There are many reasons why stickers might end up on a piece of wooden furniture in the first place, children playing, manufacturers’ stickers, or price labels.
However, the one thing that is for certain, no matter where they came from, stickers can be difficult to remove from wood surfaces. Even when you manage to peel the paper off, you are left with a sticky residue that affects the appearance of the wood and is generally just annoying.
In this article, we will look at some of the most effective ways to get stickers off of wood, including the residue.
Hair Dryer Method
The thermal method of removing stickers is one of the best go-to methods because it requires very few products. For this method, all you need is a regular hair dryer that you probably already have in your home or your workshop.
You may also want to have a thin palette knife handy to make this method easier, but you can use your fingers if you don’t have one.
The first step in the thermal method is to turn the hair dryer on to its lowest heat setting and power. If the heat is too intense you could end up damaging your wood.
Holding the hair dryer close to the sticker, but not touching it, you should heat the sticker and its glue for 3 – 5 minutes. After 3 – 5 minutes the glue on the sticker should be soft and pliable, this is where a palette knife comes in handy.
Set the hair dryer aside and gently pry up the edges of the sticker, gently peel the sticker until it has completely lifted from the surface.
Any remaining glue can simply be cleaned off with a damp cloth before it hardens again. With a quick polish, your wooden surface or furniture will be looking as good as new again.
While the thermal method can be used on almost any wood finish, the solvent method should be used with a little bit more caution. If you want to preserve a glossy finish, this is not the best option. However, if you are going to refinish the wood, this will work just fine.
Solvents such as Acetone and rubbing alcohol are great for breaking down the sticky residue that is left behind after peeling a sticker off of wood. For this method, you will need a damp, soft cloth, preferably white, and a solvent. The cloth should be white to avoid color transfer from the cloth to the wood.
Moisten the cloth with your solvent of choice, don’t use too much as you don’t want alcohol dripping all over the place. Gently dab the sticker residue, to begin with, until it becomes dampened by the solvent.
You can then begin to gently rub the sticker, circular motions work best, to help lift it from the surface. Once all of the sticker residue has been removed from the wood, simply wash the surface with some warm water and allow it to dry.
If you are concerned about how the solvent will affect the finish of the wood, you should test it on a small, inconspicuous area first.
The vinegar method of removing stickers is a great alternative to the solvent method if you are concerned about damaging the finish of the wood.
This method is particularly effective at removing dried-on sticker residue that is very stubborn, but the vinegar is not a corrosive cleaning agent so the surface of the wood will be preserved.
For this method, you will need white or distilled vinegar, a clean white cloth, and a soapy sponge. Begin by applying the vinegar to the residue.
You should be generous with the vinegar and ensure that the entire area is moistened with it. Leave the vinegar to completely soak into the residue for at least 5 minutes.
Once the sticker residue has been softened, you can begin to remove it from the surface. Because it is soft, you can use your hands to simply roll it away from the surface, or you could use a palette knife if you prefer.
Once you have removed the majority of the residue, you can wash the surface with a sponge and warm soapy water.
The sandpaper method is a great option if you have acquired a piece of wood or furniture that is covered in stickers and you want a blank canvas to work with.
For this method, you will need a medium grain sandpaper sheet and block, as well as a lot of elbow grease. This method isn’t the quickest or the easiest on this list but does produce good results.
Wrap your sandpaper sheet around your sanding block and get to work. It is easier to begin sanding the area that has the stickers on first as it is the part that will take most of the effort.
Keep sanding until all of the stickers and their residue have been removed. You can then even up the finish by sanding the rest of the surface to give you a freshly prepared surface to work with.
Hot Water Method
This method is another easy and convenient option as you are likely to have the products you need in your home already. For this method, you will simply need hot or warm soapy water, and a clean cloth or sponge.
Apply the soapy water to the sticker residue, ensuring that you are being generous with the water. The more soaked the residue is, the easier it will be to remove.
Keep applying the water until you notice the residue begins to soften and lift. You can remove the sticker with your fingers or a palette knife. Simply wash the area with the leftover water to remove any last traces.
There are multiple ways to remove stickers from wood surfaces. Some are perfect for protecting the finish of the wood if necessary while others get the job done quickly but at the expense of glossy finishes.