How to Get the Labels Off of Stainless Steel

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Don't let sticky labels detract from the sleek appearance of stainless steel.
Don't let sticky labels detract from the sleek appearance of stainless steel. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

A price label or stickers applied by your little sticker collector are easily adhered to a smooth stainless steel surface. Peeling the sticker off is only one part of the task. Once the paper portion of the label is removed, you're left with sticky glue adhesive. If the adhesive is left on the surface, it acts as a magnet to dirt and stains. You can get sticky labels off a stainless steel surface but need to use supplies and removal techniques that won't scratch the steel.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent
  • Spoon
  • Sponge
  • Credit card
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean cloths

Pour 1 cup warm water into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent. Stir the ingredients to make a soapy solution.

Soak a sponge in the detergent solution. Squeeze the sponge to remove excess liquid.

Lay the warm, soapy sponge directly on the label that's stuck to the stainless steel. Leave the sponge in place for 10 minutes to soften the label and glue.

Rub the sponge against the label to loosen it. Scrape as much paper as possible off the stainless steel surface with the edge of a credit card.

The edge of a credit card scrapes off residue without scratching.
The edge of a credit card scrapes off residue without scratching. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Moisten a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol. Rub the alcohol on the label adhesive to break down the stickiness. Continue to rub the surface until the adhesive is removed.

Wipe the stainless steel surface off with the detergent solution. Rinse the surface with a damp cloth. Dry it with another cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use warm vinegar instead of the detergent solution to loosen the label and its adhesive.
  • Alternately, you can soften the adhesive by heating it with a hairdryer set on low.

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