How to remove sticker residue

  • Does anyone know of a safe method for removing adhesive from a sticker placed on plexiglass?  I need to remove an evidence label from a B-29 plexiglass windshield.

  • Depending upon the adhesive used on the evidence label, a low surface tension, high dispersion force liquid (AKA canola cooking oil) can be applied to mobilize the adhesive and the oil then cleared from the acrylic windshield with a broad spectrum surfactant (Dawn dish washing soap in water, just as if you were washing dishes)!

    Dale Kronkright, Head of Conservation

    Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

  • Canola, Olive probably just a standard aircraft windscreen cleaner or “Goof-Off”…..BUT HECK, I want to know the story beyond a B-29 windshield with an evidence sticker .

  • Thanks for the information,  I appreciate it!  Mickey, The Park Service had to go to court to be deemed the sole custodian of the sunken B-29, as divers were trying to claim ownership of the wreck thru maritime laws.

  • “3 in 1 Oil” or sewing machine oil also work very well on Plexiglas, and also clean off with detergent.  WD 40 dissolves sticker adhesive, but I wouldn’t advise its use because of the difficulty cleaning WD 40 off the Plexi.

    Lynne Robertson, Chief CuratorWest Florida Historic Preservation, Inc.

  • Nothing to add on the cleaning front, just wanted to thank Mickey for asking about the evidence sticker because I would have.  Is this the famous (infamous?) Lake Mead B-29?

  • Sorry to come in late on this one! I primarily restore fountain pens, and the same plastic was used on Parker “51”s as your cowling. Lighter fluid (Ronsonol), is an excellent option for this one. The naptha will dissolve any old adhesive almost instantly, but is just fine on that tough old acrylic. You should just be able to wipe away old sticker residue with a cloth, rather than having to resort to any scrapers, however benign.

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How to Remove Adhesive Using Dish Soap

Isn’t it awesome that in learning how to remove adhesive from cars, you suddenly find out that simple household products can be used? To be more specific, almost every household owns a dish soap to thoroughly clean dirty dishes. Amazingly, the effectiveness of dish soap does not stop there. This type of soap can also be used for removing adhesive. Here are the steps on how to remove adhesive from cars by using dish soap:

  • Since dish soap is one of the mildest substances in removing adhesive, the process might get tricky for you. To have a higher chance of totally removing adhesive from a glass surface such as the car window, scrape off the residue first with a sharp razor blade. Do not use a dull blade for it is more likely to scratch the surface. At least with a sharp blade, the removal process becomes faster.

  • You should not use pure dish soap because it is usually in the form of a really thick liquid. Since the adhesive is sticky, it absorbs heat and moisture better. The thick liquid will just slide over the residue.

    What you need to do is thoroughly mix a bucket of hot water and a few drops of dish soap. That ratio is best for big stickers on car windows. For smaller residues, use a bowl and an even smaller amount of dish soap – one drop will do.

  • Even the material needed for removing adhesive can be too simple. A rag is enough to rub the adhesive off with the dish soap mixture.

    First, soak the rag into the soapy water. Then, directly rub it all over the sticky area. Once you are convinced that the surface is already 100% free from adhesive, soak another rag into plain water to wipe off remaining residues. Afterwards, wipe the area dry with a clean cloth.

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How to Remove Adhesive Using Fabric Softener

Removing adhesive from your car can be a pleasing experience especially if you use liquid fabric softener. Fabric softeners usually have that hypnotizing fragrance you cannot stop smelling. However, like dish soap, this type of liquid is too mild for just one attempt. Only use it as a secondary option if your first attempt fails to completely remove the adhesive. Take a look at these simple steps on how to remove adhesive from cars by using fabric softener:

  • Make sure to mix a 50:50 ratio of hot water and fabric softener. Combine these two liquids together in a thorough manner.

  • Dip the rag into the mixture and simply wipe it on the sticky area. Wait until the surface is clear from adhesive.

How to Remove Adhesive Using Gasoline

Aside from its main purpose which is to provide fuel to vehicles, gasoline can also be used for removing adhesive. Check out the following tips on how to remove adhesive from cars by using gasoline:

  • For an easier time searching for that ideal rag, just use an old cotton T-shirt. However, it has to be clean and soft for excellent absorption. It also needs to be big enough to prevent staining your hand with gasoline.

  • To ensure that your hand will stay clean, fold the rag into multiple layers. Also, you have to pour the liquid slowly. Do not use too much gasoline because you might damage your vehicle’s surface.

  • Make circular motions as you rub the adhesive. Do it as if you are washing your car. This step should only last for a few minutes.

  • Do not let gasoline evaporate on your car’s surface. It may damage the paint job or finishing through corrosion. The best way to wash off gasoline is by using warm soapy water. Use two clean rags in this step: one for washing and the other for drying.

  • Afterwards, thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water to avoid burning your skin due to gasoline. Or, you may also use gloves during the entire process. However, do not use latex gloves since they react badly with gasoline.

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How to Remove Adhesive Using Heat

Removing adhesive through heat is the safest method for it does not require any chemicals. The best tool to directly provide heat without any moisture is the hairdryer. The following are ways on how to remove adhesive from cars by using heat:

  • Using intense air from the hairdryer can cause abrasion if the affected area has grime and dirt. The air may forcefully remove small particles, leading to scratches. So, you need to wash the area with soapy water before anything else.

  • Heat easily loosens adhesive for easier removal. With a hairdryer, hot air is easily centered above the area. It will only take a few minutes for this particular process to end.

  • If there are still residues, scrape them off with a plastic card. This should be easy now since the adhesive is too loose already, thanks to the hairdryer’s hot air.

  • Adhesive and tree sap are very similar with one another. Both are sticky and tricky to remove from cars. The tree sap remover is already our last resort if the adhesive fails to completely loosen up from the heat. It is super-safe to use so you do not have to worry about damages on your car’s surface. Just make sure to follow the product’s instructions.

In summary, our tips on how to remove adhesive from cars revolve around simple household products. Dish soaps, fabric softeners, gasoline, and heat are enough to completely eliminate sticky residues after clumsily removing stickers.

For other cleaning tips, learn how to keep a black car clean!

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