How to remove sticker residue from glass: 18 pro-approved hacks

Remove sticky residue from glass candles, mason jars and more using all manner of cool methods. From oil and Windex to natural vinegar and more...

A cozy, neutrally-decorated living room with large sofa and assortment of lit candles
(Image credit: B&M)

Looking for easy ways to remove sticker residue from glass? Those stubborn price tags and sale tickets can be super annoying whether on a cute vase or candle jar. Sure, we need to know how much something costs to start with, but house guests do not.

So if you're looking to reuse the glass jars of your best candles and need to get rid of barcodes, or lighting instructions, rest assured that there are lots of ways to take off that sticker and any stickiness from it, in one go.

How to remove sticker residue from glass

Instead of being left with an unattractive thin film of paper and, even if you've been super careful, tacky-to-the-touch glue, try these creative hacks from TikTokers and more pros, to restore your favorite glass items around the home to their former sticker-free glory.

1. Heat the label with a hairdryer

@thisgirlcanorganise (opens in new tab)

♬ September - Earth, Wind & Fire (opens in new tab)

We love filling our home with gorgeous fragrances and, eco-friendly as we are, we like to reuse those jars where we can. But an old label isn't a look. Thankfully, professional organizer, Nicola Lewis aka @thisgirlcanorganise (opens in new tab),  shares a clever way to remove sticker residue using a hairdryer...

'Want to know how to remove those TK Maxx (opens in new tab) / Homesense (opens in new tab) sticky price tags at home? Grab your hairdryer, and blast the sticker for 30-60 seconds on a medium/high heat, and then simply peel off the label!

'I had this light bulb moment earlier this year and screamed when it worked! It's a complete game changer! No more picking at those sticky labels for me.'

2. Get greasy with oil

@ecolivinguk (opens in new tab)

♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky (opens in new tab)

Cosmetic and edible oils are gentle ways to remove a sticky label. Don't waste the good stuff, we're talking that extra virgin organic olive oil you picked up on vacation, use something cheap and cheerful like rapeseed/canola oil, even baby oil (opens in new tab) will do.

Apply it to a dishcloth or paper towel to degrade the sticky tag. Better still, invest in a nice glass bottle with a stainless steel pourer (opens in new tab) so that you can control the amount that is dispensed. You can also mix in a little baking soda to clean the residue from your glass jars.

3. Try acetone

@homethirty_one (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Sickickmusic (opens in new tab)

Acetone can get rid of most nail polish shades, whether it's a conventional varnish, gel, or one that needs to be cured under UV light. But you might be surprised to know that it can remove sticky labels from glass too!

Using a bottle of nail polish remover (opens in new tab) and a few cotton pads (opens in new tab) according to @homethirty_one (opens in new tab) will remove sticky labels from a glass tea mug.

4. Use citrus oils

@coffeesips_n_targettrips (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - Arron Malone (opens in new tab)

Ashley Krzysiak aka @coffeesips_n_targettrips (opens in new tab) shows us how it's done with the citrus-based oil, on a spooky skeleton-shaped glass jar. 

So if you have any leftover home fragrance from your essential oil diffuser, put it to good use and get rid of the gunk on your glass jars. It's a no-nasties, solvent-free solution to getting rid of the sticky stuff. Use a cheaper oil (tea tree (opens in new tab) or lemon oil (opens in new tab) for example) for this to be completely cost-effective. Dab a few drops onto a fabric/microfiber cleaning cloth (opens in new tab), and gently rub it over the sticky label until the residue has been removed.

5. Try a commercial adhesive remover

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The aforementioned sticky label removers are great, but if you want to pick up something that has a proven track record, pick up one of the best cleaning products straight off the shelf.

Weiman's adhesive remover (opens in new tab) has a lovely citrus smell and has an easy-to-use trigger sprayer for targeted application. Goo Gone (opens in new tab) is another product that works just as well. It contains plant-based ingredients and comes with a sticker lifting device. Whichever you choose, both are available on Amazon.

6. Wipe off label gunk with WD-40

@carolina.mccauley (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - LYN (opens in new tab)

You might have used WD-40 (opens in new tab) in the past to fix squeaky cabinet doors and remove rust around the home, but this blue metal can also makes easy work of removing sticky labels from glass.

Self-confessed home hacks queen, Carolina McCauley (opens in new tab) shows us how to use this multi-use lubricant to get gunk off glass.

7. Degrade the label with dish soap and hot water

@beckiesbitofsparkle (opens in new tab)

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Using dish soap and warm water is one of the most cost-effective solutions to removing sticky labels from glass. Get yourself a plastic bowl, fill it up with a mix of hot and cold water from the faucet, add a generous amount of dish soap (or laundry detergent), and soak the affected glassware for around 15 minutes. After this time, you should be able to pick the label off or use a scourer or sponge. @beckiesbitofsparkle (opens in new tab) breaks it down.

Alternatively, your dishwasher should be able to do the job!

8. Smooth labels off with peanut butter or mayo

A jar of peanut butter with spoonful of contents on top of container

(Image credit: Brian Hagiwara (#86056662) / Getty)

Yes, the same stuff you slather a PB&J sandwich with can be used to remove sticky labels from glass. Of course, when you're looking to release the label, opt for smooth PB (opens in new tab) over crunchy. And don't use the stuff that has chocolate or marshmallow fluff swirled into it. Preferably, the ingredient list should read 100% peanuts if possible.

'Peanut butter works well to remove residue from glass.' says Robert Dillon, owner, Molly Maid (opens in new tab).

'All you need to do is put a little peanut butter on the gunk and let it remain long enough to soften the residue  Clean up the gunk and the peanut butter using a clean rag.  Mayonnaise (opens in new tab) works well if you don’t have any peanut butter on hand.'

9. Dissolve with a medical adhesive remover

There are all sorts of reasons why you may have a medical adhesive remover in the house and if you happen to, then it's good to know that this solution doubles up as a sticker dissolver too.

'I wear a medical device on alternate arms, so to avoid leaving a sticky black ring each time, I use a Zoff wipe (known as Uni-Solve on Amazon in the US (opens in new tab)) to clean the residue,' says our Editor in Chief for Ecommerce, Lindsey Davis. 'They are individually wrapped for use on the go so I can change my patches without lugging around an extra bottle of liquid. This is a benefit for use around the home too because you will likely use them pretty rarely so they don't take up much space or go off.'

10. Make label residue vanish with vinegar

We're big fans of using vinegar to clean, because not only is it natural, but also super cheap and usually somewhere in the pantry! Other than using it in cooking, try it to remove sticky residue from mason jars and more glass items.

Soak a paper towel in warm white vinegar, then lay it over the sticker residue for about five minutes. You can then scrape it off with your car de-icer, paint scraper or if you're super careful, a credit card.

If you'd prefer to keep your cooking and cleaning supplies separately, the Stardrops white vinegar multi-purpose cleaning spray (opens in new tab) is a great candidate for the job. 

11. Remove residue with rubbing alcohol

You might have used rubbing alcohol in the past to clean an ear piercing or disinfect your home, but if you're having difficulty detaching a label from a glass container, try using Isopropyl (opens in new tab) (available on Amazon) as an idea. Beware, it is strong smelling, so a little goes a long way. Just make sure to open your windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home.

12. Hand sanitizer

@teach.craft.parties (opens in new tab)

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We're now all, always armed with a small bottle of hand sanitizer, right? Whether you have a small or panic-bought big bottle, know that you can use it beyond its hand-cleaning abilities. 

Here, Michelle Leigh Maury aka @teach.craft.parties (opens in new tab) shows you how to use germicide to get at labels.

13. Make labels vanish with cheap vodka

If you're a fan of a Bloody Mary, Martini, or Cosmopolitan – you're likely to have a healthy supply of vodka stocked up in your home bar. But, aside from being the basis of your cool cocktails, this spirit can get rid of stubborn sticker glue.

There's no need to use your high-end grain or potato-based spirit. Something cheap (like Smirnoff) versus your Ciroc or Beldevere is a budget-friendly way to budge label glue. Go for a plain variety, rather than something flavored as the sweet stuff is likely to have sugar syrups which will be counterproductive to the job in hand.

14. Use a cleaning paste

Don't be fooled by the nicey-nicey credentials of eco-friendly cleaning products – these abrasive pastes mean business! The Pink Stuff (opens in new tab) and Astonish (opens in new tab) are two we've tried and tested to remove sticky residue from glass bottles. All you need is a sponge or scourer, a little product, and to scrub in a circular motion.

15. Use your kettle

Hot water can do wonders to degrade the sticky residue you get on glass. And, dollar for dollar, H2O is probably the cheapest strategy of them all when you think of how much it costs to boil a kettle. Be careful with this method, and use rubber gloves if you need to as you don't want to a) scald yourself b) shatter the glass container in the process. If it doubt, don't use piping hot water – warm water should suffice.

16. Rub it out with an eraser

They say every day is a school day, but did you know you can get remove sticker residue from glass with a pencil eraser? Not just for scrubbing out scribbles, rubber can do away with label adhesive in a flash. But don't go stealing one from your kid's novelty stationery from their pencil case – get a pack of white rubbers from Amazon. (opens in new tab)

17. Use a razor blade

It's not just candles and canning jars that need degunking. If you've bought a new car for example, the window sticker can often leave a bit of residue. Thankfully, Anthony Volk (opens in new tab), an auto glass expert has got some advice on dealing with any leftover adhesive.

'Try using a straight razor blade (opens in new tab),' he says.

'You can find the proper razor type at an auto shop or hardware store. When using a razor blade, just be careful not to damage the auto glass.'

18. Windex

Last but not least, although the butt of all jokes in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Volk also advocates the use of Windex (opens in new tab) to get rid of label scum. So go on then, 'Put some Windex on it!'

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this, she worked for Good Homes magazine and home interest events including the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live. She lives close to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine, and an apple tree.


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