I’ve been knee-deep in organizing our pantry, and have been using the most brilliant hack to remove glue from containers. This quick tip is something I would typically include in my Sunday Short newsletter…but it’s too crazy good that I want to make sure everyone gets to see it! Forget the GuGone and hours of scrubbing, my friends! Did you know hand sanitizer can quickly and easily clean off icky sticky adhesive! Let me show you!

Hand sanitizer removes glue from containers

True Story

A few months ago, Sam and Jack had doctor’s appointments. Upon leaving, Sam was given a handful of stickers as a reward for doing so well. Right after, we went out to lunch in a restaurant, where Sam proceeded to stick all the stickers to the table. “No big deal, I thought. He’s content, and I’m sure they will come right off.” Famous last words, right?

After paying our bill, I went to remove the stickers from the table only to learn that they were the yucky kind. You know…the kind of stickers that are impossible to remove and instead leave behind tons of paper and glue.

Greg came back from the bathroom to see me vigorously peeling layer after layer of sticker off the table and said, “Don’t you have any hand sanitizer with you?”

“Ummm…yes I do. Why?”

“Use it on the stickers.”


“Hand sanitizer will take the paper and glue right off the table.”

“What is this voodoo magic you speak of?”

“We do it in the field all the time. To clean laminated maps and such.”

Full of 1000% skepticism, I put some hand sanitizer on the stickers and within seconds…the stickers peeled right off. No scrubbing. No cursing. No glue left behind.


“Why don’t people know this!?!” I said.

With a sly grin, he said “Marines do.”

Greg was very proud that he knew something I didn’t…and I was just beyond to have a much easier way to remove labels, stickers, and glues from surfaces, jars and other containers. I have spent many a minute scraping stickers off a variety of things, and usually resort to a combination of soaking, dish soap, scrapers and GuGone (my least favorite because it leaves everything so oily). I have since used this trick over and over and thought you should know about it too!

How to Remove Glue From Containers with Hand Sanitizer

Below is Exhibit A…one of my pantry containers with all sorts of labels stuck to it. You can even see where, years ago, I attempted to remove the price tag and gave up.

A clear, labeled bin and hand sanitizer

I really wanted to clean up my containers as part of my pantry makeover since they had so many different labels stuck to them. So I grabbed my bottle of hand sanitizer and got to work.

Literally, all you have to do is pour some hand sanitizer on the label, rub it around, and after just a few seconds, scrape the label clean off with your finger nail. Every now and then, if there’s some glue really stuck on, you’ll need to repeat the process or use a straight edge like a scraper. But most times, it cleans up perfectly on the first try!

A clear, clean container next to hand sanitizer

In general, hand sanitizer will peel up paper labels without having to remove them first. If you have a thick plastic label, I recommend removing the label first (a hair dryer is usually the best method to loosen the adhesive), and then use hand sanitizer to get rid of the rest of the glue.

Hand sanitizer removes glue from a container

No soaking. No scrubbing. No oily, gross, expensive GuGone. Not only do I usually always have hand sanitizer around, but it’s pretty inexpensive and leaves your surfaces squeaky clean and smelling nice too. I’ve used hand sanitizer to remove stickers and labels on all sorts of surfaces (e.g., tables, laminated paper, candle jars, pantry containers, plastic boxes and more!). I can’t wait to hear if you give it a try and have success too!

Hand sanitizer, a clear bin, and a jar with text overlay

My full pantry tour is now live…clean containers and all!

See You Soon!