How to Remove Adhesive Residue from Paper

Cotton swabs in a jar on a countertop.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
Cotton swab
Isopropyl alcohol
Small bowl
What You'll Need
Cotton swab
Isopropyl alcohol
Small bowl

If you need to remove adhesive from paper products you need to be able to do it correctly. Trying to remove adhesive the wrong way can easily damage the paper you're trying to save. The following article will guide you through properly removing adhesive from paper and paper products.

Step 1 - Remove the Sticker

When you want to remove something like a sticker from a paper product, you need to find a way of doing so without damaging the paper below the sticker. This is especially important if you are trying to save something like a vintage video game. Apply the alcohol to the sticker so that it is saturated. This will dissolve the adhesive and you can easily peel off the sticker. If there is no sticker present, then move on to the next step.

Step 2 - Treat the Area

Pour some of the alcohol into a small bowl. Dip one end of the cotton swab in the alcohol and gently dab it on the adhesive until it is wet but not completely soaked.

Step 3 - Remove Adhesive Residue

Before the alcohol dries, use the dry end of the cotton swab to gently rub away the residue.

Remove Adhesive Residue FAQ

How do you get sticker residue off paper?

A solvent may be the best way to remove adhesive from paper. Alcohol and vinegar both dissolve glue, for example.

Soak a cotton ball, or several, in alcohol or vinegar, and place this directly on the adhesive residue. Let this soak for about five minutes and then use a dull plastic scraper to remove the residue.

Hold the scraper at a 45-degree angle to remove the residue.

How do you remove dried adhesive residue?

To remove dried adhesive, try heating it up first with a hair dryer to soften the glue. Soak a clean cloth in vinegar or rubbing alcohol and apply this to the residue.

The alcohol or vinegar will help to dissolve the glue so it can be wiped away. You may need to do this a few times before the glue comes off.

How do you get glue residue off cardstock?

If glue residue has hardened, you can gently run a razor around the edge of the glue to gently lift it and use the razor to pry up the glue.

Some types of glue residue may not be scraped with a razor. For these adhesives, apply vinegar or alcohol directly to the affected paper and let it soak for a few minutes.

How do you remove sticky label residue from books?

Book pages sometimes have stickers and labels on them that leave a residue behind. Soak the tip of a cotton swab in alcohol and gently rub it on these sticky areas to remove the residue.

Does rubbing alcohol remove adhesive?

May common adhesives dissolve when alcohol is applied to them. Common rubbing alcohol is highly effective at removing many different types of adhesives.