How to Remove Stickers With a Hair Dryer

Woman pointing a hair dryer at the bottom of a bowl

The Spruce

Why is it that the ugliest stickers are the hardest to remove? Whether it’s an unsightly price tag on your new piece of decor, or a bold, garish sticker your little one plastered to the wall, it’s a chore in itself just to peel them off. Removing them by hand alone typically results in sticky residue and frustration.

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Watch Now: The Secret to Removing Stubborn Stickers

Here at The Spruce, we’re all about finding new ways to make life just a little bit easier. This trick is super simple AND uses something you probably already have at home—a hair dryer! Choose the highest heat setting on your hair dryer, then hold it one to two inches above the offending sticker. After a minute or two, you’ll find that the heat from the hair dryer has loosened the adhesive making it easier to peel off the sticker. You can say goodbye to messy residue and those leftover slivers of paper on your home goods. If you want all the sticky details, watch the video above to see this trick in action!

The Science of Stickers

Wondering why stickers are so sticky in the first place? It all comes down to something called viscoelasticity and the tight bond between molecules. According to the Scientific American, these adhesives have characteristics of liquids, but when someone or something tries to tear them off of the object they’re attached to they resist it. Who knew there was so much science behind stickers?

Other Sticker Removal Methods

If you have an item that can’t be exposed to prolonged blasts of heat, there are a few other ways you can slide stickers right off. Peek in your pantry and bathroom cabinet to see if you have white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. These two items can help make sticker removal a breeze. 

Olive oil is another fabulous sticker remover. Plop a generous amount of olive oil onto a paper towel or clean cloth and gently rub on the offending sticker. It should slide right off within a minute or two. 

One last option for sticker removal is using warm vinegar and cool water. Take a sponge and soak it in a bowl of warm vinegar. Then saturate the sticker with the solution. Leave it on for a couple of minutes, slowly remove the sticker, and rinse with cool water. This method works especially well with fabric and removing sticker stains from clothing.

Make sure the objects you’re applying olive oil, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol to won’t get damaged by these ingredients. Items like books, clothing, and colorful decorative objects will do better with the hair dryer technique. 

So while we may never understand why stores love stubborn price tags or labels, you at least know how to remove them without a hitch!