Remove Sticky Label Residue Without Chemicals

I’ve tried lots of different methods for removing labels from glass jars and other surfaces and most of the time ended up with sticky stuff smeared all over the place! I have found the best eco-friendly way to remove the sticky residue left from labels, making it a simple and straight forward affair that doesn’t require a single chemical!

Just One Tool – A Microfibre Cloth

All you need is a strong damp cloth (preferably a microfibre cloth) and plenty of elbow grease. I find wrapping the cloth around 1 of my fingers and pushing the cloth across the glue the most effective method. This works as the cloth grabs the first bit of glue, and then the glue on the cloth grabs the rest. If you have a large amount to remove try using a new clean part of the cloth to every now and again. This is the greenest method I know as it requires no chemicals what so ever, just one reusable cloth, and also is the lowest risk as you don’t need to risk scratching the surface with a scourer.

Not green enough? – Rather then using a microfibre cloth you could try using a cloth made from bamboo instead. I haven’t tested this myself and the bamboo cloth I was kindly given didn’t stay with me long so can’t guarantee it’ll work but perhaps worth a try.

If you find that a cloth alone isn’t enough to remove the glue, try using pure Eucalyptus oil. Soaking the glue in some Eucalyptus oil for 10-15 minutes and then using a microfibre cloth can remove almost all sticky residue, leaving nothing but a clear surface ready for the next label.

Alternative Methods to Remove Sticky Label Residue

If you’ve got the time and if the glue is on a surface small enough, the least energy-consuming alternative method for loosening up label residue is to simply soak it overnight in hot water and eco friendly washing up soap. After a nights soaking you should find that all sticky residue is easily wiped off with a microfibre cloth.

Label Residue Remover for Non-Water Soluble Glue

You may find you have some non-water soluble glue or perhaps have some glue left on something that can’t be soaked in water so the method above wont work, instead try using a hair dryer. After 30 to 60 seconds of being heated up with a hair dryer, the glue should soften and be wiped away easily. Remember to take care not to burn yourself as the surface may be hot.

Over the years cleaning I have discovered many other ways to remove label glue. If none of the methods above work for you leave a comment below and I can post other methods. The ones listed above are my favourite and work almost every time.

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7 Responses to Remove Sticky Label Residue Without Chemicals

  1. Tadgh o shea says:

    The safest and most effective solution for removing adhesive labels or glue from surfaces is Bio-kleen tar,gum,adhesive label remover.
    Just apply small amount on to a microfiber cloth and wipe it across surface to remove any sticky or glued on residues,highly recommended by professional contract cleaners.

  2. Annabelle says:

    I tried your suggestion using Eucalyptus oil and i was shocked to see that it worked really well

  3. barbara says:

    bought a small polished wood table…it has quite a lot of sticky label/tape residue…seems it has been on the surface for ever

    • Adam Mayhead says:

      Hi Barbara. Have you tried using a microfibre cloth? At first it wont pick up much but once it starts to grab the label it’ll really start to come up as the label that’s on the cloth will help grab the stuff on your table.

  4. Georgina Marr says:

    I recently moved in a new house and there was sticky label residue all over the kids bedroom windows. I used a damp microfibre cloth from your suggestion and was surprised to find how easily it come off. It took me just 5 minutes and it’s all off.

  5. Sue says:

    I bought a really cheap frying pan from Tesco – 75p and it had a sticky label that I soaked to remove but it ended up a sticky mess – obviously not water soluble glue. Even though the pan only cost 75p I didn’t want to chuck it away and hadn’t the cheek to ask for my money back. Tried using veg oil as recommnded by the TLC How stuff works page and it worked. But your suggestions looked good too.

  6. Cleaning Services Finchley says:

    Very interesting. Next time I will try the method with the microfiber cloth!

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