Home Hacks

Is Martha Stewart's New Hack the Best Way to Remove Stickers?

Naturally, we tested it.

July 25, 2019

It seems like just yesterday that Martha Stewart’s garlic peeling hack was tearing apart the internet. Armed with a pair of mixing bowls, her legions of fans vigorously shook and shook till they had more garlic cloves than they needed (as if that’s even a thing).

Everyone knows we love a Martha hack. So, when we saw that she’s back with a new one, we had to jump right on it. Turns out she knows a thing or two about peeling off those pesky price tag stickers that never seem come off kitchen ware. Naturally, people are obsessed.

If you’re like me, the only trick in your arsenal is the soak, scrape, and fail method: You soak the item in hot soapy water, get tired of waiting, pull it out too soon and scrape off the sticker. Half of it gets left behind, at which point you either take your nail (or some other sharp-edged object) to it, or give up. A simple search on YouTube will yield more sticker hacks than you can handle, from employing odorless mineral spirits to single edge razor tools—even lighter fuel, which is less appealing for obvious reasons.

But Martha's trick is simple, and far less frustrating:

  1. Turn on hairdryer
  2. Point close to sticker for 15-20 seconds (or thereabouts).
  3. Turn off hairdryer.
  4. Experience a micro surge of dopamine as you peel off sticker in one quick motion.

Naturally, we had to try and replicate the success of this video. In the interest of science, we decided to try it with three different kitchen ware materials upon which a sticky price tag was stuck. Here is our verdict on each (with proof attached):

Glass

This was the easiest one, which could be attributed to the fact that stickers peel off easiest on glass, anyway. Not to take away too much from the success of it, because it left no residue, which is a marvelous thing.

Stoneware

Three words: Did. Not. Work. The sticker was as stubborn as ever. I mean...do they bake these on?

This was a no-go for us. Photo by Arati Menon

Stainless Steel

The good news: We got the sticker off in one swift motion. The bad news: We did get some gluey residue (which will probably come off with a scrub). The ease with which the sticker peeled right off though, was a mini marvel. We'll take it, Martha.


Do you have a trick to remove stubborn stickers? Let us know in the comments!

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Comment
Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

28 Comments

baklanyc August 3, 2019
If they're on things small enough to rinse in a sink, I often soak the stickers until they're wet enough to peel off, and while they will leave a gummy residue, a sprinkle of baking soda directly on the moist gum will allow you to rub it right off with just your fingers.

For larger items, I peel the sticker off as much as I can by hand then the baking soda works on the residue. I had some gum residue from a label on a floor lamp, and just a sprinkle of baking soda and a moist rag took it clean off with no toxic chemicals or excessive moisture.
 
Adrienne B. August 2, 2019
Even when you get the label off, sometimes there is stubborn glue left behind. Thrift stores where all sorts of wonderful treasures are found have a penchant for using some kind of awful packing tape that leaves a horrible sticky residue which seems impervious to almost everything - except Nail Polish Remover. Yes, plain old acetone works wonders for getting rid of glue left from labels. It will also make quick work of permanent marker marks. My manicure bag is used more for the household than me - acetone for cleaning, nail file for renewing wooden spoons, nail polish for marking the back of the remotes so we know which one goes with which TV.
 
Bob Q. August 1, 2019
I use a spray of isopropyl alcohol which is also a great, cheap, countertop, streakless stainless appliance and mirror spray cleaner. Even works on that pesky stoneware and most plastics. Hey it disinfects too!
 
ustabahippie August 1, 2019
Goo gone for the worst stickers.
 
rhonda H. August 2, 2019
Yes! GooGone is the best! Sometimes use vegetable oil if I can't find my GooGone.
 
Cherie August 1, 2019
I find a little oil of any kind - olive, canola, whatever - and a gentle rub with a rag will remove most adhesives.
 
Debbie August 1, 2019
For glass bottles only! Boil water, fill bottle go about an inch higher than the label, wait 15 seconds use tip of knife or plastic scraper at an edge & it will come off easily as you’ve loosened the glue. If you wait too long the label will re-stick & you’ll have to do it again. If there is any glue residue use alcohol or wash in hot soapy water, goo gone etc.
 
Carolyn S. August 1, 2019
Remove as much as possible, then make a paste of coconut oil and baking soda. Let it sit, then scrub it off with hot water. (In fact, the hairdryer might help at that point: AFTER it has soaked in - but I haven’t tried that so I don’t know.)
 
Author Comment
Arati M. August 1, 2019
Aha, a double whammy! Makes sense. Can't wait to try this.
 
Paul W. August 1, 2019
Use peanut butter. It works on all surfaces. Just leave it on for a while, maybe 30 minutes.
 
Robert P. August 1, 2019
Peanut butter. Slather it on, let sit overnight. The oil in it will soften the adhesive, and the rest will hold it in and place while it works.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. August 1, 2019
Wow, now that's a pantry hack I'll have to try!
 
Joe C. August 1, 2019
DW 40!
 
Katherine O. July 30, 2019
GooGone has always worked for me.
 
Catherine July 29, 2019
Any type of oil will work. Just apply it to the label and leave it to soak in. It will come right off.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. July 29, 2019
What I'm learning is that so much depends on the kind of material, as well as the kind of adhesive on the sticker. I will certainly try the oil method — seems like it could work on stainless steel, glass and plastic. Thanks, Catherine.
 
Donnie D. July 27, 2019
I tried rubbing alcohol, then Dawn liquid mixed with white vinegar, then baking soda, hot soap and water to no avail on a particularly sticky adhesive tape on a stainless steel glass. The adhesive came off effortlessly using undiluted orange essential oil.
 
Gammy July 26, 2019
I would like to know how to remove big labels, like the ones on glass jars so the jar can be reused or recycled. Currently I use Goo Gone, but it can't be absorbed by labels with a plastic coating as so many are these days. I end up soaking in warm water to be able to remove the top layer of the label in pieces and allow the Goo Gone to sit and penetrate what is left of the paper, then I scrape, scrape, scrape that remaining paper and adhesive crud off the jar. Boy, I wish manufacturers would go back to the old-fashioned water-soluble glue.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. July 26, 2019
I would try Martha's hack on your glass jar, Gammy. We tried it on glass, and it worked! You don't need to run the dryer on for too long, in case you're worried about the heat—15 seconds or so. Good luck!
 
Gammy July 29, 2019
Thanks Arati M., I will try that on my next jar and sure hope it works as well as it should. On a side note, I did use Martha's hairdryer method on a metal lid to remove a paper label. It loosened up the perimeter nicely enough that I could get a fingernail hold on the label, but when I tugged on it, only about 1/3 the label came free. After a second heating, I was able to get the top layer of paper, but still paper and adhesive remained. I had to go back to soaking with Goo Gone to completely clean. I'm not giving up on this alternate method as I think it cuts down on the time involved, which definitely helps!
 
Author Comment
Arati M. July 29, 2019
Time saved is time spent on trying new home hacks ;)
 
Irene W. July 26, 2019
Rubbing alcohol or sometimes a more sticky tape. Be careful of the more sticky tape, test first, you could just make a bigger problem.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. July 26, 2019
Thanks for the tip, Irene. That would be my worry with sticky tape—creating a bigger problem. But I'd totally try it out...
 
tinybanquet July 26, 2019
If you don't have rubbing alcohol handy, I found you can actually use Purell. It's mostly rubbing alcohol anyway, and you can kind of let it soak into the label because it's so thick.
 
Winn A. July 25, 2019
Two words: goo gone.
 
HalfPint July 25, 2019
Yep
 
touchedpainter August 1, 2019
Goo Gone is a highly toxic product. It is NOT ALLOWED in my house. Just the fumes are so poisonous, I do not allow it anywhere near food, nor noses. Just breathing a little can damage every organ in humans, animals, can kill birds. Read the label & google the ingredients. WD_40 isn't any better. There is a plethora of organic & completely safe every day eating products that are just as effective if not working better. We need to clean up our homes of toxins, the risk we are taking with our trusting family members, is just not worth it. Thank you L E P
 
DMStenlake August 2, 2019
Aren’t those 2 products wd40 and goo gone a petroleum product? Orangeguard works, as it’s oily, also non-toxic and keeps those tiny ants away! Besides that, who keeps a hairdryer in the kitchen. The dishwasher does a good job on the glass labels 🙃