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How to remove sticky labels from metal

Metal items often have sticky labels attached. Whether the label is a price tag or other sticker, you likely want the label removed from the metal item. Removing sticky labels from metal is not always as simple as just pulling off the label with your fingers. The label often leaves behind residue from the glue that's difficult to remove. Labels on metal are removed using a variety of common household products.

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  1. Saturate the label with warm water. Use a sponge to thoroughly soak the label.

  2. Scrape the sticker from the metal using a butter knife. If you are worried about scratching the metal in any way, use a plastic pan scraper instead. Work slowly around the edges of the label, moving toward the centre. Apply more water, if necessary.

  3. Wipe down the metal with a damp rag once the paper part of the label is gone. The water may be all that's necessary to remove the sticky label, Even if the label is gone, however, glue residue will likely remain.

  4. Apply a solvent to the affected area of the metal. Use acetone nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, white spirit, household lubricating spray or baby oil. Apply the solvent using a clean, dry rag. Make sure to thoroughly saturate the area with the solvent.

  5. Scrape the area again with a butter knife or pan scraper to lift the glue residue. Apply more solvent and continue scraping until all of the residue is gone.

  6. Wipe the metal with a damp rag to remove any traces of the solvent. Go over the area with a dry rag.

  7. Soak the affected area of the metal with vinegar if the label or residue remains. Soak a rag in white vinegar and lay the rag on top of the label or residue. Allow it to sit overnight. Scrape off the residue with a butter knife the next day. Wipe the metal with a damp rag.

  8. Tip

    Other products that can be used to remove sticky labels from metal include petroleum jelly, toothpaste, hand lotion or mayonnaise. If switching from one removal product to another, make sure to thoroughly wipe the metal with a rag and soapy water to remove any traces of the previous solvent.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Butter knife or plastic pan scraper
  • Rags
  • Acetone nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, white spirit, lubricating spray or baby oil
  • Vinegar

About the Author

Kimbry Parker

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.

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