Thursday, October 25, 2012

Removing Stickers and Sticker Glue from Wood/Antiques

In front of me stood not only a gorgeous antique dresser, but the task of removing the Avery labels that were applied by a previous owner.  Someone obviously needed reminding of which drawers had their pants and shirts so labels were stuck to each drawer.  When I purchased the dresser, most of the drawers had the labels pulled off and the sticky residue was left behind.  Other drawers had the sticker paper still on. 

These labels needed to go!

Let's first start with what not to do to remove stickers from wood.  And when dealing with antiques, you need to be extra careful. 
1. Do NOT use nail polish remover.
2. Do NOT use an Exacto knife or any other knife to scrape it off.
3. Do NOT use Goo Gone or any other harsh remover.

Now that I've taken away your "old-standby" products, what's left? 
1.  Minwax Wood Cleaner:  According to a rep for Minwax, this can be applied with a cottonball.  Saturate the sticker and let sit a few hours. Then the sticker should wipe off.  Unfortunately, in my area, I could not find this product.  We only had the hardwood floor cleaner by Minwax and that didn't do the trick. 
2.  Howard Feed-n-Wax:  Since I already had this amazing product on hand, I decided to see if it could do the same as the Minwax cleaner.  I applied it with an old t-shirt to the drawers that were just glue (no sticker paper).  I didn't even need to let it sit.  It started to come right off.  So I alternated between the saturated cloth and a clean cloth until it came off.  As for the stickers with paper, I soaked them for a few hours and then gently worked on getting them off.  Carefully, I peeled them off with my fingers and then continued to saturate and rub off.
No more stickers!
In the end, the Howard Feed-n-Wax did not harm the wood, and there's no sign of there ever having been stickers except for one small area that was there from the previous owner trying to peel them away.  I'd love to hear if you have any other ideas that have worked for you.

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