How to Remove Sticky Label Residue Naturally

I often find that the most frustrating problems can have the simplest solutions. Take sticky label gunk, for example.

It is such a trivial thing, but who else here hates it when you peel a label off of a jar (or worse, off of a book!) and it leaves behind that awful, sticky residue?

It looks bad, feels bad, and eventually turns that nasty shade of gray from who-knows-what being stuck to it.

And nothing seems to work to remove it — other than sitting there rubbing it off for half an hour with your fingers. With books and other fragile items, you don’t even want to try to get it off for fear of damaging the pages.

The good news is that there is a solution.

It is cheap, simple, effective, and you may already have it in your home: Lemon essential oil.

I first discovered this trick a little under a year ago. I had been using essential oils for awhile and wanted to repurpose some old bottles. I peeled the label off, and there it was….a sticky ring all the way around the bottle.

I knew lemon essential oil could dissolve plastics and it is great for cleaning so I decided to take a leap of faith and give it a try.

And guess what? It worked!

Not only did it work, but it worked well! The sticky gunk leftover from that label melted off and with very little effort, I was holding a perfectly smooth bottle. Success.

Be careful with plastic products, but this method should work on jars, books (just the covers), wood, and other such materials!

How to Remove Sticky Label Residue Naturally

  1. Collect your supplies: the offending sticky gunk, a bottle of lemon essential oil, and a paper towel or thin piece of cloth. Note that this method works best with fresh residue (where the label has been pulled off recently).
  2. Place a drop or two of lemon essential oil (although we support many different brands of high quality, pure essential oils, this is our favorite organic, wild harvested lemon essential oil) on the corner of the towel.
  3. Hold this corner of the towel over the sticky junk for a few seconds to let the oil start working.
  4. Rub the lemon essential oil into the sticky residue. Depending on how large or dried out the area is, you may need to add more essential oil to the towel.
  5. As the residue begins to loosen and lift away, wipe it off with a clean area of the towel.
  6. Give it a final “polish” with the lemon essential oil.
  7. Ta-da! A container so clean, I can’t take a good picture of it on account of glare.

Wasn’t that easy? What are you going to go clean today?

Comments 10

  1. Pingback: How to Remove Sticky Label Residue Naturally | How We Flourish

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  2. Oh Thank You! I have spent a lot on baking soda and Pam to get the awful sticky gunk off! It kinda works but with a lot of time and elbow grease (pardon pun)! Going to try this instead! It should take minutes instead of 24 hrs!
    Again, THANKS!
    (I clean off labels of Wine bottles to fill them with M&Ms for gifts!)

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  3. Thanks to those for mentioning the orange EO. I’m out of lemon, but have plenty of orange and some sticky labels to get busy on!

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