How to Remove Sticker Residue from Clothing


Kathy asked: How do I remove adhesive residue from a Champion, Under Armour type shirt? My son put a sticker on his shirt. The adhesive does not come off in the regular wash. I tried alcohol with no luck. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

Children love to display their prized stickers on their shirts and other articles of clothing. Unfortunately, if they are not removed prior to washing, the paper part of the sticker washes away and leaves an outline of sticky residue. This is a problem that has ruined many pieces of children’s clothing. Fortunately, there is a way to remove the sticker residue.

You Will Need:


  • Removal Product: (pick one)
    • Dish soap
    • WD-40
    • Peanut butter
    • Vegetable oil
    • Avon Skin-So-Soft
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Goo Gone
  • Soft brush (old toothbrushes work well)
  • Laundry detergent

Steps to Remove the Sticker Residue:

  1. Select one of the removal products above.
  2. Apply the product to the adhesive.
  3. Massage the area with your fingers to work the product into the adhesive. This may take several minutes. Most of the above products are lubricants. Once the lubricant gets into the adhesive, it will loosen it so it can be removed.
  4. Another step to remove the adhesive further is to scrub the area gently with a soft toothbrush. Do this after the product has been well-worked into the adhesive.
  5. Next, launder the garment as usual. If desired, apply some laundry detergent directly to the area as a pre-treatment. This is especially helpful when using products such as peanut butter or vegetable oil. Do not place the garment into the dryer until the stain is gone, as this will set it.
  6. Wash the garment as normal and allow it to dry.
  7. Repeat as necessary until the adhesive is removed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Most clothing will not be affected, but some delicate/sensitive fabrics can become stained from the use of the removal products. If you are unsure, test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure there is no discoloration.
  • Lighter fluid is another product that can be used to remove adhesive. This requires more caution as lighter fluid is obviously flammable. Use only in a well-ventilated area and ensure the product is completely removed from the clothing prior to placing it in the dryer.
  • These removal products should only be used on washable for fabrics. For dry clean only clothing, have the adhesive removed by a professional dry cleaner.



  1. Peanut butter works as a stain remover!?! WOW! I would of never thought of that. Have you ever tried cleaning clothing with peanut butter? Not me. But I will. Since I really need to get the sticker residue of my daughter’s dress and shirt. So, thanks for making this!

  2. Carletta says:

    My daughter left a large sticker on her work shirt. When it came out of the wash, there was the sticky residue. Soaked the shirt sleeve in Goo Gone. Then used a toothbrush to remove it. You are right on target – Thanks!!!

  3. That was the best advice! I used WD-40 to take the sticker adhesive off the package on my tights/leggings! Thank you so much!

  4. Thank you so much for this advice; the vegetable oil got the washed sticker residue off her shirt beautifully and without much work at all. I just put some on there, rubbed it in and then used a nail brush and it came off so easy. Thanks for helping save the day.

  5. Hey,
    I did a Google search (in lieu of calling the cleaners) first to see if I could find some help. At our (very large) church, the kids are labeled with stickers and a number to keep track of names and to connect parents with the kids. Someone stuck my daughter’s sticker to the back of her furry Gymboree “Sunday coat” – a complete disaster when we tried to take the sticker off. The coat, which is WHITE and very furry, is ruined if I can’t get the sticky stuff off. I worked on removing the sticker for at least 25 minutes (no lie!), and there’s sticky goo in the square area of the sticker. I don’t want to put peanut butter or anything oily on the coat, and I can’t exactly “scrub” the furry coat with a toothbrush. Is anything safe for this type of fabric/material? Help! I’m scared to try any “home remedies” without being sure it won’t make a bigger mess. At the same time, I’m afraid the cleaner won’t handle the coat with as much care as I would, though, you know?

  6. OMG, Peanut butter really works!

    My son forgot to pull off his number sticker from his uniform shorts after his race, and it left a chuck of sticky adhesive after the wash. I tried the dish soap first, but it didn’t work. Since I have peanut butter in my cupboard, I said, “Why not? Let’s try it.” I used a toothbrush to scrub in the peanut butter and pour more dish soap onto the peanut butter. I hand washed the shorts and the stains came off instantly. Amazing! Thank you!

  7. I used Dawn dish soap on a shirt that I have had forever that I never wear, but really liked. I left a sticker on it from a relay and washed it. The sticker residue WOULD NOT come off. Finally, I read this and I had Dawn dish detergent and peanut butter. I figured I would try the dish soap first, and if that didn’t work I would resort to the peanut butter. I put some soap on it and scrub scrub scrubbed it. It came out and looks great!! :)

  8. Sweet Mama of Minnie Pearl…PEANUT BUTTER WORKS!! I had a Cub Scout uniform that I was removing the iron-on patches from, which left a gooey mess. Smeared on the peanut butter, some laundry detergent, and viola!

  9. Dawn plus a plastic pot scrubber worked for my son’s Under Armor shirt – thanks!

  10. Yup, the old peanut butter did the trick! My wife almost always handles the laundry, but this load was mine and I didn’t notice the white sticker (from the dentist) on my son’s favorite BLACK Darth Vader tee. I found it when I pulled it out of the dryer! After three minutes of lightly scrubbing a peanut butter/dish soap mixture into the “disaster area,” the residue was gone! Thanks for the advice, now back to my yard work and I’ll leave the laundry to our pro.

  11. Yup, the peanut butter worked, even on an Under Armor/athletic type shirt. I just smeared it on and rubbed a tiny bit with a toothbrush and could see it was already gone. Easy!

  12. After my daughter was clubbing in Zante green labels were stuck and left on a dress which I then washed. I couldn’t get the green sticky residue off at all. I sprayed Skin-so-Soft onto the area and scraped gently with a knife, and it came off in 10 seconds. Thanks, and now the dress can be worn again!

  13. I forgot to remove the price stickers from fabric that I bought and ended up putting them through the wash and dry. It was extremely fuzzy, medium/short pile fabric. I used rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush and it got nearly all of it off in one go. Thanks for posting this! :)

  14. I used vegetable oil just like you said and it left a huge oil stain on my pants even after washing. My pants are pretty much ruined now.

  15. I bought a new shirt and forgot to take the long sticker that says the size and washed and dried it. I went to go try it on and it looked like a barf stain! I washed and dried it 5 times, still there, just tried this… GONE!! So awesome! BTW I used Dawn. <3 U thx!

  16. Peanut butter worked! I tried rubbing alcohol and dish soap, and finally resorted to the peanut butter. Thank you!

  17. I forgot to take off the name tag sticker that I had to wear during a party and after washing, I saw what it did to my shirt. Luckily, using alcohol solved my problem. Thanks for sharing this; it saved me a lot of trouble.

  18. Eclanton says:

    To Sara…oil stains can be removed by rubbing or drawing with chalk on the area. I usually leave the chalk on for a few minutes, then launder as usual. Try again if all of it is not gone after the first washing!

  19. WD-40 WORKED!!! Amazing…didn’t want to throw away my Black Keys Tee.
    Super suggestion…thanks!

  20. Thank you so much!!!! I started with dish washing liquid, then used some veggie oil, and then some more dish washing liquid. The gooey junk is gone!!! Thanks so much! Now I can wear my cute shirt again!!!

  21. Happy Mom says:

    I used WD-40 on my son’s H.S. varsity cross country shorts – someone from last year put a sticker on the side mesh part and the whole mesh panel was sticky. It worked beautifully. Took me about 30 seconds of rubbing it in, and it was off. Thank you!

  22. Impressed says:

    I tried rubbing alcohol and it didn’t work. Was scared to try the PB for fear of oil stains, but finally gathered up the nerve. Holy smoke! It really works! Very impressive!

  23. Thank you for the WD-40 suggestion! The shirt was a rather expensive nylon/polyester sport jersey. It went through the washer and dryer with a name tag left on and I thought the shirt was a loss. The WD-40 worked easily and immediately. I saturated the dried on glue residue with the WD-40 and then lightly rubbed the glue off. Laundered the shirt, and amazing! ALL of the nasty sticker mess was gone; not a sign of it left. So grateful for the tip!

  24. I had a “soft” long sleeve henley where the size sticker left nasty spots of adhesive. I have never liked the idea of using oils since I have more than a few light stained areas from food grease. So I opted to try the alcohol.

    Alcohol worked with a cotton swab, but I did notice some of the fuzzy fibers came along with the adhesive, but I do not think it had anything to do with the alcohol.

  25. Misselaine says:

    My three-year-old son has a Nike Dri Fit shirt that had a sticker left on it in the washer. I tried to get it off by spraying it with Shout and letting it sit and then repeatedly washing it. Eventually, I put it back into his drawer and let him wear it. I figured that he’s three and not all of his clothes are perfect. But the result was the sticker spot ended up with dirt stuck to it so now it was a dirty spot that wouldn’t clean up no matter what I tried. When a sticker was recently left on a second shirt, I decided to look for answers on the web. I didn’t have success with dish soap – Dawn Direct Foam. I soaked it for hours in the dish soap, but it didn’t work. Then, I tried peanut butter on the first shirt. It took several applications and a lot of scrubbing, but it came out. I tried it on the second shirt and it was much easier. Both shirts are in great shape! The only thing I want to warn people about is the Nike swoosh is now starting to peel off from the first shirt. The swoosh is located about 3 inches from where the sticker was so I may have accidentally gotten Shout, dish soap and/or peanut butter on it. But the swoosh issue may also be unrelated.

    Thank you everyone for your posts!

  26. Well, my daughter had a track number sticker wash and dry on. I put the shirt in the freezer and then tried duck tape. I got most off. Then redid it. Her shift was saved.

  27. The rubbing alcohol made my shirt go all fuzzy and turn purple. :(

  28. Mommy To Five says:

    I wouldn’t use veg oil. Oils stain clothes.

  29. Track number washed and dried on my son’s uniform. Zout did nothing. Hand scrubbing did little. Soaking did little.

    WD-40 worked in 30 seconds. Dissolved the stuff, and then I washed it; good as new.

  30. Mommy to 25 says:

    WD-40 worked instantly. I’m so glad people put up tips.

  31. I used vegetable oil, rubbed it in for a few seconds, then used a nail brush to get the sticker residue off. It worked perfect. I washed it by hand with dish soap, then put it in the wash. Good as new.

  32. I would not use anything oil based to start with. I had three shirts with size sticker residue; two white shirts and one blue. First lesson was: don’t rip the stickers off like a Band-aid. Anyway, saw this and thought, “ok let’s start with the basics.” Used Dawn and it worked immediately. Just poured it on the area and used my finger to rub in, then used my fingernail to scrape the residue. Rinsing my nail throughout the process. Rinsed the shirts with very warm water. Worked perfectly. I was afraid to use a nail brush because it may cause damage to the fabric or color change.

  33. Just removed a washed AND dried sticker from my son’s shirt using Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush. Worked beautifully! Thanks for the tips!

  34. The dish soap worked. Wish I had discovered this sooner.

  35. WD-40 worked awesome! My husband put duck tape on his army uniform and it left the tape residue. Tried oil, didn’t work. Dish soap didn’t work, but WD-40 did the job wonderfully.

    Thanks for the tip!!!

  36. Peanut butter, yes, try it now! I am SO HAPPY!!! I just had instant (I’m talking 10 seconds) success fixing a sticker residue problem on my daughter’s soft, fluffy, cream-colored baby snow suit. I had put a Cinderella sticker on it and it left a sticky film, which turned black on the tips of the fabric fibers (from dirt I guess). After getting the spot wet with water and dish soap and nothing happening, I then wiped just a finger tip amount of PEANUT BUTTER on the fabric and simply pulled the black sticky stuff right off the ends of the fibers with my fingernail! It may have been because the fabric was already wet and slick with dish soap that the peanut butter worked so great, I don’t know, but I definitely felt it “stick” as soon as I put it on and it seemed to “slide” the sticky black stuff right off as I pulled with my nail.

  37. Thanks for the advice! My husband had worn a name tag on his baseball jersey and I didn’t notice the sticker residue until after I washed it. After reading the advice, I used dish soap and a soft toothbrush, and after some gentle scrubbing, all the sticker residue came right off.

  38. Thank you for this post!!! I just saved my three-year-old’s favorite shirt – which happens to be a football jersey! Peanut butter worked in about 10 seconds. I rubbed it in and scraped lightly with my fingernail…& .poof! like magic… no residue!! Thanks a million.

  39. Used your recipe and chose rubbing alcohol. Worked perfectly, thank you!

  40. Bought a bright pink sports bra to use as a bikini top, but when I removed the size sticker, it left a sticky mess behind. After reading all of your comments, I decided to go with the WD-40. That stuff is AWESOME!! Less than 10 seconds of rubbing and a little bit of liquid laundry soap, and the sticky mess was gone and no stain left behind. Thanks for all you advice and comments. :-)

  41. Track uni saved! Don’t waste time…get the WD-40 from the garage and spray. Let it sit for a minute or two, scrub with a toothbrush, and then wash. All gone! Sweet!

  42. Used rubbing alcohol 91% on my new work uniform. The sticker migrated from another article of clothing. I didn’t want the oil residue to stain the fabric. Came off instantly! Thanks!

  43. I used Skin-So-Soft and it instantly came off! Mine had been washed and dried previously! Thanks!

  44. Chereena says:


    Avon Skin so Soft Original Dry Oil Spray and a toothbrush worked a treat. :-)

  45. The WD40 worked a treat for me.
    Thank you so very much for the tip.

  46. Sirisha says:

    I used packaging tape to wax off the area with the glue. It worked! Try waxing in opposite directions multiple times so the fabric is not damaged.

  47. WD-40 did its job. Perfect result on a fleece school jumper. Huge thanks for the advice. :)

  48. I did the peanut butter; scrubbed it with tooth brush. It worked perfect! Thanks for the great tip!

  49. I used Dawn. I worked it in with a scrub brush and then used my nail to scrape the goo off. I was skeptical because the blouse was mint green and the goo had turned black, but after scraping for about 5 minutes, it started coming off. I used a a dry rag to wipe the extra goo that was coming off. Kept repeating until it was completely off. The blouse was as good as new.

  50. I tried vinegar and nail polish remover with no luck. I didn’t have duct tape, so used another sticker instead. I put it on the residue, pressed down and pulled it off quickly a couple of times (it’s bit like waxing your legs). Residue finally gone!

  51. Thanks for posting the article. I followed the instructions and removed the sticker marks with WD-40! Works like a charm!

    Thanks very much!

  52. Thanks! My 11-year-old forgot to remove a sticker from a favorite pair of athletic shorts before they went through the washer and dryer. Yikes! I washed and rewashed them without drying before I found your post. The peanut butter worked! Great tips!

  53. Works with my son’s shirt!

    Thanks a lot!

  54. WD-40 worked well. Did a search online and found this article. THANKS!

  55. WD-40 works wonders. Spray it on lightly, rub the affected area, and it’s gone. Then, wash. It’s as simple as Sunday.

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