America's Test Kitchen LogoCook's Country LogoCook's Illustrated Logo

How to Remove Annoying Adhesives from Your Equipment

Ever peeled a sticker off a new tool or appliance and been left with a sticky situation? Here’s how to remove it.

Published Aug. 23, 2023.

You’ve just unboxed a brand new blender, air fryer, or food processor. You remove the plastic packaging. Then you try to peel off the manufacturer stickers and get cooking. 

Easier said than done. 

Many appliance and kitchen gadget manufacturers use stickers with strong adhesives to paste warnings or instructions onto their appliances. Some stickers peel off without issue, but others tear or leave behind sticky residue that gathers dust, crumbs, or other gunk. These sticky patches are unpleasant to touch and unseemly to look at. 

Sign up for the Well-Equipped Cook newsletter

Shop smarter with our ATK Reviews team's expert guides and recommendations.

Well, your days of dealing with sticky manufacturer goo are over. I’m in charge of presenting our reviewed equipment for our TV shows, and I’ve had to peel off every kind of sticky stuff imaginable. I’ve worked out a number of tried-and-true methods for removing any stickers or adhesive from your appliances or kitchen tools

My suggestion is try the level one method first, then move onto more aggressive suggestions if the first idea doesn’t work.

Level 1: Soap and Scrub 

It’s best to give all new kitchen equipment a thorough wash or wipe-down with soap and water before using it with food. If there’s leftover adhesive in the mix, scrub those patches with a little extra elbow grease, our winning dish soap, and either the scrubbing side of our ATK-recommended sponge or our recommended scrub brush

The dish soap will work to moisten and loosen paper and adhesive particles, and the extra scrubbing from the abrasive sponge or brush will lift them away. 

For smaller kitchen tools or utensils, feel free to pop them in the dishwasher to power away that extra adhesive. (Just make sure your wood tools and utensils stay out of the dishwasher—stick to hand-washing those).  

Our winning kitchen sponge and scrub brush are the ultimate scrubbing combo, perfect for scouring away stickers.

Remember to never submerge the motor housings or heating elements of large appliances in water; it’s better to spot-clean and scrub away sticker patches on these, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. 

Level 2: DIY Gunk-Remover

Unfortunately, there are lots of adhesives that won’t respond to soap and water. To remove these, you’ll need something stronger. Your first option is a natural DIY-gunk remover. 

Stir together ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and 6 drops of citrus essential oil in a container with a lid. Apply ½ teaspoon of the paste to the residue on glass, plastic, or metal surfaces, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then rub with a damp towel for 1 minute before rinsing with warm water.

This DIY paste is a great option to keep on hand for stubborn stickers and can tackle most stickers and residues.

DIY de-gunking paste is a simple, effective option for sticker removal made from pantry ingredients.

Level 3: Professional Gunk-Remover 

In my tenure as product tester, I’ve confronted several stickers that needed to be quickly removed without a trace. For example, when we feature some ingredients on TV, we often need to remove their labels and replace them with generic designs. 

To get the job done quickly and thoroughly, we use Goo Gone. Goo Gone is essentially an industrial formulation of the DIY paste we explained above: It uses petroleum distillates (slippery products derived from crude oil), alcohol, and D-limonene (the same component of cleaning solvents found in citrus peels) to loosen and remove adhesives. 

It works more quickly than our DIY paste, and we use it for more heavy-duty applications (and as a last resort). It’s safe to use, but it’s always best to take some precautions: If you end up using Goo Gone, it’s best to wear gloves, apply it in a well-ventilated area, and rinse extremely well after scrubbing.


This is a members' feature.