How to Get a Sticker Off After Going Through the Dryer

Stickers are difficult to remove when they have dried into place.
Stickers are difficult to remove when they have dried into place. (Image: Hapa/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Clothing often ends up in the laundry with stickers still attached. Children use stickers to show their achievements and personalities. From your son getting a sticker for exceptional performance in school to your husband wearing a label proclaiming that he gave blood today, stickers can be an honor to wear, but a nightmare to remove when you accidentally wash the shirt and dry the sticker in place. A number of methods will help you unstick the sticker after it has made a trip through the dryer.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter knife or scraper
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Scrub brush
  • Alcohol or oil
  • Acetone
  • Lighter fluid

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Scrape away as much of the sticker and residue as you can with a butter knife or flat-blade scraper. The more you can remove now, the less cleaning solution you will need to use.

Mix dishwashing liquid and warm or hot water until it forms suds. Soak the bristles of a toothbrush or similar scrubbing brush in the soapy water and scrub the stain. The water and soap should loosen some of the adhesive. Scrub and scrape to remove as much as you can.

Ventilate your work area by opening windows or running exhaust fans. Some of the chemical removal products produce strong fumes that can be dangerous in closed areas.

Dab rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil or WD-40 oil onto the sticker adhesive and allow it to sit for five minutes, loosening the glue. Scrub and scrape to remove the loosened adhesive.

Apply acetone, commonly found in nail polish remover, to the stain and allow it to work for five to 10 minutes. Scrape away loosened adhesive.

Rub lighter fluid into the area using the same method as acetone. Remember that this product is extremely flammable, so use only in cool, well-ventilated areas.

Repeat applications of any of the glue-removal products, combined with scraping and scrubbing, until the sticker and residue are removed. Launder the garment as usual to remove residual product.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spot test your adhesive removal product on an inconspicuous area or inside area of the clothing. Some of the products, including acetone, can discolor garments.
  • Do not use adhesive removal products on dry clean-only clothing. Take these clothing pieces to a professional cleaner.


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