Stop Goo Fail: Clean Stickers, Tape and Glue Off Glass

By: Laurie L. Dove  | 

What Takes Adhesives Off Glass?

Scraping stickers or pulling tape off glass can leave a sticky residue that becomes a dirt magnet. You may think the little bit of goo left behind isn't a big deal, but you'll change your tune when it's been colonized by dust bunnies. So what's a resourceful person to do? Clean the glass with any run-of-the-mill glass cleaner and let it dry. Then search your cabinets for a few innocuous helpers: vinegar, rubbing alcohol or soap and hot water. These products act as mild solvents; any will help separate a sticky substance from glass. Just wet the adhesive with your weapon of choice, then scrub, scrub, scrub.

If the adhesive's still stubborn, bring out the big gun: acetone nail polish remover. The same stuff that strips the polish off fingernails will remove residual adhesive, but you'll still need a fair amount of elbow grease. If you're into more effortless home care, opt for plastic wrap. Just wet the sticker, label or tape (or what's left of it) with warm water, top it with plastic wrap and let it soak. Odds are, the sticker will slide off after a few hours and you can rub off any remaining glue.


When it comes to goo removal, simpler is usually better — but not always. Our next advice may sound like an old wives' tale, but the concoction's surprisingly effective. For stickers that just won't budge, try a multi-layered approach. Soak the sticker in hot water and cover it with a layer of orange oil (you can find this in the furniture polish aisle), baby oil or vegetable oil. For good measure, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest overnight.

Speaking of veggies, researchers recently discovered a promising new type of adhesive made from vegetable oil. The environmentally friendly cocktail offers a sticky alternative that can be used for everything from postage stamps to price labels. The best part, developers say, is that it can be made from inexpensive renewable sources — namely crops such as corn or soybeans. We're just hoping it will come off the glass a little easier than its predecessors.