Around the home, you can find stickers on metal in many places. It could be old bumper stickers on your car, or you have purchased a piece of metal for a new DIY project.
It doesn’t matter what it is. When you try to remove stickers from various surfaces, it always leaves a residue that attracts dirt or stops paint from sticking.
To complete your project, you need a clean surface, and you may wonder how to remove stickers from metal and remove adhesives left by stickers and labels.
Scraping and using a solvent to dissolve the glue or adhesive residue or even heating the residue is the primary way to remove adhesive from metal.
In our guide, you can learn more about how to get stickers off metal using solvents that are not just chemical-based. By the end, you’ll know many ways how to get sticker residue off metal with things from around the home, so you can quickly carry on with your project. (Learn How To Remove Sticky Residue From Plastic)
Best Ways To Remove Sticker Residue from Metal Surface
There’s no need to spend money on specialized solutions for removing stickers. You can find effective ways to do this with products you probably have around the home. Here we have a few methods so you can remove sticker glue from labels, price tags, and more from metal surfaces and others.
Remove Adhesive Residue from Metal By Scraping
On its own or combined with another method, scraping is one of the significant ways to get adhesive off metal. Depending on the situation, loosen the adhesive with a solvent first.
Try rolling the glue into a ball with your fingertips before using any tools. If you use a dull-edged instrument, exert strong pressure and avoid scratching the metal.
Many places recommend a razor blade to peel off dried glue. If you’re afraid of scratching the metal or paint, you can get plastic razor blades from your local home improvement stores.
Alternatives to a razor blade are a putty knife, an old credit card, and anything else that offers a thin edge.
On some occasions, a simple pencil eraser can be effective at scrubbing adhesive, or if it is bare metal, you could smooth stubborn stickers glue residue using fine-grade sandpaper.
Use Oils to Remove Adhesive from Metal
You might be surprised to learn that items in your pantry can remove stickers. Cooking oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil can quickly remove adhesive residue.
Peanut butter is high in oils and works wonders for breaking down the glue.
Spreading oil or peanut butter on the adhesive patch is one way to remove sticker residue from metal. Allow it to sit for about an hour before wiping it away. Clean the object with soapy water and a clean towel, then polish it to a shine.
You might also use a rag dipped in oil and pressed against the sticky residue. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before gently cleaning. Finally, wash with soapy water and a cloth. This method also works to get rid of duct tape residue. (Learn How To Remove Stick On Nails)
Rubbing Alcohol Can Remove Adhesive Residue from Metal
If you wish to remove adhesive residue from metal, especially for difficult stains, rubbing alcohol known as isopropyl alcohol can be used. Pour a small amount of the liquid onto a cotton ball or a piece of fabric. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes after pressing it against the glue.
Rub the stain gently in the same direction as the metal’s grain to remove adhesive residue. Although rubbing alcohol dries rapidly, wash the surface with a moist cloth and soapy water to provide a clean finish.
Remove Adhesive from Metal with Nail Polish Remover
Another strong glue remains remover is acetone. It also works with dry Super Glue, and nail polish remover makes a tremendous DIY whiteboard eraser.
Wear rubber gloves when handling chemicals and open windows and doors for ventilation. It’s also wise to test the cleaner on a tiny area to ensure it doesn’t react with metal.
Soften the glue using a wet towel soaked in nail polish remover. Remove the adhesive. A razor blade may carefully lift the softened glue residue.
Remove any remaining adhesive residue using a dry cloth, and then finish by buffing the metal using a clean cloth if you have a painted surface.
Alternative Ways to Remove Stickers from Metal
While you have just seen a few ways of removing stickers from a metal surface, here are a few more ways of removing glue. Depending on your metal, you may need to place it on some old cardboard boxes to avoid drips.
Solvents That Clean Adhesive Off Metal
- Baby oil
- Mineral spirits
- Denatured alcohol
- For any of the above, spray the adhesive, or to get the glue off metal, hold a solution soaked paper towel against the glue to break the high-strength bond.
- After a few minutes, gently rub with a cloth.
- Repeat if needed.
- Rub off the remaining WD-40 or baby oil.
- Clean up any oily residue with a bit of dish soap on a wet paper towel.
- Dry the metal using a dry paper towel or clean cloth.
If you paint the metal after, you need to ensure no oil residue remains, or the paint won’t stick to the metal surface.
Remove a Sticker Using Vinegar and Nail Polish Remover
It’s no surprise that white vinegar dissolves stickers and sticker residue since you can use it for many cleaning duties, such as removing a registration sticker from a car window.
- Start by easing up one edge of your plastic or foil sticker to remove what you can carefully.
- Rub the sticker with a vinegar-soaked cloth.
- To remove any remaining sticker and its adhesive, rub your dry cloth toward the center.
- Using a clean cloth, wipe away the vinegar.
- Soak a cloth in acetone-based nail polish remover for a few minutes.
- Applying it to the adhesive, and let it soak in for a few minutes.
- Scrape away remaining sticker residue with a scraper and a short-stroke width.
- Use warm water and a little dish detergent to clean the metal.
- Wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Remove Stickers with Coconut Oil and Baking Soda
Begin by moistening the sticker with a damp cloth. Remove the top layers by rubbing the wet sticker. If the sticker is still stuck, you can gently lift the edges with a razor blade.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil and baking soda.
- With a cloth, apply the paste to the metal surface and rub it in to work it into the adhesive.
- Using a moist towel, wipe the metal clean.
- If it’s still sticky, rub it with more paste and clean it with a cloth.
- If you want to avoid harsh chemicals, combining coconut oil and baking soda is a great way to remove glue from metal.
You can use this technique for removing adhesive from plastic surfaces as well.
Removing sticker residue from Painted Metal With Heat
Although most methods for removing glue off a price tag on metal use a solvent, you can use heat to weaken the adhesive bond against the metal surface. Such a solution is ideal for surfaces you don’t want scratched or damaged by harsh chemicals. (Learn How To Remove Sticker Residue From Fabric)
- To remove a sticker from metal, use a hairdryer on the warm.
- Hold your hairdryer several inches away from the metal for a few minutes until the glue softens.
- Wet a cloth using the hottest water you can stand.
- Using your wet cloth, gently rub the glue residue away.
Safety Precautions to Remove Adhesive Residue from Metal
Rubbing alcohol, acetone, mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, WD-40, and spray lubricant effectively removes stubborn glue spots. They do, however, come with risks. Carefully read the package and test a small area first.
Wear gloves and goggles and work in a well-ventilated location. Wear a respirator when working with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. When you come into touch with infected clothing, remove it immediately and wash your skin with soap and water.
These compounds irritate the skin and eyes, as well as injury if inhaled or eaten. If WD-40, denatured alcohol, or spray lubricant is consumed, they can be lethal.
Excessive exposure to denatured alcohol or mineral spirits might lead to death. Mineral spirits may also include a cancer-causing substance.
There are several methods for removing adhesive from metal that does not require professional adhesive removers. Depending on the metal’s surface, you can remove the last traces of adhesive by gently wiping with steel wool. It must, however, be plain metal rather than painted.