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Goo Be Gone – DIY Natural Adhesive Remover

I aim to repurpose as much as possible while living a safe and organic life. I try to find natural ways to combat everyday problems.


Goo Be Gone – DIY Natural Adhesive Remover

My goal is to recycle or reuse as many bottles and jars as possible. Before I repurpose them, I remove the original labels to make the bottles more presentable, but the label always leaves a mark. There's nothing worse than trying to remove the glue residue after the label has been peeled off. I used to soak the bottle in soapy water for hours. Then I would scrub at the glue with a scourer. I will admit that I ruined more than one manicure by desperately scraping at the glue with my fingernails.

I’ve purchased commercial adhesive removers like Goo Gone and Goo Off. They work well but I’m not comfortable with the ingredients. After researching them, I quickly found that the ingredients were a little scary to me and that I preferred my own goo fighting concoction.

Unfavorable Ratings for Commercial Adhesive Removers

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) does not rate the commercial glue removers favorably. In their view, the product doesn’t satisfy the group’s ingredient transparency standards. Additionally, the EWG has health concerns with regard to these ingredients.

Goo Gone Review on

Goo Off Review on

Who Are The EWG?

Quote from their About Us page:

“We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.”

Why Should You Make Your Own Adhesive Remover?

  • It’s inexpensive
  • You know what the non-toxic ingredients are, which puts you in charge of your health and safety.
  • It’s safe around children.
  • Since you only need two ingredients, you can make the adhesive remover on demand. You do not have to store this product in your pantry, only the ingredients.
  • On demand mixing ensures that you never have an expired or rancid Goo-Be-Gone product in your pantry.
  • It works really fast and you don’t have to soak the bottle or jar prior to removing the glue residue.

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spatula
  • Table salt (option)
Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

Two small glass bowls and a tablespoon measuring spoon

Two small glass bowls and a tablespoon measuring spoon

How To Mix It All Together

Pour the coconut oil and baking soda into the glass bowl.

Mix the two ingredients together to make a paste.

Keep mixing with the spatula until all the lumps are smoothed out.

One part coconut oil and one part baking soda

One part coconut oil and one part baking soda

Scroll to Continue
Mixed into a paste

Mixed into a paste

How To Use The Goo-Be-Gone

The adhesive remover doesn’t work very well on the label paper, so try to get as much of the label off as possible.

You may have to soak it in hot soapy water for stubborn labels.

Rub a generous amount of Goo-Be-Gone paste to the sticky area on your bottle or jar. This will work on plastic containers as well.

Massage it in for a few minutes to make sure the sticky area is saturated.

Leave the paste to soak in for about fifteen minutes.

Rub the paste a little more. You can use your fingers or an old toothbrush.

If you find that the glue is being stubborn, add some table salt (or cane sugar) to boost the baking soda’s abrasion.

Use a paper towel to wipe the paste off.

The glue and any sticker residue will wipe away.

Wash the bottle or jar in soapy water to remove any oiliness.

You can store your adhesive remover in a sealed container and keep it for later use. I store mine in the refrigerator.

Jar with label glue residue

Jar with label glue residue

Goo-Be-Gone smeared over the glue residue

Goo-Be-Gone smeared over the glue residue

Add table salt for extra abrasion

Add table salt for extra abrasion

Clean jar

Clean jar

Why Does Oil Remove Sticker or Label Glue?

If you ask a chemist, they will tell you that like dissolves like. Most glues on the market today are oil based. Water will dilute water-based paint because like dissolves like. This same chemistry allows the coconut oil to dissolve oil-based glue.

Why Should You Add Baking Soda To A Natural Adhesive Remover

There are two main reasons for adding baking soda to the Goo-Be-Gone recipe.

  • Oil on its own will work fine but the abrasive nature of the baking soda helps to loosen the glue. It acts as your scourer.
  • The baking soda binds the oil into a paste which is far easier to work with than a runny oil.

What Will Goo-Be-Gone Work On?

Crayons on washable surfaces. If you have crayon on your walls, please make sure that the paint is washable. The baking soda is a little abrasive.

Sticker residue on glass, ceramic, stainless steel or plastic.

Cooked on grease in a frying pan.

More Oil Alternatives And Grease Fighters

I always have coconut oil in the house, but you could also use oils like olive, canola, almond or grapeseed oil.

In an absolute pinch, you could even use nut butter. There is enough oil in the nut butter to cut through the adhesive. You may have to use a little extra soap when washing the container afterward to remove any nut butter aroma.

Lemon Juice Will Soften Superglue

Lemon juice is a great option to pretreat a sticky surface, because the citrus acid in the lemon juice will soften the glue. It will even soften super glue. Just apply some of the juice to the sticky surface and leave it to soak for about 10 minutes before you wipe it off with a paper towel.

If you have ever glued fingers together while using super glue, try soaking the fingers in a little lemon juice for a few minutes. The acidity will soften the glue enough to allow you to pull your fingers apart.

Please Use Caution:

Oil can damage porous surfaces like grout or some granite surfaces.

Make sure that any painted surface is washable.

Always do a spot test before use.

Avoid using an extra abrasive agent like table salt on some surfaces like vinyl. It may scratch them.

Never leave lemon juice to soak on any porous surface like marble. The acid may damage it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Celeste Wilson

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