How to Remove Sticky-Gooey-Icky Adhesive Labels
Sticky Labels and How to Remove Them
We all have struggled with it, that horrible gooey residue that is left when you try to remove a label. I recently installed a new sink and have never seen so many labels on a single product, they were stuck everywhere. I want to pass on some of the methods I used to rid the glue that is left behind when you remove an adhesive label be from glass or ceramic.
Some methods you may have used before, and others may be new to you. What works well for one item may not be suited to another. Experiment with what you already have at home before going out to purchase an over-priced cleaner.
Always check for a change of color to your jar, or other glass items by applying a small amount of the remover to a hidden spot, before using where it will show. If you are using the method below demonstrated in the video, check that your item can withstand boiling water. If you aren't sure, opted for a different method.
Removing a label from a jar or bottle to reuse the bottle, is a great idea. These are perfect for giving gifts, or for making your own pickles, chutneys, or jams.
Removing Adhesive From Glass
Perhaps you've bought a vase or pitcher and there are sticky labels on it. These obviously need to be removed before you can use it. For this type of item, try soaking it in warm water to start with. This will loosen the glue and the paper. Don't be too quick to take it out and start scraping with your fingernail. Let the warmth and the water work. If you're lucky, the label will float off. If this is the case, you will be left with very little residue on your glass item.
Sometimes it isn't possible to soak an object in a sink or bucket of water. For example, a window or large mirror, these will need to have water sponged onto them. You'll want to use a blotting technique and not scrub, this will just roll the wet paper off and leave you with glue smeared everywhere.
If the label is on a jar that came with a vacuum style lid, you can pour boiling water into the jar. The glue will melt as the glass heats up. The label will then easily come off.
Using Baby Oil to Remove Glue
If you have baby oil, this will work wonders. In fact, many of the items I am listing today are oil based. I prefer to use a cotton ball to apply it. I find it is still better to remove most of the label with warm water first, then go in with the baby oil on a cotton ball to remove the glue. The oil will loosen the glue and it will simply come away. It may be helpful to dab the oil on, leave for a few minutes and then return and wipe.
Often we can get overly aggressive when trying to remove a label. Remember, some glass is thin and as such you don't want to be exerting undue pressure. A trip to the emergency room is not on the agenda for today.
For the baby oil and other oil-based items, I am suggesting, be careful when you pick up your newly cleaned object because the oil will have made it slippery. Wash in warm soapy water to remove any remaining oil residue. If the object is too big to wash in a sink, use a bucket of soapy water and a sponge.
Use Mayonnaise to Remove Labels
Mayonnaise isn't just for your tuna sandwich! It is great for removing labels as well. As before, soaking the label before will aid in the removal. If you don't have time, or the inclination to soak it, apply a generous dollop of mayo. If the article is vertical this could prove difficult. If it is not possible to lay the item down, use the mayo sparingly, you don't want to be cleaning mayo stains from your carpet. Gently dab on with a paper towel and leave for 5-10 minutes. If you've ever made your own mayonnaise, you will know it is mostly oil, and this is why it works.
WD40 Lubricant Spray
Who doesn't have a can of this in their house? Okay perhaps the thin red straw has gone missing but that doesn't matter. If you have a can of WD-40 you can solve so many problems. I was once told,
"There are only two things you need in life! A can of WD-40 and duct tape. If it moves and it shouldn't use the duct tape, if it should move and doesn't use WD-40"
Spray the WD-40 on the label and leave for the required time, 10 minutes or so. Then continue as with the other methods of gently wiping away the glue residue.
Using Vinegar on Sticky Labels
This is different than the above products that are oil based. Vinegar, as you may remember from your high school chemistry class is an acid. This will burn the adhesive away. The smell isn't pleasant but it will do the trick. Again, I would use either a paper towel or cotton ball to apply. Use only clear vinegar as red wine vinegar could leave a mark.
Rubbing Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Surgical Spirit
This will melt the adhesive and with a bit of elbow grease you will roll that adhesive into little patches and can easily pick them off. This is easy to use on a cotton ball or a cotton pad. It does evaporate quickly so you may find you need to keep reapplying.
This can be purchased in a drug store. In the UK surgical spirit can be used. It may also be called isopropyl alcohol.
I have used this method successfully to remove the energy consumption label from my washing machine.
Nail Polish Remover to Melt Glue
If there are women in your house, you likely have a bottle of nail polish remover. This is acetone and is used to remove artificial fingernails. It melts the glue, and it can do the same to the adhesive used on your labels. Like rubbing alcohol, this is quick to evaporate, and you may require more than you think. Best applied with a cotton ball or cotton pad.
Use in a room that is well ventilated, or outside. It's also a good idea to protect the surrounding area to prevent damage.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
How do I remove the label from a new wash basin?
The easiest way will depend on a few factors. If this is this a glass type basin, try filling the basin with warm water. This will help loosen the glue. I wouldn't add boiling water to any type of basin. If the label is on the outside, and the basin is installed, a warm damp cloth will also help to remove the paper label.
The remaining glue can be removed with an oil-based product such as baby oil, or mayonnaise. Check that there will be no color change by experimenting with a small amount in a hidden area.Helpful 2
Have you tried a heat gun? Typical adhesives used for labels have a melt point between +165F to +200F. Hovering a heat gun over the label with back and forth motion will soften the adhesive. Once soft you can typically slowly pull the label off the surface. If residue is left then use rubbing alcohol to remove it.Helpful 1
© 2012 Mary Wickison