Maybe you accidentally put the wrong stickers, or some fresh stickers arrived, and you want to remove the old ones from your laptop surface.
Well, whatever it is that has got you searching how to remove stickers from your laptop, my goal is to explain the ways available to you as simply as possible.
So, what are you waiting for? Continue reading to find out!
Four Main Ways: H.O.S.A.
One would think that removing stickers “would require some expertise”, but doing so would only require care and patience on your end.
Unfortunately, not everything works for every laptop, especially for Macbook surface. We’ll touch more on this later.
I’ve made it easier for you to remember your options with the acronym H.O.S.A.
- Heat guns and hair dryers
- Oil-based substances
Seems pretty straightforward enough, right?
But there are essential tips that one should remember in every alternative. I’ll delve deeper into that in the following parts.
But Wait, Remember This Before Anything Else
While stickers are fun to apply, they’re not always fun when it’s time to remove, especially the stubborn ones. Am I right?
Removing stickers and sticker residue might be part of your reselling goal, which is why you must be EXTRA careful not to damage the laptop during the process of removal.
It is also important to note that laptops usually have their warranty seal and serial number sticker, so it’s best not to remove the stickers from the manufacturers.
REMEMBER: Electronics and other substances don’t usually mix, which is why I am asking you to power down, unplug your laptop, and even remove the batteries before the process.
This is to avoid voiding your warranty or damaging your device. It’s a big no-no.
So, if you have already prepared your device for the removal, I’ll proceed with the process.
So, How Do I Remove Stickers From My Laptop?
I’ll be listing the alternatives according to the acronym above because they can address the overall stubbornness of the sticker residue.
Heat Gun and Hair Dryers
I mean, who could have known that the blow dryer for the ladies is one of the best ways to remove laptop stickers?
It’s good that the adhesives used to make the sticker “stick” become weaker over time. An old sticker would slowly peel off when the adhesive glue has melted, which is exactly what we’re going to do.
- First, set the LOWEST SETTING for your hair dryer.
- Point your hair dryer directly at the sticker that you wish to remove. Do this for 30-45 seconds at a time.
- If the sticker comes undone, you should be able to peel it off easily, but if not, insert something under the edge to lift that part of the sticker off. This could include your nail, a credit card, or even a plastic scraper.
This method spreads hot air on the glue, making the bond weak. It’s pretty cool, right?
After doing all of the steps above, you should be able to peel off the sticker without a hassle, without any shredding or sticker residue.
NOTE: If you think that your blower is giving high amounts of heat, you can reduce the amount of time you point it directly at the sticker. Too much heat can damage your device, too.
It doesn’t take rocket science to know that slippery substances like oil can unstick many things, even sticky residue. It turns out that we can also rely on oil for sticker removal.
This method works best for uncoated paper stickers, as they have an easier time absorbing oil.
Applying oil to stickers helps loosen the adhesives. Some examples of these oils would be mineral oil, olive oil, tea tree oil, petroleum jelly, and other substances.
To use these oils and remove stickers safely, follow the instructions below:
- Using a clean rag, apply a minimal amount of oil DIRECTLY on the sticker.
- Wait for a few moments to let the oil soak the sticker.
- Carefully scrape off the sticker and any remaining sticker residue with a tool for scraping (such as a plastic card). Don’t use your credit cards, though! This can damage the sensitive chip on your card.
- Clean the area with a clean, lint-free cloth or a damp rag to remove the remaining vegetable oil or olive oil. You can also use a damp cloth.
Unfortunately for vinyl stickers or other stickers printed on waterproof material, this won’t be as effective as other alternatives.
You can still try, of course.
Try leaving the oil for a few more minutes to let it soak under the sticker. After that, remove the stickers with a plastic card.
There’s a reason why solvents are used in the laundry or for cleaning or brightening surfaces. Removing a sticker smoothly isn’t any different.
That’s because they can remove adhesive residue too. For starters, there are two types of solvents – oil-based and non-oil-based ones.
Examples of oil-based solvents are lighter fluid, mineral spirits, WD-40, and Goo Gone.
Non-oil-based solvents include isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol in general), Windex, vinegar, acetone or nail polish remover, and water. These substances can remove the sticker from a laptop’s surface.
Here’s how to remove stickers from laptop through solvents:
- Get a clean, soft cloth or a microfiber cloth. Apply some solvent onto it until it’s a wet cloth.
- Dab the cloth to the edges of the stickers until they are wet. Give it a couple of minutes to work its magic.
- Remove the stickers CAREFULLY.
- Clean the surface by wiping with a lint-free cloth to remove sticker residue.
NOTE: You MUST NOT leave any solvents on your laptop screen or lid, as it can cause degradation, which we honestly don’t want to happen.
Wipe your laptop’s lid with some slightly damp cloth to remove sticky residue PLUS the substances used.
So, you might be thinking, “Wait, I don’t want to damage my laptop when I remove stickers.”
I totally understand.
When we say abrasive materials, these are mild ones used to remove sticker residue without all the fancy ways mentioned above.
Examples of these abrasives would be magic erasers, toothpaste, Scotch Brite pads, and baking soda paste. To use them, follow the instructions below:
- Apply some of these abrasives directly to the stickers.
- If you think the clean magic eraser isn’t enough to remove sticker residue, you can try rubbing a cloth to wear off the adhesive.
As with everything, we recommend that you use these abrasives in moderation. Don’t rub too hard, especially if your laptop has a plastic coating.
Even with metal-cased laptops, an abrasive can still cause scratches. If all the other methods to remove stickers above would not work, then make sure to find the mildest abrasive to use.
A scratch-free laptop is essential if you plan to resell your device in the future.
Can I Use These Methods for My Macbook?
If you want to remove the stickers from your Apple device, we DO NOT recommend using solvents. The surfaces of Macbooks are much more sensitive than other brands of laptops.
Do not use the following when removing stickers from your Apple laptop:
- Paper towels
- Abrasives and other abrasive substances
- Dish soap
- Rubbing alcohol
We recommend you use water and a cloth to gently wet the stickers until the glue residue comes off. BUT, be very careful to avoid any opening when you decide to do this.
If the methods above do not work, especially when you need to remove A LOT of stickers from your laptop, feel free to use the other methods.
You can use trial-and-error on the following suggestions:
- Use popular removal products such as Goo Gone
- Put some nail polish remover on a clean cloth and damp it on the edges of the stickers
- Use a heat gun (on the lowest setting) and remove the stickers carefully
How Can I Remove Sticker Residue?
The truth is, there are A LOT of substances that can remove the residue left by stickers, but NOT ALL of them are friendly to the surface underneath.
Some people would suggest using elbow grease, which we all know would not work on fancy stickers with waterproof surfaces.
Would you believe people even use duct tape or scrape the residue with a razor blade or a plastic knife?
Although these things work, you might accidentally remove activation code stickers, which we wouldn’t want to happen to you.
Sticker residue could be removed by water and some lint-free cloth, but if that doesn’t work, feel free to try the methods we listed above.
How Do I Remove Stickers From Glass?
Removing a Shark Decal sticker from plastic would be different from removing it from glass surfaces.
I recommend using a blow dryer at the lowest setting and pointing it to the sticker for 30-35 seconds. After a while, you should be able to peel off the sticker.
To remove the sticker residue, damp a paper towel and use it to clean the surface.
If you don’t have a dryer with a low-temperature setting, you can opt to use Windex or similar glass cleaners.
Can I Make a D.I.Y. Solution?
Absolutely! Now, if that one sticker has been getting on your nerves for quite a while, it’s time to resort to creating your own homemade paste.
Follow these instructions:
- Mix baking soda and a small amount of water until it forms a thick paste.
- Add vinegar to the paste.
- Spread the adhesive over the sticker until it dries.
- Damp a cloth in warm soapy water.
- Once it dries, scrub the paste away until there is no remaining residue.
I hope I have shed light on how to make your laptop sticker-free.
Remember, don’t just grab rubbing alcohol as it may do more harm than good, especially to serial number stickers.
There are multiple ways of removing these stickers, so try ’till you find one that works!
1 thought on “How to Remove Stickers From a Laptop (Including Residue)?”
Hi Ms. Rubio,
A question for you: you wrote an article about “Laptops Not Made in China”. If I were to consider the Gigabyte Aero 15 instead of the 17 you reviewed, would that also be made in Taiwan? Ditto for the Panasonic Toughbook series or LG Gram 14 series. If I should chose a different size/model of these same laptops, would they be equally “China Free”?
(Disclaimer: I love the Chinese people. Not so, their government).