The process is no different from the one you’d follow if you were using cooking oil. Simply dampen a paper towel with the alcohol, lay that towel over the sticky area, then wait a few minutes while the fluid dissolves the glue. Finish by rubbing away the remaining residue with your fingers or a plastic scraper.
When diluted with water, a mild acid like vinegar works well to remove sticker residue. Soak a dishrag in the solution, then wrap the cloth around the object, leaving the vinegar to perform its magic for a few minutes. Remove the cloth, and you should find that the glue has become considerably less sticky.
Some gurus of gunk attest that above all other methods applying mayonnaise ranks as the ultimate way to remove sticker residue. Given that mayonnaise combines two of the ingredients mentioned elsewhere in this discussion (oil and vinegar), it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that mayonnaise would prove effective. Its use, however, should be limited to nonporous surfaces, as it’s liable to stain materials that are absorbent.