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We Tried 5 Methods for Removing Sticky Stickers — And We Were Blown Away by the Winner

published Dec 23, 2023
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Credit: Sarah Crowley

Peeling all of the little bits and pieces and goo off a stubborn sticker from a new dish sure can be a nuisance. And don’t even get me started on that scratching sound nails can make on the back of an unglazed plate! Honestly, the trouble it sometimes takes to get off all of that sticky mess is enough to make me ignore the stickers completely and leave them on indefinitely. Yes, I’m that person, but in an effort to class it up in my kitchen, I decided it was high time to actually remove all of the stickers from the bottoms of my dishes and glass jars and the like.

How best to do it? I got to work and put five popular methods to the test. My efforts paid off and there was one clear winner! Let’s take a look.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

How I Tested the Methods for Removing Sticky Stickers

To start, I asked people about the easiest ways they knew of removing stickers. I did some research to see what the internet had to suggest. And then I picked the five methods that seemed to come up again and again. I had stocked up on a lot of plates stuck with stickers for this test; I gathered five of the same dishes with the stickers left on and tried each method on separate plates. The results of my test blew me away!

Ratings: Each method received a 1 to 5 rating: 1 was given for minimal results, 5 for the most effective results. Along with the rating you’ll find notes on how easy or difficult the method was, how much elbow grease it took, and how much time it took to remove. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Peanut Butter

  • Total time: 5+ minutes
  • Rating: 1/5 (but I give it a 4/5 for removing the sticky residue!)

The method: Cover the sticker with peanut butter, and let it sit for at least five minutes. Depending on the thickness of the sticker, it may need more time to soak through. Use a spatula to scrape the peanut butter and sticker off the plate. Rinse with soap and warm water.

How it went: It took much longer than five minutes for the oil in the peanut butter I used to soak through the price tag, so I let it sit for another 30 minutes before testing it again and realizing it wasn’t going to do much. I wiped the peanut butter off and used a spatula to scrape the paper off. Then, I tried the peanut butter again on just the leftover sticky residue. The peanut butter worked wonders! In about five minutes, the residue came off completely. I don’t recommend this method to remove thick stickers or price tags, but it’s fantastic for removing the leftover residue. I will say, though, that it’s a little messy!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

  • Total time: 15+ minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

The method: Start by removing as much of the sticker as you can before mixing up a paste of coconut oil and baking soda. To create the paste, mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part coconut oil. Spread generously over the sticker, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Work the paste around with your fingers to remove the sticker. Rinse with warm soapy water.

How it went: I tried removing what remained of the sticker after letting the paste sit for 15 minutes, but nothing happened, so I let the paste sit for another 30 minutes. I was able to remove some of the sticker, but it was clear that this method is best for removing minimal leftover sticker residue — and not much else. After a total of 45 minutes, I grabbed a spatula and was able to remove the remaining pieces.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Hairdryer

  • Total time: 3 minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

The method: Using the highest heat setting, hold the hairdryer 1 to 2 inches above the sticker, and keep it there for 1 to 3 minutes. Then, peel the sticker off. 

How it went: The sticker came off easily, but left residue behind. This was the easiest, cleanest method for removing the large portion of the paper sticker, but unfortunately it only did a portion of the job. This is a good method if you’re in a pinch, but definitely needs to be followed up with, say, the peanut butter method to remove the remaining residue.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: WD-40

  • Total time: 3 minutes
  • Rating: 4/5

The method: Saturate the sticker with WD-40, and let it sit for three minutes. Remove the sticker using a spatula. Wipe dry, then clean with warm soapy water.

How it went: After three minutes, I used a spatula and removed the sticker from the bottom of the plate. It came up with ease and brought along the sticky residue, too! On the downside, this process was messy and stinky. I can’t say I was excited about spraying a pool of chemicals on my plate, but it was just the bottom and the ingredients don’t seem all that bad! This method worked well — and quickly.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Vinegar Soak

  • Total time: 5+ minutes
  • Rating: 5/5

The method: Soak a paper towel or cotton ball with vinegar, and lay it over the sticker. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then lift the sticker off the surface.

How it went: After five minutes, I lifted the vinegar-soaked paper towel and tried peeling the sticker corner up — and to my surprise, it came up with no trouble at all! Not only did the sticker come off easily, but the sticky residue did as well! Again, depending on the thickness of the sticker, you may need to let the vinegar do its thing for a bit longer than five minutes. This was absolutely the best method for removing stickers (and residue!) from dishes. It worked so well that I won’t even be bothering with the other methods in the future.

To be fair, all of these methods sort of worked in their own way, but the vinegar soak stood out above the rest. The vinegar soak doesn’t take long at all, and it gets both the sticker and the residue. The best part? It’s also extremely versatile. You can soak a paper towel or cotton ball, and then mold it to any shape and it’ll work. As an avid thrifter, learning the secret art of sticky tag removal is a revelation! I’m happy to report my kitchen dishes are now sticker-free!

How do you remove sticky stickers from your dishware? Tell us in the comments below.

Peeling all of the little bits and pieces and goo off a stubborn sticker from a new dish sure can be a nuisance. And don’t even get me started on that scratching sound nails can make on the back of an unglazed plate! Honestly, the trouble it sometimes takes to get off all of that sticky mess is enough to make me ignore the stickers completely and leave them on indefinitely. Yes, I’m that person, but in an effort to class it up in my kitchen, I decided it was high time to actually remove all of the stickers from the bottoms of my dishes and glass jars and the like. How best to do it? I got to work and put five popular methods to the test. My efforts paid off and there was one clear winner! Let’s take a look.

Read more: Martha Stewart’s Ingenious Hack for Removing Pesky Stickers from New Appliances

Credit: Sarah Crowley

How I Tested the Methods for Removing Sticky Stickers

To start, I asked people about the easiest ways they knew of removing stickers. I did some research to see what the internet had to suggest. And then I picked the five methods that seemed to come up again and again. I had stocked up on a lot of plates stuck with stickers for this test; I gathered five of the same dishes with the stickers left on and tried each method on separate plates. The results of my test blew me away!

Ratings: Each method received a 1 to 5 rating: 1 was given for minimal results, 5 for the most effective results. Along with the rating you’ll find notes on how easy or difficult the method was, how much elbow grease it took, and how much time it took to remove. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Peanut Butter

  • Total time: 5+ minutes
  • Rating: 1/5 (but I give it a 4/5 for removing the sticky residue!)

The method: Cover the sticker with peanut butter, and let it sit for at least five minutes. Depending on the thickness of the sticker, it may need more time to soak through. Use a spatula to scrape the peanut butter and sticker off the plate. Rinse with soap and warm water.

How it went: It took much longer than five minutes for the oil in the peanut butter I used to soak through the price tag, so I let it sit for another 30 minutes before testing it again and realizing it wasn’t going to do much. I wiped the peanut butter off and used a spatula to scrape the paper off. Then, I tried the peanut butter again on just the leftover sticky residue. The peanut butter worked wonders! In about five minutes, the residue came off completely. I don’t recommend this method to remove thick stickers or price tags, but it’s fantastic for removing the leftover residue. I will say, though, that it’s a little messy!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

  • Total time: 15+ minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

The method: Start by removing as much of the sticker as you can before mixing up a paste of coconut oil and baking soda. To create the paste, mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part coconut oil. Spread generously over the sticker, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Work the paste around with your fingers to remove the sticker. Rinse with warm soapy water.

How it went: I tried removing what remained of the sticker after letting the paste sit for 15 minutes, but nothing happened, so I let the paste sit for another 30 minutes. I was able to remove some of the sticker, but it was clear that this method is best for removing minimal leftover sticker residue — and not much else. After a total of 45 minutes, I grabbed a spatula and was able to remove the remaining pieces.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Hairdryer

  • Total time: 3 minutes
  • Rating: 3/5

The method: Using the highest heat setting, hold the hairdryer 1 to 2 inches above the sticker, and keep it there for 1 to 3 minutes. Then, peel the sticker off. 

How it went: The sticker came off easily, but left residue behind. This was the easiest, cleanest method for removing the large portion of the paper sticker, but unfortunately it only did a portion of the job. This is a good method if you’re in a pinch, but definitely needs to be followed up with, say, the peanut butter method to remove the remaining residue.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: WD-40

  • Total time: 3 minutes
  • Rating: 4/5

The method: Saturate the sticker with WD-40, and let it sit for three minutes. Remove the sticker using a spatula. Wipe dry, then clean with warm soapy water.

How it went: After three minutes, I used a spatula and removed the sticker from the bottom of the plate. It came up with ease and brought along the sticky residue, too! On the downside, this process was messy and stinky. I can’t say I was excited about spraying a pool of chemicals on my plate, but it was just the bottom and the ingredients don’t seem all that bad! This method worked well — and quickly.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Removing Stickers Method: Vinegar Soak

  • Total time: 5+ minutes
  • Rating: 5/5

The method: Soak a paper towel or cotton ball with vinegar, and lay it over the sticker. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then lift the sticker off the surface.

How it went: After five minutes, I lifted the vinegar-soaked paper towel and tried peeling the sticker corner up — and to my surprise, it came up with no trouble at all! Not only did the sticker come off easily, but the sticky residue did as well! Again, depending on the thickness of the sticker, you may need to let the vinegar do its thing for a bit longer than five minutes. This was absolutely the best method for removing stickers (and residue!) from dishes. It worked so well that I won’t even be bothering with the other methods in the future.

To be fair, all of these methods sort of worked in their own way, but the vinegar soak stood out above the rest. The vinegar soak doesn’t take long at all, and it gets both the sticker and the residue. The best part? It’s also extremely versatile. You can soak a paper towel or cotton ball, and then mold it to any shape and it’ll work. As an avid thrifter, learning the secret art of sticky tag removal is a revelation! I’m happy to report my kitchen dishes are now sticker-free!

This post was originally published on The Kitchn. Read it there: We Tried 5 Methods for Removing Sticky Stickers — And We Were Blown Away by the Winner