Introduction: Homemade Goo Gone

Picture of Homemade Goo Gone

Goo Gone is one of those products I almost always have on hand. I worked selling used books for years and years and I don't think I'll ever be able to stand having stickers on anything ever again. I spent so much of my life peeling them off it feels wrong to leave them on now.

But as much as I love removing stickers, I hate using the Goo Gone. It smells pretty atrocious and it's notoriously tough to get rid of the greasy feeling it leaves behind.

This homemade Goo Gone gets the job done, is much less messy to use, and is super easy to wash off! Pretty excited to not have to buy the stinky stuff anymore :D

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

The coconut oil version:

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part melted coconut oil (I used refined coconut oil here)
  • sweet orange oil (optional)

The vegetable oil/mineral oil/etc. version:

  • 2 parts baking soda
  • 1 part oil
  • sweet orange oil (optional)

You essentially just need enough soda to make a paste so it clings to the item and doesn't run down. The baking soda also acts as an abrasive to help remove residue.

Coconut oil is the easiest way to get the paste consistency right, but it's also possible with oils that are liquid at room temperature. Just keep adding baking soda until it's right. :)

Sweet orange essential oil is a great addition. It will scent it nicely - like Goo Gone without that weird petroleum smell.

Step 2: Mix It Together

Picture of Mix It Together

Mix together the baking soda and oil until it's nicely combined. I used a little less than 1/2 cup of each. The baking soda will be pretty resistant, but it'll come together in a minute or so.

Mix in the sweet orange essential oil last if you're using it - I used just a few drops for my batch.

The mixture will be very runny at first, but as the coconut oil begins to harden it will form a paste.

Make sure to store it at room temperature to keep the coconut oil from going rock hard. :)

Step 3: Apply the Goo Gone

Picture of Apply the Goo Gone

For best results, peel away as much of the top layer of the label as you can. I've included photos of the bottles I cleaned so you can see how they looked before!

Apply a thick layer to the whole area and let sit for a few minutes. I found it worked best to massage it in and warm up the oil a little. You should be able to peel away the leftover paper quite easily at this point!

I scrubbed at the adhesive right after applying and it started to come off, so that's pretty impressive. :D

Step 4: Wash It Off

Picture of Wash It Off

Once the mixture's had a chance to work, wash your container with soap and warm water to remove the extra oil and baking soda and any sticker residue.

For particularly stubborn labels, you might need to apply it twice - but that's sometimes how normal Goo Gone works, too. :P


yrralguthrie (author)2015-02-03


Acute Health Effects:
From MSDS:Inhalation: Not
considered a hazard. Eye Contact: Contact is non-irritating. Skin
Contact: Ordinary contact with normal individuals is not considered
hazardous. Ingestion: If swallowed, may cause a laxative effect. Not
considered hazardous. Medical Conditions Generally Aggravated by
Exposure: Contact may aggravate dermatitis in sensitive individuals.
Chronic Health Effects:
From MSDS:No chronic effects listed.
The ingredients in this product are not identified as carcinogens by NTP, IARC and OSHA.
mapski99 (author)yrralguthrie2017-07-30

Goo Gone contains Petroleum distillates which are hydrocarbon solvents produced from crude oil.

Goo Gone Gets a C, D, and F grades from EWG

alcurb (author)yrralguthrie2015-02-03

yrralguthrie, please let me know which MSDS (product number) you looked at, because there are many and the ones I looked at contain Hydrotreated light distillates which I assume they originated from petroleum. I've also read that GG is an eye and skin irritant. Please take a look at the Goo-Gone MSDS page here and tell me which one you read. If there is a non-hazardous one, I would like to get it.

yrralguthrie (author)alcurb2015-02-03

I just took it verbatim from one of the sites listing ingredients for GooGone. The carrier in GG is mostly naptha. MSDS sheets are not the holy grail anyway. California lists brass as a carcinogen, which it is not. Enough brass in powdered form might cause cancer in rats. MSDS sheets are self perpetuating. Those that write them don't have a job unless they find harmful materials. Very few of the MSDS sheets are written about materials in their normal or close to normal concentrations. They use extreme completely unused amounts.

Wood furniture is a eye and skin irritant if you rub on it forcefully. Put your swim suit on and have someone drag your butt along a 2x10 from Lowes for a few feet! Too much heat is an eye and skin irritant. Cotton clothes if used excessively. Some wool is naturally a skin irritant. Just because something is an eye and skin irritant is not necessarily bad. One needs to know how it is tested. Maybe they saturated a bandage with GG and taped the arm up with it. I'm quite sure it was at least thought about doing it that way.

In any case a half lemon is a better substitute for GooGone than baking soda. I use baking soda to scrub kitchen ware. Baking soda is useful to scrub, not to dissolve. I'm not going to use it on painted surfaces. Or on any surface I don't want damaged. But the lemon is likely more caustic to the skin than the naptha in GooGone. Lighter fluid is naptha.

Look at the MSDS for chlorine, yet we put it in pools, swim around in it, get it in our mouths and eyes, and literally bathe our bodies in it. Your points are well taken.

ringai (author)yrralguthrie2015-02-04

There is a difference between a substance not being a carcinogenic and a substance that is not listed (US) or not classifiable (EU). Both those cases are indeterminate.

Petroleum naptha contains volatile distillates, such as benzene, hexane, etc., are not recommended for skin contact. Your body will not have a favorable reaction to any of them.

You should not dismiss the MSDS sheets as being the sole reason for employment for the people who write them. For the most part the writers are technical writers who write the sheets as a small parts of their job (every large company needs guides/manuals/procedurals of one sort or another). Not writing the sheets wouldn't impact them, so they aren't motivated by a need for job security (where the sheets are concerned). I grant that there are companies who produce the sheets for other companies.

imboox2 (author)alcurb2015-02-04

Squirt citrus juice in your eyes, it will burn like heck, it is acidic When you read such things you have to analyze why.

mapski99 (author)2017-07-30

Does it work on plastic as well?

pwilliams0064 (author)2017-04-22


grannyjones (author)2015-03-21

Oils work against most common adhesives. "Light" oils work better than viscous oils. I have even used margarine to remove fly paper from a cat. Butter works, too, but I hate to waste it.

mrsmerwin (author)grannyjones2017-04-02

I am sitting here thinking about how upset the cat was attached to fly paper. I cannot imagine the cat was any happier being all buttered up.

grannyjones (author)mrsmerwin2017-04-09

the kitty was freaked out with the paper stuck to him, and a bit sore from losing clumps of hair. Licking the buttery tasting goodness off himself calmed him down quite a bit. He was purring by the time he was all cleaned off.

mrsmerwin (author)grannyjones2017-04-10

Sounds like it would have made a great video.

grannyjones (author)2017-04-09

Lately, I just use el cheapo baking spray. It makes a foamy, moussey fluff that spreads easily and clings to the label--even on a vertical surface. Left on for 30 minutes to an hour, it loosens the adhesive quite well.

mrsmerwin (author)2017-04-02

I have got to get another jar of coconut oil. I bought some on a whim a a year ago. I had no idea what to do with it. A couple of months ago, I found a few things to use it for. Now, I just keep finding things that the jar is almost empty.

namora (author)2016-02-28

I discovered that isopropyl alcohol is very good at dissolving the label goo as well.

Em slime lovley (author)namora2017-03-19

ye it is

ClareBS (author)2016-02-28

Thanks for this instructable.

I hate to think how much I've spent on magic potions to get sticky label residue off of bottle and jars. I just mixed up a small batch of your DIY Goo Gone which works really well, is cheap and has no nasty ingredients. I'm going to call mine "Goo be gone".

namora (author)2016-02-28

I discovered that isopropyl alcohol is very good at dissolving the label goo as well.

MicheleH29 (author)2015-11-24

Thank you for saving my day! I was about to fine a complaint with Corning regarding the glue that they used to apply the label to the inside of a pie dish! I could not get the glue off -- until I found this page.

thouartodd made it! (author)2015-10-05

It worked perfectly! Thanks!! (specks in photo are water droplets from rinsing)

meanalove made it! (author)2015-09-16

Works amazing and it was supper easy! Litte bit goes a long way.

mztreee (author)2015-05-05

Just tried this and It worked perfectly :) I made the coconut oil version, with lemongrass essential oil instead of orange. Much easier/better/nicer than the white spirits I've been using to remove label glue residue on jars until now. Thanks!

R.JStorey (Rodders) (author)2015-03-17

Good idea , I've used cooking oil in the past, and it has worked, but has been harder to apply. this seems much easier, and the bicarb abrasive is a good addition. on a side note, my mum used to swear by spray polish to remove labels

lbuser (author)2015-02-11

I made this and tried it on a couple glass quart jars. This is what I did: I was originally unable to get the label off by soaking, and scraping was just not working at all. I had peeled the top layer of paper off and put the jars in the dishwasher - no luck so I just left the stuff on - for several weeks. I saw this 'ible so I mixed up a little batch of this goo gone and smeared it on both jars, waited 10 minutes and tried scratching at the result. Some came off so I left it for another half hour (forgot about it). I scrubbed at it for a minute then rinsed in water - it all came off, both jars. I was so happy. Thanks for this instructible!

joel.riley1 (author)2015-02-10

Just like to make a little review:

Had to remove some stickers from a welder (been stuck on probably 10 years) and I remembered about this instructable! So I made some, applied it, gave it 10 mins, scrubbed, added more, waited, scrubbed, went at it with a scraper, added more etc.

This went on for about 40 minutes, where I wasn't much better off with the stickers. One had totally come off, the other still had most sticker backing, and some 'goo' on.

I remembered I had some methylated spirits in a bottle upstairs, so I went and got it, used some paper towel, and rubbed the rest off in two minutes.

It smells worse, but I would have saved myself a lot of hassle by going straight to the meths/white spirit etc.

Sorry but in my experience, this stuff is nearly useless.

MsMarly made it! (author)2015-02-04

Thanks for this. Made a batch and put it in small containers such as pill boxes and placed them in easy access areas. Took one to work. Works great - even removes silicone caulking from my hands after I make a batch of Oogoo.

mangelox (author)2015-02-04

Don't know how well it works, but it sounds like a good idea. The secret is the oil. It moistens and dissolves. For an easier solution, try WD-40.

kai.h (author)2015-02-03

I don't know about the availability in your part of the world, but if you want an even easier, single-ingredient goo-gone that smells fantastic; Look no further than Eucalyptus Oil

It's been my go-to adhesive remover for years. A couple of drops on a tissue or cloth is generally enough to remove just about any residue left behind by stickers, tape, some glues etc. You'd want to test it beforehand on the surface you intend to use it on, however I've never had any adverse effects on plastics, sealed/varnished wood (bare wood will soak up the oil, so be careful), stone, glossy/varnished book covers etc.

ringai (author)kai.h2015-02-04

Soak some multi-stranded fishing line in it and then wrap it around a dog collar for a safer method to repel fleas.

jessyratfink (author)kai.h2015-02-03

That's awesome! I've used eucalyptus oil for loads of other things but never considered using it that way. :)

acabrera7 (author)jessyratfink2015-02-03

Mineral turps, kerosene, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, anything stinky and oily works!

kai.h (author)acabrera72015-02-04

Yep, pretty much anything oily will get rid of adhesives, but not many smell as good as eucalyptus oil! :D

imboox2 (author)2015-02-04

Is baking soda safe? I see folks here worried about chemicals in Goo Gone.

Baking soda comes from Trona Ore. It goes through a chemical process. Trona is heated until it turns to soda ash. Then the soda ash is treated with carbon dioxide to make the baking soda.

There are supposed to be chemical free baking soda out there, says it on the box, but it is not what you commonly buy.

ringai (author)imboox22015-02-04

Sorry, but your baking soda is full of chemicals. It's full of Sodium Carbonate! ;-)

Baking soda is safe. The process used to make it is immaterial. Don't listen to the hype.

Package labeling is typically written in that manner to suck ill-informed buyers. Like Bob's Red Mill baking soda labels with the slogan, "Aluminum Free." Of course it is. That's 100% true. But it is also true for all the other brands. Burger King could make the same claim about their french fries and be perfectly correct. Except for planting a misleading idea that other fries might contain aluminum.

Product marketers are concerned only with tricking people into purchasing the products they hawk. If their claims are true, so much the better. It's a change from the normal half-lies.

babybayrs (author)2015-02-03

For glass jars I usually try to remember not soak or wet the label before peeling it, I fill them with hot or boiling water and then peel the label in order to have no residue glue on the outside. I guess this thing will be good for plastic containers that don't withstand hot water or glass jars that are tossed in the dish washer before peeling the label.

alcurb (author)2015-02-03

I wonder if your all-natural DIY alternative works well for bandage tape residue on skin. Sometimes the gum is quite a bear to remove without unwantedly pulling hairs off one's skin.

Mamacrystal (author)alcurb2015-02-03

Use a couple of drops of Eucalyptus Oil on a cotton swab..... smells nice and is effective

jessyratfink (author)alcurb2015-02-03

I bet it would! I know my mom always used baby oil for that when I was growing up, so this should work much the same way. But hopefully quicker with the baking soda. :)

spark master (author)alcurb2015-02-03

rub the spot with olive oil (any vegetable oil or even crisco actually), salt or baking soda can also be added to make a mild abrasive.

bettina-sisr (author)2015-02-03

This is a wonderful alternative to the 'earth-&-people-harming' stuff that some folks use already (and I have used, but BLECH!) It would be so easy to make up a batch for the house and one for the shop, thanks for sharing this awesome INSTRUCTABLE:-)

joreknight (author)2015-02-03

I have a hand degreaser that I use when wrenching on my car or bike, it looks just like this homemade goo gone, it even smells like orange!

I'm gonna give this a try, but I have the feeling it might work just as well but way less toxic.

jwright26 (author)joreknight2015-02-03

Fast Orange?

joreknight (author)jwright262015-02-03

That's the thing!

MISTHULA (author)2015-02-03

I wonder if you used Crisco shortening (solid type) instead of oil - wouldn't that give you the same consistency as the coconut oil? It also can be stored for longer periods without refrigeration. I have some handy and may try that.

jessyratfink (author)MISTHULA2015-02-03

Good idea! I bet that would work just as well. :)

ElectroFrank (author)2015-02-03

I get most labels off with petrol (US gasoline) lighter fuel. A couple of drops on the label, cover with plastic bag for a couple of minutes, and it (usually) comes straight off. Soak for longer, and/or perforate the label, if its tough or shiny.

Khalim (author)2015-02-03

I use this exact mixture to brush my teeth. It is less abrasive than toothpaste, yet does a much better job. If you swish it around in your mouth, it works like a mouthwash as well, through the "oil pulling" principle. One try of it was enough to dump my toothpaste forever.

yrralguthrie (author)Khalim2015-02-03

Baking soda is sometimes used to clean and polisb headlight lenses. Also used as an abrasive in air blasting fiberglas. Pretty abrasive.

Khalim (author)yrralguthrie2015-02-03

It just tells you how toothpaste is ridiculously abrasive, to be more abrasive than that.

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About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
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