How to Remove Stubborn Sticker Residue (Just Using What’s in Your Pantry)

The next time your new purchase, be it glassware, a toy, or electronics, is marred by a stubborn sticker, try one of these household remedies for getting the glue off.

By Bob Vila and Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Apr 28, 2023 3:49 PM

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Removing Sticker Residue from Glass Jar


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—and if you don’t want to buy a bottle of Goo Gone (view on Amazon)—you can remove sticker residue using 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.

1. Try Cooking Oil

Reach for the cooking oil next time you want to remove sticker residue.

  1. Dab any oil—olive, canola, sunflower, or another type—onto a paper towel.
  2. Lay that towel over the gunk that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn glue.
  3. 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.

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

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.

  1. Dampen a paper towel with the alcohol.
  2. Lay that towel over the sticky area, waiting a few minutes while the fluid dissolves the glue.
  3. To finish, remove sticker residue by rubbing away any lingering material with your fingers or a plastic scraper.

3. Opt for Diluted Vinegar

A mild acid like vinegar works well to remove sticker residue.

  1. Start by soaking a dishrag in a solution of white vinegar.
  2. Wrap the dishrag around the object, leaving the vinegar to perform its magic for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the cloth, and you should find that the glue has become considerably less sticky and a whole lot easier to remove.
How to Remove Sticker Residue


4. Apply Mayonnaise

Some gurus of gunk attest that, above all other methods, 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 like glass or plastic, as it’s liable to stain materials that are absorbent.