How to Unstick Those Pesky Stickers from Glass in Your Home


You know you’ve done it. Muttered under your breath when you buy a product that has a sticker attached that you’ve found is sometimes impossible to remove. From your new dishes to your mirrors and your windshield, the next time you are in that dilemma we have some tips for you that should help relieve a little stress. There are several different options to remove stickers from glass and many are pretty common, so hopefully you will have at least one of these items on hand when you need it.

Remember, you may encounter a variety of stickers. Some are made for use on glass and those peel off easily. So try that first before employing more complicated methods which you may not need. Where you’re most likely to run into difficulty is with stickers that aren’t meant for glass; if your child took a sticker to your pretty glass mirror, for example, or the store that sold you your mirror put a price tag on it that wasn’t made for glass. They were trying to sell the item, not thinking of the problems you would encounter when you take your mirror home.

If you run into one of these situations, the first thing you should try is to pre-soak the sticker with hot water to soften the adhesive. If the glass piece is a larger one that won’t allow you to submerge it in the sink, for example, thoroughly wet a towel and apply it to the sticker, holding it in place if need be, for a few minutes while the water soaks through. That alone might be enough to allow you to remove most of the sticker without much more than an object for scraping the rest of the glue off your glass. Also, be aware that we talk about the use of a razor blade but if you don’t have one on hand or if you’re not comfortable using a sharp object on glass, you can also use a credit card or other hard plastic scraper to do the job.

So let’s say the warm water trick doesn’t work or isn’t as efficient as you would like and you need to get tougher on that sticker. Removing stickers with the following options may work:

  1. “Window Cleaner”: Spray window cleaner on the sticker then use a razor blade to remove it, but the trick is to pull the sticker up slowly. Go too fast and you’ll spend many unneeded minutes picking away at it piece by little piece. And be careful, this is glass we are working with. That being said, it is okay to use a razor blade but there are certain things to remember. Scrape at an angle and be sure the blade isn’t dull.
  1. “Rubbing Alcohol”: Apply rubbing alcohol to the sticker, then wait a few minutes and slowly peel it away from the glass.
  2. “Nail Polish Remover”: The acetone in nail polish remover breaks down the adhesives behind stickers. Use it the same way you would rubbing alcohol (above) or to remove particularly stubborn nail polish – dab some on a cotton ball, apply it to the sticker, let it sit for a few minutes, and then peel or rub off the sticker and any remaining adhesive.
  3. “Goo Gone”: The sole purpose of products such as these is to yes remove that sticker goo. So if other methods fail, this may be your savior. If you don’t want to buy it, try making your own with a mixture of baking soda and olive oil. Measure some baking soda into a bowl and then use half the amount of olive oil and mix. Dip a paper towel or a cloth into your mixture and start rubbing.
  4. “Cooking Oil”: It’s not meant to break down adhesives or other sticky stuff the way Goo Gone is, but have you ever been able to get something to stick to a surface that has had oil on it? Cooking oils – vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil – all work the same way other solvents would in this case, by breaking down the sticker and allowing you to peel or rub it off. Apply some to the problem area, ensuring you cover it to the edge of the sticker, and let it sit for a few minutes before removing the offending piece. Clean the glass afterward with warm water and dish soap.
  5. “Vinegar”: Vinegar works the same way as rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover, but will require more rubbing, yet will smell less like chemicals and more like your kitchen. Apply the vinegar with a cloth and rub it onto the sticker. Because vinegar is acidic, it can and probably should be diluted just a bit with water.
  6. “Ice”: Hold an ice pack over the sticker for a few minutes to cool off the adhesive. Then, use a razor blade to remove the sticker. Ice may not be the easiest to work with – who really wants to handle an ice cube for long periods of time? It’s inexpensive though and relatively handy and, in a pinch, you could use anything from your freezer to get the desired result.
  7. “WD-40”: Remove as much of the sticker that you can then spray WD-40 and wait a few minutes before using a damp cloth to wipe the rest away.
  8. “Masking tape”: Believe it or not, using more sticky will remove stubborn sticky from a glass object. Take a piece of masking tape, or other strong tape, loop it around your fingers backward so the sticky side is facing out, as if you were trying to tape a package together without the tape showing. Press the sticky side of the tape securely to the sticker that needs removing, and then pull away quickly like you would remove a band aid. At least parts of the sticker and/or adhesive should come off with the tape. Repeat, as necessary. If the tape seems to lose stickiness, make a new tape loop for this method works the same way a lint roller does and if there’s no sticky, it’s not working.
  9. “Wipes”: Though they may take a little more time, wet wipes, baby wipes, or cleaning wipes (Clorox, etc.) all have cleaning properties discussed above that will help dissolve the adhesive in a sticker, and some have a bit of abrasion to them that, with a little elbow grease, will help you wipe the sticker from the glass. Let the wet wipe sit on the sticker for a few minutes, until the sticker is soaked through, and then wipe or scrub away the sticker and the underlying adhesive.

Some final tips:

  • The sooner you deal with the stickiness the better.
  • Be patient and don’t stop at the first try. It may take a few before the residue is removed completely. And yes you may have to put some muscle into the task.
  • When you have removed the residue successfully clean the glass with a cloth and plain water.

Hopefully your sticker removal was a success. For any other glass, window or auto tips, visit the info center at Glass.com.

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