How To Get Sticky Residue Off Wood

How To Get Sticky Residue Off Wood

If you have been using crafts on your wooden table recently, or if some sticky stuff has made its way onto wood, you will want to remove it.

The trick is to be gentle, and move on if something clearly isn’t working. This is because if you rub and scratch, you will likely damage the wooden surface. 

In this article, we shall look at some simple ways to remove glue from wooden furniture or ornaments. You might just be surprised at some of the things you can do!

So, let’s get to it.

Before You Start

If you have gotten glue on a precious piece of furniture, then always test the solution on an inconspicuous area first. This way, if it reacts, it will be hidden out of sight.

Also, not all methods may work, but that doesn’t mean none of them will. Just always remember to make sure that if you use a substance, it has been wiped away before you use another one. 

How To Remove Sticky Residue Off Wood

Here are a few things to try to remove sticky residue and avoid damaging the wood:

Hair Dryer And Clean Rag

If it is glue that you accidentally got onto the wood and it has dried, there is a simple and easy solution to remove it. 

Using low heat, gently warm the glue up with a hairdryer. Make sure to move the hairdryer back and forth as you don’t want it to be a stationary blast of heat (just like how you would use it on your hair).

Once the glue starts to melt, take a clean rag and simply wipe it away. If that doesn’t work, then there are more tips to try!

Vegetable Oil

This might sound strange, but vegetable oil has been known to remove sticky residue. Like the above method, apply oil onto the area and let it soak in for around 2 hours.

Use a hairdryer on the lowest warm setting to help loosen the sticky substance. Then take a rag that you have dipped into warm water and soap, squeeze out the residue and wipe the stickiness away.

Then, dry with a clean cloth.

Soap And Water

If you are reluctant to use heat, you can always try the trusty soap and water method. Using an old but clean rag, dip it into hot soapy water, squeeze out some water, and press it onto the sticky area.

This should be left for a few minutes to work. Once the time is up, remove the rag and scrape away the sticky substance using your nails or a tool.

Be careful not to scratch the wood with this method, so slow and steady is best!

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polisher–or Acetone– is another good sticky substance remover, but make sure not to use too much and to be gentle as possible, as it will damage other coatings.

Apply a very small amount to a swab or cotton ball and then rub it softly over the area in circular motions. 

The trick is to only apply it to the area that has the sticky residue and not onto the clean area. 

Once you are satisfied with the nail polish job, wipe the sticky stuff away with a clean, dry cloth. Then take a damp cloth and wipe the area to move any traces left of nail polish.

Furniture Polish

This one will take a bit of elbow grease but is rather effective. Using a clean cloth, rub the area with furniture polish but make sure you are gentle. 

It likely will not disappear at first, so keep repeating the process until no sticky residue is left. 

This is a safe way to clean away the residue if you are worried about affecting the wood. Just make sure you are gentle!

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is good at removing stickers, and is safe to use on wood.

Apply the mineral oil onto the affected area, and then use a clean, dry cloth to remove it. It may take a bit of scrubbing, but be as light as possible.

Once it has been removed, use another clean cloth to remove any excess oil. 


This one may not be the top choice, but it does work. However, you need to be extra careful not to damage the wood.

To start, wear gloves and safety goggles, and arm yourself with 600-grit sandpaper.

Use it to rub at the sticky area, and do so until the paper has become level with the surface of the wood. The trick is to make sure that you don’t sand the wood, but just the sticky bit.

Once you are level, change to 1200-grit sandpaper. This is much finer, and will work on the rest of the sticky residue. Keep rubbing gently until the last of it has been removed.

Remove anything else with a dry cloth, and restain the wood if necessary.

Commercial Sticky Remover

If all the above fail, then there are commercial options available. Make sure that the one you choose is safe on wood, like this one by Goo Gone.

To use it safely, follow the instructions on the package – never try and do your own thing. This could end up damaging the wood!

Final Words

While sticky residue on wood can be a nightmare, cleaning it is not that hard. Follow the simple tips above to remove that sticky stuff easily!

Diarmuid Brock

I'm a carpenter by day and an amateur woodworker by night. I don't believe in limitations, and I love to help others. I'm here to answer your questions and make your life simpler. I craft and create with all-natural, reclaimed, and repurposed materials.

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