Whether it’s glue, tar, or gum, getting a sticky substance off the surfaces in and around your home can be impossible without the proper supplies. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep an effective adhesive remover in your cabinet.
To get the results you want, you have to decide on the appropriate type of adhesive remover. What formula will work best on the substances and surfaces that you want to clean? Considering the number of options on the market, sorting through your choices can be a challenge.
Tired of that bumper sticker you put on your car years ago? Adhesive remover can make it easy to remove unwanted stickers from your car.
What is adhesive remover?
Adhesive remover is a chemical cleaning product created specifically for removing residues and films that are too sticky or thick to peel off manually. It works by soaking the residue, turning it into a liquid or paste form that can then be wiped or scraped off the surface.
Most adhesive removers are designed for specific tasks, so one formula might be better than another for your needs depending on the type of residue you want to remove and the surface you need to remove it from.
Adhesive remover uses
Depending on the formula you choose, an adhesive remover can be used to clean a variety of messes, such as the following:
Tape residue (clear, masking, and packaging)
Sticker and label adhesives
Epoxy, urethane, and silicone adhesives
How to use adhesive remover
The steps for using an adhesive remover are usually the same no matter what type offormula you buy, but you should always check the label instructions to determine the proper steps.
In general, start by testing the remover on a small, hidden area of the surface to make sure that the formula won’t damage the material. If the adhesive remover is safe to use, apply it only to the area where there is adhesive residue.
Allow the adhesive remover to sit for the time recommended on the label, and then rub it away with a rag, cloth, or scraper. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the entire surface once you’re done to make sure there is no residue from either the adhesive remover or the problem substance.
Adhesive removers work better with cloths or sponges. I don’t recommend using paper towels because they lack of absorbency.
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When we test an adhesive remover, we evaluate the contents of the package to determine how much surface space it can cover. Some manufacturers make products for large work areas, which appeals to consumers with a large job or multiple tasks to accomplish.
Versatility is important to many consumers when choosing an adhesive remover. We determine if each remover we consider is suitable for specific types of adhesives or if it’s a multi-purpose product.
We evaluate the different types of removers when we test — liquid, wipes, spray, and paste. We compare and contrast their effectiveness at removing different types of adhesives from various surfaces.
Solvent, soy, and citrus are the three types of bases used to make adhesive removers. We think about which variety a customer may prefer. Solvent-based formulas are great for hard-to-remove adhesives but have a high chemical content. Those made with soy or citrus are reasonably effective with fewer chemicals.
Adhesive removers are typically easy to use, but we read the labels of the products we consider to check for specific instructions that will improve results.
We want to know if a remover is suitable for use on different surface materials, including stone, wood, plastic, glass, and vinyl.
Safety is a key factor of our testing. We check to see if a product requires ample ventilation and use of protective equipment for optimal safety.
Some adhesive removers with harsh chemicals can irritate skin. We check mild formulas with natural ingredients to ensure that they will safely remove adhesive from skin.
Whether a product is suitable for removing tape and the sticky residue it leaves behind is a consideration of our testing. Because tape is a common adhesive, a product that’s effective at removing it appeals to many consumers.
We test to find out how much effort an adhesive remover requires to do its job. Some options require a bit of rubbing, which may be a deal-breaker for consumers with painful hand issues.
Adhesive remover features to consider
While all adhesive removers essentially work the same way, different ones use different ingredients to help soften and break down residues. The three main types are citrus-based removers, soy-based removers, and solvent-based removers. Each one can be effective, but you might prefer one formula over another based on your cleaning preferences.
Not all adhesive removers are designed to be used on all sticky or stubborn residues. Before purchasing a remover, check that it can actually handle the mess you’re dealing with. While all can handle most basic tape and adhesive residues, if you’re trying to clean up oil, candle wax, or tar, you should verify that an adhesive remover can handle it before purchasing.
Citrus-based removers: For eco-minded homeowners, citrus-based adhesive removers can be an ideal option. That’s because they contain approximately 80% citrus fruit extracts and only 20% chemicals such as propane, chloride, and sulfur. These adhesive removers come in either a paste or spray form. They work well for most of the substances that adhesive removers traditionally clean up and can also handle mildew and grime in a shower or bathtub. Citrus-based adhesive removers usually have a mild, almost pleasant scent, making them a good option if you’re sensitive to odors. They also rinse away easily with water.
Soy-based removers: These adhesive removers are another effective choice if you prefer a more environmentally friendly option. They contain approximately 60% soybean oil and 40% water. Because the formula lacks chemicals such as xylene, it usually needs to sit on the mess longer to effectively lift off the residue. Soy-based adhesive removers work well on a variety of adhesives and other sticky substances, and homeowners appreciate that they easily rinse away with water.
Solvent-based removers: For particularly stubborn messes, solvent-based adhesive removers are the most effective option because they tend to be stronger than citrus- or soy-based formulas. These contain strong chemicals, including xylene, ethylbenzene, P naphtha, VM, benzene, and toluene, so they’re extremely flammable and must be used in a well-ventilated area. It’s usually best to save solvent-based adhesive removers as a last resort when citrus- and soy-based formulas don’t work. If you’re using a solvent-based formula for a smaller mess, it should be diluted with water.
After choosing the type of adhesive remover, it’s important to consider the formula. Most come in a liquid, spray, paste, or wipe form.
Liquids and sprays are easy to apply, though sprays can sometimes cover a larger area than you intend. With a liquid, you simply dip a rag or cotton swab in the adhesive remover and apply it to the residue in question.
Paste adhesive removers are applied in a similar manner to liquid formulas, but they tend to be messier and are often harder to spread across the surface. Adhesive removers that come in wipe form are usually designed for use on the skin.
Protect your skin when using adhesive remover. Wearing things like gloves, long sleeves, and goggles will help keep you safe.
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In addition to being effective for the particular messes you need to clean up, check that a specific adhesive remover is suitable for use on the surface in question. Most formulas can work on a variety of surfaces, including the following:
Some may also be effective on car exteriors, as well as fabrics like upholstery, clothing, sheets, and blankets. Always check the label on the adhesive remover first, so you don’t damage the surface or material.
When using the liquid adhesive remover, always place the cap of the product back on securely. This helps prevent spills.
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Adhesive remover prices
Adhesive remover prices vary based on the formula, type, and quantity. In most cases, you’ll pay between $5 and $55.
Citrus-based adhesive removers range from $5 to $40.
Soy-based adhesive removers range from $10 to $44.
Solvent-based adhesive removers range from $15 to $55.
Use adhesive remover in a well-ventilated area. Just to be safe, do this even if you’re using an adhesive remover with mainly natural ingredients.
Place the item you’re cleaning on newspaper or plastic sheeting. This will protect other surfaces from the adhesive remover.
Always wear rubber or latex gloves when using adhesive remover. This will help prevent skin irritation.
- Spot test first. While an adhesive remover may be marketed as safe for a certain material or surface, it’s always a good idea to do a spot test first. Apply a small amount of the remover on a hidden area to see if there’s any reaction before using the product on a larger, more visible area.
Some adhesive removers are effective at removing scuff marks from floors.
Q. Are adhesive removers safe to use?
A. While many adhesive removers contain strong chemicals, they’re usually safe to use if you follow the instructions carefully. Always work in a well-ventilated area, and only apply the remover to substances and surfaces for which it’s approved. Do a spot test before using the adhesive remover even if the surface is listed as workable, just in case you’re mistaken about what the material is.
Q. Can I use any adhesive remover on my skin?
A. Not all adhesive removers are meant to be used on the skin. Those with harsh chemicals can cause redness and other irritation if applied to the body. Look for an adhesive remover that contains mostly natural ingredients and is specifically marketed as safe for the skin.
Q. What’s the best way to store adhesive remover?
A. Adhesive removers can evaporate if exposed to air and sunlight, so make sure the lid or cap is tightly secured. Keep the remover in a cool, dark spot to help it last as long as possible.
Vegetable or canola oil can work wonders, as can peanut butter or mayonnaise. Spread it on, let it soak into the residue for about an hour, then wipe it away. For a tougher clean, try rubbing alcohol or vodka. Let it fully permeate the unwanted residue, then rub away completely with a cloth.Is WD-40 A good adhesive remover? ›
WD-40 can also loosen the hold of strong adhesives such as super glue. So, if you drop some glue on the floor or bench, spray a little WD-40. In no time you'll be able to wipe the glob right of your bench surface.What adhesive remover won't damage paint? ›
3M Adhesive Remover lets you quickly remove adhesive, attachment tape, tar and wax from your vehicle's painted surfaces without harmful scraping tools or abrasives. This easy-to-use blend of solvents won't harm most automotive paint surfaces and also works on glass or vinyl. It can also be used during body repair.Does Dawn dish soap remove adhesive? ›
Hot water + dish soap
Add a couple drops of dish soap such as Dawn to hot water, either in your sink or a bucket. Submerge the glass item (if possible) in the soapy water. Soak until the sticker softens. Scrape away the remaining sticker and adhesive with a plastic scraper.
White vinegar is a safe and natural cleaner, deodorizer, and adhesive remover you can use all over the house. Soak a paper towel in vinegar and cover the sticky spot. Let the vinegar soak for a few minutes to break down the adhesive, then scrape it away, and wipe the surface with a damp cloth.Will Magic Eraser remove adhesive? ›
Clean Magic Eraser, you can conquer sticker removal and power through even the stickiest of sticker adhesives.What dissolves sticky adhesive? ›
- Toothpaste. Toothpaste is an unlikely solution to get rid of sticky residue, but it works. ...
- Peanut butter. ...
- Acetone (nail polish remover) ...
- Alcohol (rubbing alcohol, vodka, some hairsprays) ...
- Hairdryer. ...
- Mineral oil. ...
- Vinegar. ...
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is especially good on super glue, and it's a safe way to clean up most glue spills on metal. Soak a cotton ball with the hydrogen peroxide and press it onto the glue until it softens. Use fresh cotton balls as needed to blot up any glue residue.
We recommend the Goo Gone adhesive remover as our top pick because it's both safe and effective. Those who need a stronger solvent-based product will appreciate the powerful performance of our upgrade pick, the Un-Du adhesive remover.Is olive oil a good adhesive remover? ›
Any kind of cooking oil will work - olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Submerge the plastic in cooking oil for 12-24 hours. The oil will soak into the adhesive and make it easier to remove sticker residue. Use baking soda and cooking oil or water.
Stir together ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and 6 drops of citrus essential oil in a container with a lid.Does WD 40 peel paint? ›
In addition, you can use the spray to remove regular grime, tar and paint (if, say, a car sideswipes you). Best of all, it won't ruin your vehicle's own paint job in the process.Is rubbing alcohol a good adhesive remover? ›
If you want to know how to get sticker residue off plastic, wood, or glass, rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent that's safe for most surfaces. Vodka is a good substitute. Wet a paper towel or clean rag with rubbing alcohol, and rub the residue to lift it off.Is mineral spirits a good adhesive remover? ›
Mineral spirits are commonly used to clean tools and machine parts. Because they tend to be less flammable and less toxic, artists favor mineral spirits over turpentine. They also are effective in removing adhesive residue from subfloors you may want to revive.How do you remove heavy duty adhesive? ›
- You'll need to soften the adhesive or caulk. To do this, heat the adhesive with an electric heat gun or blow dryer. ...
- Then scrape the adhesive off using a putty knife, or a flat edge.
- Wipe your surface with mineral spirits to remove any remaining residue.
Remove bumper stickers: Because mayonnaise will break down adhesive, it works really well on bumper stickers you want to remove from your car. Apply mayonnaise on top of the sticker, let it sit for around 15-20 minutes before peeling off.Will baking soda and vinegar remove adhesive? ›
— First, soak a cloth or paper towel in white vinegar before laying it across the sticky area. — Then, leave it to sit for a few minutes to soften the sticky residue before wiping off with a clean, damp cloth. In fact, you can do everyday cleaning with white vinegar combined with baking soda.What removes sticky residue naturally? ›
Apply a small amount of baby oil to the sticker residue and let it sit for 20 minutes. Soak a cotton ball or rag with baby oil and use it to gently rub the surface until the residue is gone. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth or paper towel.How do you remove adhesive without Googone? ›
Wet a paper towel or rag with rubbing alcohol and rub where the adhesive is. If the sticker is stubborn, lay an alcohol soaked rag on the area and let sit for several minutes.Where should you not use Magic Eraser? ›
- Don't Use Them Dry. ...
- Don't Use Them to Polish Your Car (Or Any Delicately Painted Surface) ...
- Don't Use Them Without Gloves. ...
- Don't Use Them to Clean Delicate Countertops. ...
- Don't Use Them to Wipe Down Nonstick Pots and Pans. ...
- Don't Try to Brighten Stainless Steel. ...
- Don't Use Them on Anything Without Spot Testing First.
WD-40. Use a rag with a bit of texture to it — for example, terry cloth as opposed to an old t-shirt — and soak a small area of it with WD-40, then scrub at the residue. If there is a lot of residue, you can spray the residue and let it sit for just a minute before scrubbing.Does Windex remove adhesive? ›
Luckily, there is an easy way to remove stickers and adhesive residue using nothing more than a can of Windex. Just spray the affected area and let the Windex sit for a few minutes. Then, use a credit card or other sharp object to scrape away the sticker.Does Goo Gone remove sticky residue? ›
Goo Gone Original works on stickers, candle wax, permanent marker, crayon, glue, gum, tape residue, adhesive, paint, tree sap, tar and much, much more.Can you use nail polish remover as an adhesive remover? ›
If looking to remove sticky residue in a pinch from plastic, glass, or wood surfaces, nail polish remover is a super quick and easy solution. All you'll need is some non-acetone* nail polish remover and cotton balls (or paper towels - whatever you have on hand!).Does hand sanitizer get rid of adhesive? ›
This office or household staple will not only kill germs but also remove stubborn 3M adhesive residues.
Start by washing your hands with warm water and soap, this can help soften the glue making it easier to remove. Then use an oil-based solution such as cooking oil or Vaseline, rub it into the affected areas, or get someone else to do it for you if you're unable to.What adhesive remover is stronger than Goo Gone? ›
3M adhesive remover is amazing stuff. It beats Goo Gone by a wide margin, I recently used it to remove PETG residue from my 3D printer bed and that stuff is gnarly. 3M 38983 General Purpose Adhesive Remover - 12 oz.What is the best oil to remove adhesive from skin? ›
For solvent based adhesives, gently rub petroleum jelly, or vegetable or mineral oil onto the affected skin. Note that you may need to reapply in order to get the adhesive off.Will lemon juice remove adhesive? ›
Combine baking soda, Lemon, and water in a small bowl or dish. Apply mixture to sticky surface and let soak for 2–5 minutes. Use a damp towel or cleansing wipe to remove adhesive easily.Can lemon juice remove glue? ›
A more natural substitute for acetone is lemon juice. The acid will help cut through the glue bonds. Dip an old toothbrush in freshly squeezed lemon juice and scrub the area affected with glue. The glue should begin to flake and can be safely scraped away with a fingernail or plastic edge.
Goo Gone Goo & Adhesive Remover, 2 fl. oz. Bottles.Which is better Goo Gone or goo off? ›
A: Goo gone is a light to regular-duty cleaner that will remove sticky residue and things like that. Goof Off is heavy duty. Care must be taken to test the item you're using it on to be sure that the cleaner doesn't damage it. This would be more likely on plastics, etc.What is the main ingredient in Goo Gone? ›
The ingredients in Goo Gone® Adhesive Remover include petroleum distillates (hydrocarbon), solvents, limonene (hydrocarbon), and orange sweet extract.What is the easiest paint to wipe off? ›
"It is the easiest paint to wipe clean and is great for all areas of the home, including bathrooms and kitchens," she says. "I only use a gloss or semi-gloss paint on base, case, trim, and cabinetry."
There are many different types of plastic, but there are two kinds that you should avoid using WD-40 on—polycarbonate and clear polystyrene plastic. Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic that is commonly used in greenhouses, and polystyrene is typically used for styrofoam and soft drink lids among other items.Does vinegar make paint peel? ›
Vinegar softens up paint bonds, making them easier to scrape off. This method doesn't remove paint entirely but is a more natural, non-toxic solution to using a paint stripper.What adhesive does not dissolve in alcohol? ›
Specially formulated Master Bond epoxy adhesives, sealants and coatings are designed to provide exceptional protection against alcohol exposure. These solvent-free compounds exhibit high bond strength, feature easy application and provide reliable cost effective solutions for many critical requirements.Is Goo Gone rubbing alcohol? ›
Goo Gone Bandage & Adhesive Remover is alcohol free and sting free. It makes removing bandages, medical tape, athletic tape and adhesive residue from your skin or surfaces easier.Is acetone a good adhesive remover? ›
Acetone is a useful organic solvent which breaks down glue and sticky residues it comes into contact with, effectively dissolving them and leaving the surface free of stickiness. You may need to wash the surface with soapy water or rub it gently with a toothbrush afterwards.Is paint thinner a good adhesive remover? ›
A: All you need is a bit of mineral spirits (often labeled "paint thinner") and a soft rag. Dampen the rag with the spirits (damp, not dripping) and rub the adhesive residue until it dissolves. This is usually easy while the adhesive is fairly fresh.
First off, I want to clarify that you shouldn't use mineral spirits every single time you use a paintbrush. Latex and acrylic paints should be cleaned up with water. Mineral spirits should only be used if you're working with an oil-based product, like traditional wood stain, or oil-based polyurethane.Can you use rubbing alcohol instead of mineral spirits? ›
If you're in a pinch and don't have any mineral spirits on hand, you can try using rubbing alcohol as a substitute. However, keep in mind that rubbing alcohol is more volatile than mineral spirits, so it will evaporate more quickly and isn't as effective at dissolving paint and varnish.
“Acetone is a powerful solvent that will quickly remove just about any sticky adhesive residue,” Peters explains. Simply apply a few drops to a cotton ball and rub off the sticker.Does rubbing alcohol remove adhesive? ›
This product is effective in removing glue residues left behind from labels as common adhesives used are soluble in alcohol. As a result of soaking the label in rubbing alcohol, the glue is completely dissolved and can easily be wiped away.Can olive oil remove adhesive? ›
Dab any type of kitchen cooking oil—olive, canola or sunflower—onto a paper towel. Then lay the paper towel over the residue that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn glue. Finally, remove the towel and rub away the sticker residue with another clean paper towel.What works just as well as Goo Gone? ›
DIY Goo Gone
You can made homemade Goo Gone using three ingredients. Stir together 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/8 cup vegetable oil, and 3 drops of citrus essential oils. Apply this Goo Gone alternative and let sit, then wash off.
- Unfinished wood.
- Unsealed stone.
- Unpainted walls (drywall)
- Faux stainless steel.
Do not use on silk, leather, suede, rubber, faux stainless steel, drywall, unfinished wood surfaces, unsealed stone. For especially dried on glue, use a putty knife or Goo Gone Sticker Lifter after the liquid has soaked in.