cleaning gummy residue from stickers

Okay, a rather mundane question, but maybe someone with som chemistry background could give information here.

I recently bought a new Lexan bowl to use for camping trips. It had several stickers (one on the back, one in the bowl) which I removed after soaking a few minutes in water. However, the sticky residue did not go away. At first I just let some soap and water soak in it, then washed it with hot water but that didn’t help. So I ran it through the dishwasher, which was probably a mistake as it remained stuck as ever. Not to be too little of a fool, I ran it through again with the same results.

My next step is probably going to be soaking with vinegar, alchohol, acetone, gasoline, or battery acid. After that, I’ll try a blow torch, then perhaps some dynamite. What I’d like to know before I run out to the chemist’s for some TNT is whether there’s anything that will work well and won’t cause problems with the Lexan. AFAIK it does a good job of not absorbing stuff, but am I better off soaking the bowl with something caustic and rinsing it out or should I just get used to having my food stick to the bottom of the bowl?

any help would be appreciated.

panama jack

Golly, don’t use solvents, you’ll melt something.

Use baby oil (mineral oil). Rub it on, let it soak for a minute, scrape it off with a plastic table knife or something.

Second choice–peanut butter.

a product called goo gone. I’m not a chemist, don’t play one on tv, but my SO does electronic repair and is constantly having to take stickers off of stuff…

Okay,I’ve heard of goo gone but I’m not sure if it’s safe for food containers; maybe it is.

According to the MSDS it’s petroleum naphtha and citrus oil. Although that doesn’t help me much, since I don’t know much chemistry. I will be eating out of this bowl; I’m sure it’s not enough to hurt me, but if going to go out and get something I’d like the safest option if I can. Maybe the stuff is okay and will rinse away; wring or anyone else know?

panama jack


He called me blueberry, blueberry, blueberry, berry blue
I’m in love with you!

  • Lita Ford

When I worked in a bookshop that sold remaindered books, we used eucalyptus oil to take off old stickers. Worked like a charm

Go with what DDG said, baby oil. It is great for combat with gooey stuff and it’s non-toxic.

Get denatured alcohol from the hardware store. Cheap, 3-4 bucks a quart. You can clean that with it, also cleans vcr & audio heads.

Goo Gone IS a wonderful product, but I don’t believe it’s safe for food containers. The bottle in front of me says “harmful if swallowed.” Hmmm… I wouldn’t risk it.

isn’t dishwasher detergent harmful if swallowed?

Thanks to whoever mentioned Goo Gone. I forgot about that, I just always used baby oil.

So I’ve got a bottle of Goo Gone here in front of me (it was under the sink). It says, “Non-toxic. Conforms to ASTM D-4235.” However, immediately after that, it says, “Keep out of reach of children. Contains petroleum distillates. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Call physician immediately. Avoid prolonged contact with skin. Use in well-ventilated area. Do not use near heat, sparks, or flames.”

I take it that this means, like Kilgore pointed out with the dishwasher detergent, that it’s unsafe to ingest it straight from the bottle, but it’s okay to let it touch your skin.

On the front of the bottle, the graphic shows a brandy snifter with a sticker on it, under it the copy says, “Stickers”, and on the back, in the list of things it works on, it says, “Stickers”.

I would assume that it’s safe to use it on your bowl if you wash it thoroughly afterwards. It does mention you should NOT use it on rubber, but Lexan is one of those hard plastics, isn’t it?

I always use WD-40 on sticker residue.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to eat that, either, but I assume you would wash the bowl.

Jack, you’re obviously squeemish about using unnatural solvents on your sticker goo, so I don’t expect you to give my suggestion a try – even though I’m confident that once the solvent evaporates and the bowl is washed, there will be no danger to you. I throw it out there for other Dopers to consider for future reference.

There is a truly magical solvent known as heptane that gives remarkable results where others fail. It’s great for label goo, oils, grease, crayon, etc. Unlike really harsh solvents, like acetone, it will not harm plastics. Unlike oily products like gasoline (never to be used anyway!), kerosene, mineral oil, WD40, etc. it leaves no trace of oily residue behind. And it’s a far more effective solvent than alcohol.

It evaporates a little faster than alcohol, does not smell THAT badly, and does not irritate the skin. (Are there dangers of long-term skin exposure? Stuyguy does not know.)

I once heard of a guy marketing heptane as the ULTIMATE Goo-Gone type product. He had a marvelous demonstration:
he stuck a sheet of toilet paper to a piece of duct tape, squirted heptane on the paper, and peeled them apart!

Now, does that mean you have to spend $10 an ounce, or whatever that guy was charging, for your heptane? No sirree. Just go to any decent art supply store and buy a quart of “rubber cement thinner”; it’ll set you back maybe 10 bucks. You might want to also pick up one of those nifty cone-shaped squirt cans they sell to dispense small amounts of the stuff, and a tiny funnel to fill it.

My father insists that milk works well. I’ve tried it once, and it does seem to work a bit better than water or soap.

DE-SOLV-IT. On the laundry detergent counter at your local Wal-Mart. Buy it, use it, profit.

There is this stuff on the market called UNDU… its made to take stickers and gummy things off. You can find it in most craft stores… Its really fantastic stuff!

I’ve used it hundreds of times to remove sales labels shipping labels and packaging tape from objects and reusuable cartons.

When hot, they will peel instantly, and you can quickly wipe off residue with a paper towel.

There should be no problem with lexan, but if you have something delicate, naptha, available at any hardware store, is better than goo-gone, and you get 20 times more for the same price.

Naptha dissolves gum. Acetone dissolves and ruins plastic.

I always use charcoal lighter fluid. Works good, and I haven’t found anything that it damages. Does leave a little residue that smells like, well, lighter fluid.

I’m going to agree with the people that said Goo Gone and say it is a terrific product and, as already stated, perfectly safe for your problem. But I’m also going to agree with tshirts and say that, at least where I bought mine, it is terribly expensive. Try to find a similar, cheaper product.

When I buy a new lighter, I always take the sticker off but it leaves that film. I usually just rub on it with my thumb, which takes it right off after a while. You could try that. :slight_smile:

Goo Gone is expensive here, if I knew what it was made of I would make my own.

Why not just use octane? It’s only about $1.50 a gallon, ya just gotta be careful not to blow yourself up… Dad used to use gasoline to clean gunk off his hands on occasion. Of course, he grew up on a farm when they used DDT and the like, too…