Introduction: Removing Stickers With Household Products

Stickers; the bane of DVD/game cases the world over. Nothing is more frustrating than peeling off stickers from your things, scratching the finish, and often having sticky residues left behind. Moreover, if you want to try and remove these, you have to pay for expensive chemicals like Goo-Gone that might have adverse effects. Isn't there another way!?

There is! Not only that, but you probably have everything you need in your Kitchen and Bathroom! This method not only works on stickers, but will also work on adhesives left from tape as well. In this instructable, I will show you two methods of application, to tackle all of your sticker-removing needs!

Disclaimer: While I have had huge degrees of success with this method, I cannot guarantee it will work for everybody. As with every application, this method should first be tested on an unseen area to ensure no damage to the finish. This method has been tested on plastic, but should also be useful on wood, glass, metal, or ceramics. Although there are no dangerous chemicals in use, always use proper safety measures, and wok in well ventilated areas. Stay safe, work safe.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

The number one supply you will be in need of for this to work is some form of cooking oil. My weapon of choice was Vegetable Oil, although you should have similar results with other oils, such as canola, sunflower, or even cooking sprays such as Pam. As well, the other supply you will need is time and patience. This method is not an instant fix, and may take 12-24 hours to work properly.

The other supplies you will need will depend on what method of application you are using.

If you are using the small touch-up application, you will need:

-Household Cleaner; Windex or other glass cleaners work well here. In a pinch, you could also use soap and warm water. In extreme cases, you may need to use Dish Soap, or other oil-cutting soaps.
-2 small containers, for cooking oil and cleaning solution.
-Q-Tips, or other form of cotton swab.
-A rag or cloth. You can also use lysol wipes, or other cleaning wipes.
-Toothbrush (Optional) to scrub off stubborn adhesives. Should not be necessary except for the most hardcore stickers.

If you are using the large-scale sticker removal, you will need:

-A couple of cloths or rags. You will need at least two; one for oil application, one for oil cleaning. A towel is helpful for drying.
-Soap and warm/hot water. In extreme cases, you may need to use Dish Soap, or other oil-cutting soaps.

Step 2: Method 1: Small Touch Up Applications

This method is probably the one you will use most. In it, you will use Q-tips or other cotton swabs to spot-clean small areas. This method is prominently shown in use on the Nintendo 64 console, removing masking tape adhesive.

To begin, pour some cooking oil into a container. Using your Q-tip, apply some of this oil to the area to be cleaned. Don't be shy, make sure to apply a good amount of oil. After application, set whatever you are cleaning aside.

While there is no magic number for how long it should sit, the longer you let it sit the easier it will be to remove. 4 hours should be the absolute minimum, and my recommendation is 8 hours. Anything after 24 hours is probably overkill.

Step 3: Method 1: Small Touch Up Applications (Cont'd)

Now that your object in need of cleaning has sit aside, it's time to see some magic!

Pour some of your Household cleaner into another container. Next, with some cleaner on your Q-tip/cotton swab, gently rub the area with adhesives. Assuming you let your object sit long enough, the adhesive/sticker should peel off with relative ease. If it does not, you may need to either use a toothbrush or let it sit longer. 

Continue rubbing the adhesives until everything has come off. Afterwards, apply some cleaner to your rag and clean off any remaining oil. If an oily residue remains, I recommend letting the area dry for 15-20 minutes, and trying again with Dish Soap.

If there is any remaining adhesive, repeat the process until it has come off completely. Once everything is gone, enjoy your shiny, stickerless object!

Step 4: Method 2: Large Scale Sticker Removal

This method should only be used for the hardest of the hardcore stickers. It is messy, it is oily, but it works wonders.

Start by generously applying cooking oil to the sticker. While a squirt bottle or similar is helpful, it is not necessary. You can just as easily pour the oil onto the sticker. Use a rag to evenly coat the sticker. On easier stickers, they will already be rendered translucent.

Set your piece aside. Again, while there is no magic number for how long it should sit, the longer you let it sit the easier it will be to remove. 8 hours should be the absolute minimum, and my recommendation is 12 hours. Anything after 24 hours should just fall off.

Step 5: Method 2: Large Scale Sticker Removal (Cont'd)

After letting it sit, it's time to remove your sticker!

If done properly, your sticker should just peel off with your fingers. If not, you can use a soft cloth with warm water to remove it.

Once the sticker is off, it's time to get rid of the oily residue. Using soap and water, rub your surface in circular motions, cleaning as best as you can. In extreme cases, you might need to use Dish Soap to cut through the oil. Worst case scenario, letting your surface dry for 15-20 minutes and then re-scrubbing your surface with soap will remove any excess.

After all is clean, enjoy your new sticker-free surface!