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Sticky Labels, Begone. Use This Household Item to Remove a Sticker in Seconds

Removing labels and stickers from a surface can be a pain, but there is a way to get them off without leaving behind sticky residue.

A blast of hot air can help you peel off unwanted stickers and labels.
James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Try This, CNET's collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

You just bought a reusable water bottle or an expensive scented candle in a nice glass container, but it has a sticker or label stuck on it. It's difficult to remove, it spoils the look of your purchase and you can't stop thinking about it. You do have the option to leave the sticker alone and not deal with it, but that won't do, so you scratch it off with your fingers. And just like you knew would happen, a bunch of adhesive residue stays stuck to the surface of your item, which also keeps it stuck in your head.

Obviously you could spray and scrub with water and soap or use a cleaning solution to help remove stuck glue or gunk, but that takes some effort. It could also end up scratching or damaging the surface of your item, especially if it's fragile like an electronic display or an antique, or if it's soft like a magazine or book.

There's an another way to remove stubborn stickers without leaving anything behind: All you need is a little heat. Here's how to remove those annoying stickers and labels. For more tips, here's how to start a fire with Doritos and wash your car without water.

@cnetdotcom Yes, your blow dryer can help remove stickers too. #diy#hacks#advice#howto#hairtok#decor♬ original sound - paramind

Use a blow dryer to remove an annoying sticker

CNET Try This

The easiest way to remove a stubborn sticker is with a hair dryer. You could try another device that generates heat, such as a heat gun or a portable heater, but those are sometimes harder to use to properly get warm air directly on the area you want.

To remove the sticker, simply grab a hair dryer, crank up its heat setting, and place the nozzle a few inches away from the sticker. Move the hair dryer around to heat up the entire sticker. After 30 seconds to 1 minute, turn the blow dryer off and carefully check to see if you can peel off the sticker. If it's still not ready, give it another 30 seconds and try to carefully remove the sticker again.

Why does a hair dryer remove stickers and labels? 

The heat from the hair dryer melts the adhesive on the back on the stick, loosening its grip on the item and allowing you to peel off the sticker. Don't wait too long to remove the sticker though: After you turn off the heat, the adhesive will slowly cool and reattach to the surface, making it difficult to remove again.

Which kinds of surfaces will a hair dryer work on?

The heat method can work on many surfaces, including glass, wood, metal, fabric, ceramic and cardboard. However, be careful with plastic, because heat could potentially melt and damage the plastic. 

While this trick might work with electronics, I would advise against it. The extended exposure to heat could potentially overheat and damage the device, especially if you're trying to remove an army of stickers from something like the lid of your laptop.

Removing stickers with a hair dryer.

This trick works with sticker bunches too.

James Martin/CNET

What about larger stickers?

If you've got a sticker that covers a bit of surface area, like the ones that wrap around glass water bottles, you'll need to tackle the sticker section by section. Start off by heating a corner and then peeling off as much as you can. Once you feel some resistance, heat the next section and continue doing this until the large sticker comes completely off.

And if there's still residue on my item?

Some stickers are, well, sticky, so there might still be some residue left behind on the surface, even after heating it. If you do see some residue, you can use a bit of olive oil to get rid of it. 

Pour a tiny bit of olive oil on the sticker residue, rub it over the area with your finger, let it sit for a few seconds, and then use your fingernails to scrape off the remaining gunk. If you put too much olive oil, clean it up with a bit of water and dish soap once the residue is completely removed.

For more tips, here's now to wash you car without water and how to make a cake without a cake tin.