How To Remove Labels & Sticker Residue
Whether you need to remove a stubborn price tag or repurpose a jar or bottle, removing sticky labels can be a headache. Below, we list the four best ways to remove sticker residue. These tips work for glass, metal, plastic, porcelain, ceramic, and a whole slew of other surface types. And don't worry, they're good for in-tact labels as well as partially removed ones.
Be sure to test the method on a small area first, to assess any reactions between the removal method and your object.
Methods by Removal Type
These are the four methods we recommend for removing your labels without damaging your object.
Method 1: Nail Polish Remover & Rubbing Alcohol
Apply a generous amount of nail polish remover to a cotton ball, cloth, or paper towel. Apply the cloth and let sit until you can see the remover soaking in. Begin to peel off the label, use a sponge to scrub any residue left on the surface if necessary.
Method 2: Water
Fill your sink or container with warm-to-hot water. Mix in a half scoop of OxiClean® or dish detergent for extra strength. Submerge your item and let it soak. Different labels and adhesive strengths will require various soaking times, you may want to let it soak overnight. When you're ready, peel one corner of the label and the rest should follow cleanly. Use a wet sponge to scrub any residual residue from the surface.
If you're using this method to remove a label from an empty bottle, it may help to also fill the bottle with warm water.
Method 3: Hair Dryer
Run the hair dryer on warm over the label in 1-minute intervals, the heat should loosen the adhesive. Continue moving the hair dryer over the label until it peels off completely. Use a wet sponge to scrub any residual residue from the surface.
Method 4: Vinegar
Warm white vinegar in the microwave or on the stovetop, without bringing it to a boil. Submerge your item in the warm liquid, if size permits. If not, soak a cloth in the liquid and drape it over the item. Let the white vinegar soak into the label for 15-30 minutes. Remove your item and begin to peel one corner of the label, the rest should follow. Use a wet sponge to scrub any residual residue from the surface.
Method 5: Label Removal Sprays & Chemicals
Label removal sprays like Goo Gone can work great when it comes to removing stubborn residue. Spray Goo Gone either the residue itself then lay a cloth/paper towel over the top. Let it soak in for 15-30 minutes. Remove your item and begin to peel from the corners. Use a wet sponge to scrub any residual residue from the surface.
- Peanut butter
- Pencil erasers
- Razor blade*
Methods by Surface Type
Surface 1: Glass
Glass is among the most common labeled surfaces. The easiest way to remove labels from glass is to soak your object in water, no dish soap necessary. This works especially well for wine/beer/water bottles, picture frame glass, food/jam jars, and more.
Surface 2: Metal & Tin
With textured or shiny surfaces, soaking your sticker or label under a wet rag will be your best bet. Do your best to affix the wet cloth to your surface and let it sit until the label facesheet and adhesive have weakened.
Surface 3: Plastic
Plastic can be especially difficult for labels to adhere to, so manufacturers need to utilize a stronger alternative. Knowing that, the stronger removal methods will work best for labels on plastic. This includes the nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or hair dryer. They all attack the adhesive and make it easier to remove. Common plastic containers are food jars/storage containers, household goods, and children's toys.
Surface 4: Ceramic
Most companies use paper labels on ceramics. This means the paper facesheet will be more prone to tearing, therein leaving you with lots of little pieces and a stick surface. Use vinegar to tackle the whole label or leftover adhesive stuck on mugs, plates, and other new housewares.
Surface 4: Porcelain
Paper labels are most frequently used on porcelain objects. They're easy to peel at first, but will likely tear into little pieces. The vinegar method will help remove the leftover adhesive so you can get any last remnants off.
Use these tips to tackle sticky labels again and again. If you're planning to relabel and repurpose your newly blank jars and wine bottles as decoration, organizers, or fun party favors, try our removable labels. Made with removable adhesive, you can apply them to most surfaces and remove or reposition them with ease.
*If you must try this alternative method, please use with caution.