10 Ways to Remove Sticker Residue From Plastic

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We have all been there before. So you’ve just purchased a new toy for your kids, a new plastic Tupperware set, or maybe even a set of plastic tumblers and dishes to use out on the deck that won’t break when someone has one glass of wine too many or the dog knocks the plate with the burger out of their hand. There’s just one problem,

You are trying to slowly and carefully remove the sticker in one piece so that you can avoid the dreaded sticker residue. You almost get it…and then, nope, it tears. Now you have that ugly sticky residue, and it is a pain to remove. Sound familiar? I thought so.

Have no fear! I’ve compiled 10 ways to remove sticker residue from plastic, so that the next time you find yourself trying to frivolously scrape it away, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to make it quick and painless.

One annoying problem, ten clever solutions

Removing sticker residue is a pretty straightforward process and one that multiple items you have in your pantry and linen closet can quickly assist with. You may be surprised by some of the things you can use! 

As annoying as that sticker residue is, it does not stand a chance with all of the cleaning methods available to you. We will go through ten of the easiest below.

1. Peanut butter

Yes, that’s right. All you need is some creamy peanut butter and a clean rag. Follow the below steps:

  1. Dab peanut butter on the sticker and any residue. Let sit until sticker residue softens.
  2. Use a clean rag to remove the residue and leftover peanut butter.

2. Olive or canola oil

A little cooking oil can go a long way. Grab a plastic knife and a clean rag and efficiently take care of that residue. Follow the below steps:

  1. Apply oil to the sticker residue. Give a few minutes so the oil can soften the residue.
  2. Use fingers or a plastic knife to scrape the residue off.
  3. Remove excess oil with a clean rag.

3. Rubbing alcohol

This staple of the medicine closet is an incredibly effective solvent. All you need is a paper towel. Follow the steps below:

  1. Soak a paper towel in rubbing alcohol and lay on the sticker residue.
  2. Rub the sticker residue to remove. If the sticker is stubborn, you can leave the paper towel for several minutes before removing it.

4. White vinegar

There is not much that vinegar can’t do. To remove sticker residue with it, you just need vinegar and a paper towel or rag. Follow the below steps:

  1. Soak a small rag or paper towel in vinegar and place on the sticker residue. Let sit for a few minutes to soften the sticky stuff.
  2. Remove the residue and vinegar with a clean cloth.

5. WD-40

This is used to stop that annoying squeak of your door hinges; this stuff can also help remove the sticker residue from plastic. Always follow manufacturer instructions on the can. A clean rag is all you need. Follow the steps below.

  1. Spray WD-40 on the spot with sticker residue and let sit for several minutes.
  2. Use a clean rag to remove excess product and residue.

6. Rubber eraser

These little guys work wonders with how to remove sticker residue from plastic. Plus, they are the only tool you need for this method. You can use the eraser on the end of a pencil or a rectangular rubber eraser. There is one simple step below:

  1. Use the eraser to roll the residue off the plastic item.

7. Hairdryer

Another quick and easy way to remove sticker residue. You’ll need a plastic scraper or knife for this one. Follow the steps below:

  1. Turn on the hairdryer and when the air is nice and hot, let the air loosen up the residue.
  2. Use a plastic knife or scraper to remove the residue. If needed, wipe with a damp cloth after.

8. Plastic Card

Before you throw away that old gift card, think about saving it as the perfect residue remover. Other cards can work as well, but gift cards are my personal favorite. This one is easy. Just:

  1. Use the edge of the card to safely scrape and remove the residue from the plastic item. 

9. Mayonnaise

It’s not just for sandwiches and potato salad anymore. Mayo is a method people swear by, and most people have a jar in their refrigerator. A word of caution, do not use it on porous surfaces as it will stain. Follow the steps below:

  1. Apply mayonnaise to the area with sticker residue and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Use a plastic scraper or knife to scrape off.
  3. Wipe off remaining residue and mayo with a clean damp cloth.

10. Goo Gone

You can always count on the original sticker residue remover when all else fails. This is powerful stuff, so make sure to always follow the manufacturer guidelines on the bottle. The application is similar to the other methods above, and you will just need a clean rag. Follow the steps below:

  1. Apply Goo Gone to the sticker residue and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Wipe with a clean rag to remove excess product and the sticker residue.

*Note: The Goo Gone Sticker Lifter linked above also includes a specialized flat head tool for removing stickers and their residue, especially useful for stubborn residue stuck plastic.

Now you know how to remove sticker residue from plastic

The above ten methods to clean sticker residue are easy, and most require two products at the most to make sure your plastic is residue-free. Just a warning though, these methods for removing sticker residue are not meant for fabric, as many of the products can leave stains. Something to keep in mind as you tackle this infamous problem.

Now that you’re in the know for the easy ways to remove sticker residue from plastic, you can begin ripping those stickers right off! The heck with carefully trying to remove them in one piece. Unless you are like me and enjoy the challenge of trying to anyway.

Until there is a day that they invent a better solution than all those annoying stickers on toys, household items, and other items, it is calming to know you can easily remove them and not suffer the embarrassment of leaving a price sticker on your stuff. Sticker residue has met its match in you!