Removing Adhesive From Painted Wood

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Rag

  • Cotton swabs

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • White vinegar

  • Bowl

  • Olive oil

  • Grease-fighting dish detergent

  • Acetone-based nail polish remover

  • Hair dryer

  • Adhesive remover


Remove adhesive as soon as possible -- because the longer the adhesive remains on a painted wood surface, the stronger the adhesive bond will become.


Test the removal method in a hidden area to determine if the method will harm the paint.

Price stickers, decorative stickers and name badges all have an adhesive back that sticks to surfaces either purposely or by accident. Removing the stickers typically involves peeling the sticker off the surface. Although the sticker is no longer on the surface, the tacky adhesive residue remains -- and adhesive residue collects dust and dirt and leaves a blemish. Several methods, however, are effective for removing adhesive without damaging the painted wood surface.


Step 1

Rub your finger over the adhesive residue, moving it in only one direction. Continue to rub your finger over the adhesive until the adhesive comes away from the painted wood. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap to warm water and dip a soft, cotton rag in the water. Wipe away the remaining adhesive residue with the damp rag.


Video of the Day

Step 2

Dip a cotton swab or soft rag into rubbing alcohol and rub the tacky adhesive. If the adhesive covers the cotton swab, use a new alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Continue gently rubbing the adhesive until no adhesive remains on the painted wood surface.

Step 3

Mix equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a bowl. Dip a cotton swab into the mixture. Rub the cotton swab over the adhesive until the adhesive is no longer visible and the area no longer feels tacky.


Step 4

Wet a soft rag with olive oil. Rub the olive oil over the adhesive mark until no adhesive remains. Add a squirt of grease-fighting dish detergent to warm water. Dip a sponge or soft rag in the soapy water and wipe the olive oil residue off the surface. Dry the painted wood surface with clean, soft rag.


Step 5

Dip a cotton swab into an acetone-based nail polish remover. Rub the cotton swab over the adhesive until the adhesive disappears. Change cotton swabs frequently as the acetone pulls the adhesive off the painted wood surface and covers the cotton swab. Wipe the painted wood surface with a damp rag to remove the acetone residue.


Step 6

Direct hot air from a hand-held hair dryer at the adhesive residue until the adhesive becomes soft and pliable. Rub a clean, cotton rag over the adhesive, beginning on the outer rim of the adhesive mark and working toward the middle. Continue to heat the adhesive and wipe the painted wood until no adhesive remains.


Step 7

Wet a clean, soft rag with a commercially available adhesive remover. Wipe the adhesive mark with the rag until the adhesive comes off the painted wood surface. Some adhesive removers require applying the adhesive remover to the adhesive mark, letting it remain for five to 15 minutes and then wiping it away with a clean rag. Wipe the area with a damp rag to remove the adhesive-remover residue.