There’s very little that’s more frustrating than buying a beautiful, brand new mirror, painting, or household appliance, and finding that it has a big and unsightly sticker stuck right on the front of it. Or discovering that your kids have been going at it, willy-nilly, with the stickers they’re supposed to stick in those little sticker books. Labels, price tags, kids’ stickers, and operating instructions all have better places to be stuck than right on the front of something pretty! Well, that’s what we think, anyway.
Sadly, the world doesn’t always work the way we think it should, and very often we are faced with removing unsightly stickers from our beautiful new or special items. It’s frustrating, that’s true, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.
There are several effective ways to remove stickers and their ugly glue residue from our items, and we are here to share them with you.
What are You Removing the Sticker From?
Firstly, what sort of item you are removing a sticker from will determine which methods you are willing to use to remove it.
If, as mentioned above, you are trying to remove a sticker from a beautiful new purchase, a gem found in a dusty old second-hand store, or a family heirloom that’s been sitting around for years, you will want to treat it with the utmost care and avoid scratching or damaging the glass. If that is the case, read on, as the methods we will be listing below are perfectly suited for the job.
If, however, you are simply cleaning a bunch of glass jars for bottling your hot sauce, you probably don’t care too much if the glass isn’t factory perfect. In fact, a few minor scratches may even make it look a little more farmy and rustic. In this case, feel free to use all those abrasive sticker removal options, such as razor blades, washing soda, rubber erasers, scouring pads, and baking soda mixed with oil. These are all very effective methods of sticker removal but could leave scratch marks on the glass.
8 Ways to Safely Remove Stickers from Glass
Below are the 8 best ways we have found to remove stickers and their glue residue from your special glass items. All of these will work towards removing unsightly glue residue from the glass without leaving behind any sign that you have worked on it, or that the sticker was ever there.
Be aware, however, that removing stickers from glass is a patience game, so be prepared to spend a little time on this, if you want it done perfectly.
1. Soap and Water
This is the easiest, and probably most obvious, solution. Simply soak the item in hot, soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes, allowing the heat of the water, and the chemicals in the soap to break down the glue.
Once it has soaked, just remove the sticker with your fingers or a plastic scraper (an old credit card can also do the trick), and wipe the glass down to remove the last of the residue.
Be sure to use water that is hot, but not boiling, as boiling water could crack the glass. If the surface is too large to be submerged, saturate a large sponge or cloth with soapy water, and lay it over the sticker for 10 or 20 minutes.
If the item is electronic, and there is no way to submerge or wet it without getting water into the electronics, then try one of the below methods to remove the sticker.
2. Hot Air
If hot, soapy water didn’t quite do the trick, or if you are trying to clean a sticker off an electronic item, then this method may work better for you.
The easiest way to apply hot air to a glass item is with a hairdryer. Set your hairdryer to its hottest, and hold it just a few inches from the sticker. Blast the area with hot air for about 30 seconds, or until the glass is hot. Do not waste time after you turn the dryer off – the glass will cool down fast, and you need to remove the sticker while it is hot. Your best bet is to remove the sticker or glue residue with a plastic scraper, so you don’t burn your fingers.
While using this method, be careful how you hold the glass item, so that you don’t burn your fingers with the dryer. If you don’t own or have access to a hair dryer, and the item is small enough, and only made of glass, you could try putting it in the oven or microwave to heat up. This will take longer, however. It has been said that freezing works almost as well as heat, so you could try putting the item in the freezer overnight, or in a bath of ice water.
If you own a steam cleaner, or a clothing steamer, you could try using the combination of hot air and hot water. Simply blast the sticker with hot steam for a few minutes, making sure you don’t burn yourself, and when the sticker is nicely damp and hot, use a plastic scraper or a soft cloth to scrape it off.
Any high alcohol product, such as rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or even vodka, should be able to dissolve the adhesive in your annoying sticker and have it off in no time. Just soak a sponge or cloth in the alcohol, apply it to the sticker or glue residue, leave it for a few minutes, and then wipe it off. A plastic scraper may be needed for the last of the stubborn glue.
White vinegar is also a solvent and can be used in the same way as the rubbing alcohol above.
One of the most commonly recommended ways to remove stickers and their residue from glass is with grease. Most fats are natural solvents and will work well for dissolving the adhesive of your unwanted sticker.
The reason we haven’t listed this as our first option is that it can be almost as difficult to get rid of the grease on your glass once the sticker is gone, especially if you can’t submerge the item in soapy water.
Simply apply your chosen type of grease to the sticker, wait for a few minutes, and then rub it off with your fingers or a soft cloth, before washing the glass clean of grease. This category is an interesting one, as the types of grease or fat that can be used seem almost endless.
Here is a list of some suggestions we have heard of, and some of them are likely sitting in your kitchen or pantry right now.
- Common cooking oils
- Cooking spray
- All-natural peanut butter
- Essential oils
- Baby oil
Most commercial window cleaners contain some amount of mild solvent. Spray the window cleaner on the sticker or glue, allow it to soak through, and then wipe it away with a cloth and a scraper.
8. Goo Gone
This may seem like the most obvious answer, and if you have some lying around, and you’re trying to get a sticker off the front of a new microwave, for example, it just might be your best option.
Formulated to remove the worst goo from your beloved items, this chemical powerhouse will do the job perfectly, and leave no scratches or damage on your glass. But beware, it is very toxic, and if you are using it to remove stickers from anything your food might touch, or that your pet might lick, you will want to ensure it is completely washed off after the sticker is gone.
That item with the ugly glue stuck to its face, you know, the one you left sitting on the kitchen counter while you researched ways to get stickers off the glass? It’s waiting for you to come and save it from its sticky fate. And now you have all the answers, and several good solutions to try. Good luck!