Remove the label, you rebel: Green cleaning tip to remove sticky residue

A removed label that has the words, "DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL" Sure you want to remove the label. It’s yours now, you can do what you want.
Image by David Lenker

So, it turns out you’re a bit of a rebel. Although it clearly says, “Do not remove this label”, you’re going to do it anyway. Good. But despite picking, peeling, soaking in hot water and scrubbing, the annoying sticky residue remains firmly attached to the item in question. If you leave it long enough, more gunk will stick to the exposed glue, turning it black. How irritating. What to do?

It’s understandable that companies that sell windows, appliances and everything else want to affix stickers to their products, but why do they have to use super strength glue?  It can be very difficult to remove, but we have found an easy and affordable method to do it using something you probably already have in your kitchen.

Easily erase the annoying remnants of labels using olive oil

Some glass or plastic items have labels that peel right off. (It’s rare, but it does happen.) However, other items need to be soaked in hot water to get the labels off – and even then the stubborn sticker residue remains. The simplest and greenest way to remove that pesky adhesive from plastic and glass is to use olive oil.

Green method to remove stickers is super easy, safe and all natural

Simply soak a piece of paper towel, toilet paper, cotton ball, or a rag in olive oil, and let it sit on the glue for a few minutes. Then gently rub it off. If necessary use the edge of a credit card to gently scrape it off. That’s it! Then use some eco-friendly dish soap and warm water to remove the oil and the item will be nice and clean.

When I first discovered this, I was amazed, but now have been using this method for years. Try it yourself to see how effective and easy it is.

If you’re still not convinced and need more evidence that it works, here are some links:

30 Helpful items to remove sticky adhesive goo

How to remove annoying sticky residue with one common household item

How to remove sticker residue (Bob Vila)

Keep in mind that this tip is for use on items such as plastic, glass, wood, or metal. If you need to get sticky residue off of a very porous item such as fabric, that’s a different matter. The oil may cause staining of the fabric that may be removed using dish soap. If in doubt, test in an inconspicuous area first.

Other green options for removing unwanted adhesives

From my research, apparently peanut butter or mayo also work wonders as green solutions to the glue residue problem, but they seem like messier options to me. Really, any type of oil will work.

However, I always have olive oil handy in my kitchen and in my cleaning kit, because not only is olive oil a healthy option for cooking, it’s also is wonderful for:

  • polishing fine woodwork (1 part vinegar + 2 parts olive oil, shake & spray on a cloth, polish & buff with a soft dry cloth)
  • cleaning stainless steel appliances (same method as above, the vinegar removes dirt, while the oil polishes and resists fingerprints and other marks)
  • removing greasy residue in the kitchen (or car grease, or paint from your hands)

Even more uses for olive oil

Olive oil can also be used to remove makeup, or to remove car grease or paint from your hair or hands. It’s a great thing to use to silence squeaky hinges or keep your tools rust-free. So versatile. So green. Try it.