How To Get Rid of Stickers

By Subodh / June 15, 2011

Chances are if you are reading this you are in a very sticky situation. It can be quite a challenge to learn how to get rid of stickers without leaving paper backing or dried adhesive behind.

Introductory Advice

You could scrape off a sticker just using a sharp device. However, you risk scratching the surface. Almost always moisture has to be applied in order to more easily and thoroughly eliminate this mess.

Oftentimes if you let a sticker soak for awhile in water the adhesive will loosen. You may also be able to use a non-scratching scrubber to remove it. However, water alone may still not be enough of a substance to use for removing stickers.

Additional options besides water soaking are available for removing stickers (you would choose one of these options):

1. Use paint thinner –  First, gather some paint thinner, piece of cloth, metal spatula, and gloves. Then, put the gloves on to protect your hands, and apply a generous amount of pain thinner to a slightly-soaked cloth. It would be a good idea to test this on a hidden area of the same where the sticker is located just to make sure it works.

Afterward, run the dampened cloth over the leftover adhesive or sticker paper, and pry it off using a spatula. You might want to let the thinner and water solution sit on the sticker and/or adhesive area for a minute or two to allow it to soak in.

If the sticker paper and adhesive does not remove itself right away, you can apply more paint thinner. Continue to use the cloth and the scraping device (i.e. spatula) to remove the substance.

2. Use penetrating oil – You can find this substance at hardware stores or home improvement centers. The objective is to apply as much as necessary for use with loosening the sticker.

Unlike the paint thinner, the penetrating oil will slip between the surface and the adhesive. However, you have to work fast because oil absorbs rather quickly on some surfaces.

3. Use a heating gun, iron, or blow dryer –  The objective here is to remove the sticker by way of melting its adhesive. First put on some gloves and then if you use the heating gun set it to 100°C or even a bit higher.

Then, point the gun for a couple of minutes at the sticker. After the adhesive comes loose you can then scrape the sticker off. Keep repeating this action until all the adhesive is removed.

Be careful about doing this to a plastic or wood surface. It could damage a wall, toy, container, or other object. You can accomplish similar using a household iron or hair dryer as long as the heat is hot enough, but not too hot.

Some testing in a hidden location of a surface before you apply it to where the sticker is may be necessary. This way, you know the material used to make the object where the sticker lies is not going to melt or burn.

More Helpful Guidance

The use of a heat gun is probably the most expensive of all the above methods. However, it is the most effective. Using a hair dryer or household iron also is helpful, but just be careful because you may not know how hot the heat is that is emitted from one of these devices.