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Get rid of residue!

How to remove sticker residue from metal: Simple solutions

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Sticker and glue residue on an otherwise shiny metal surface are a nuisance. Follow a few simple steps to remove adhesives from metal surfaces in a flash and get back to creating the perfect DIY home project.

Can you remove glue from metal?

Whether you’re using metal to fix legs on a table or to create an art sculpture using scrap metal, gluing it with a strong adhesive is much easier than welding. However, sometimes spills and glue drips happen and will need to be removed correctly. Lucky for you, with a few steps, it is pretty easy to get adhesives off metal!

A hand presses a cotton pad onto the stick-on barcode label of a metal bowl.
To remove stickers and sticker residue from metal, you can apply vegetable oil to the sticker with a cotton pad and let it soak

How to remove stickers and sticker residue from metal

When removing stickers from metal you need to be careful. Chemical removing agents can damage the surface and you cannot use anything abrasive since that would leave marks. Instead, here’s what you do:

  1. Apply vegetable oil to the area. Let it soak in for a few hours.
  2. Use a hair dryer on a warm setting to soften the glue. Wipe off the sticker residue. Note: the dryer should not be on the hot setting! 
  3. Clean the area using hot soapy water and a cloth.

How to remove adhesive from metal

If you opt for a strong super glue, most DIY projects will come together perfectly. Occasionally, however, there will be some spillage from the tube.

Have no fear, removing glue from metal and painted metal is simple if you have a few tools. You will require:

  • acetone or mineral spirits
  • rags or clean cloths
  • sandpaper
A hand peels off a sticker with a barcode from a metal bowl.
After you have softened the glue with a hairdryer, you can easily remove it

How to remove glue from metal

  1. Use a fine grade sandpaper. Smooth down adhesive puddles and residue once the glue has fully dried. Be careful not to damage the metal surface. 
  2. Use a safety razor to pry away large blobs that the sandpaper won’t help with. Again, take care with the surface.
  3. Dab a clean rag or soft cloth in acetone (commonly found in nail polish remover) to remove excess glue from metal. Mineral spirits are an alternative to acetone.
  4. Wipe excess. Use another clean cloth or rag to wipe any excess acetone or mineral spirits from the metal.

Removing glue from metal: Start with the best glue

For your future metal projects, start off right with a quality glue that is designed for your surfaces. Hit the ground running with a tube of epoxy like Loctite Epoxy Metal/Concrete. This superb adhesive works on appliances, tools, lawnmowers, automotive components, and even pipes. The two-part system, containing an epoxy and a hardener, helps to form a durable and high strength bond that dries in minutes and can be used to repair, fill, and rebuild all metal and concrete surfaces.

If you need an even superior bond, Loctite Super Glue Liquid is reliable and fast. Strong and simple to use, it is weather and moisture resistant. It also sets in seconds, doesn’t need clamping, and dries clear!

For ultimate control, try Loctite Super Glue Ultra Liquid Control, featuring the Loctite side-squeeze designed applicator. This is the ideal choice for jobs that require a very precise application.

Products used

  • Loctite Epoxy Metal Concrete syringe FOP RGB
    Loctite Epoxy Metal & Concrete

    Anchoring bolts, railings and general repair of concrete, stone and cinderblock.

  • loctite longneck super glue 8g stationery card
    Loctite Super Glue Liquid Professional

    Professional applications where fast drytime and highest strength are desired.

  • loctite super glue ultra liquid control 4g tube
    Loctite Super Glue Ultra Liquid Control

    Fast bonding of common materials. Pin-point control squeeze-grip applicator. Dishwasher safe!

Expert Tip

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