Best Adhesive Remover

We spent over 33 hours researching and testing 13 different kinds of adhesive remover and found that performance, results, and value were most important. 3M scored high marks in all areas and is our top pick. 3M is the number one adhesive in the United States for removing gum, tar, crayon, wax, shoe polish and many other substances. It can be used safely on all surfaces in the home including clothing, upholstery, and carpet. It is easy to use and has a pleasant citrus smell. This product can be used on plastic, wood, cars, walls, vinyl, carpet and much more.

13 mins to read
42 products considered
13 products reviewed
33 hours reviewing

Top 10 Adhesive Removers

PictureAdhesive RemoversSize
Sprayer
3M15 oz
Yes
Uni Solve8 Ounce
No
Goo Gone8 Ounce
No
Bestine16 Ounce
No
Un-du8 Ounce
No
RapidTac32 oz
Yes
Technicqll16 Ounce
No
3M 389841 Quart
No
Duck5.45 Ounce
Yes
Coloplast Inc1.7 oz
Yes

1. 3M

Best Overall Adhesive Remover

5/5 Product Rating
3M General Purpose Adhesive cleaner is an efficient way to remove all kinds messes such as grease, oil, tar dirt, road tar, bugs, light paint overspray and more. It is an aerosol formula that is easy to use but care must be taken to use it in a well ventilated area.

This specially blended solvent works fast and will not harm the majority of thoroughly cured automotive paint as well as vinyls, upholstery, and other fabrics as long as the directions are followed.

These things on your clothing and other items can be very frustrating. Having a good quality solvent that will remove these substances so the item affected is not ruined is very important.

It can get expensive to throw out everything that gets a sticky mess on it. Thanks to 3M you will be able to save your items by removing the sticky messes very easily. It is a great solution when you have to work around oil, grease and other problem causers on a regular basis.

2. Smith & Nephew

Best Overall Adhesive Remover – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating
This high grade Adhesive remover is designed to dissolve the tape and appliance adhesives which reduce the adhesive that is left on the skin. This adhesive remover is used frequently in nursing and care facilities.

It will remove acrylic based, rubber bases and hydrocolloid based residues quickly and gently without irritating or damaging the skin. The aloe that is in this product will moisturize your skin and not leave you feeling greasy either.

You can use this gentle but effective product anywhere on your skin where there is adhesive residue from leftover dressings. The fragrance is pleasing and not harsh and chemically, there is little to no redness or skin trauma and it works fast to dissolve the adhesives.

The easy to use, convenient packaging lets you use just what you need to remove the residue and not have excess waste. It has no Ozone-depleting Chloro-Fluorocarbons and is environmentally friendly as well.

If you want to have a product on hand that you can use to get sticky adhesive residue off of yours or the children’s skim, this is the one to have. Not only does it work well, it works quickly and helps your skin as well.

3. Goo Gone

Best Budget Adhesive Remover

4.5/5 Product Rating
If you want a great adhesive remover that has proven itself for many years, then you want Goo Gone Original Cleaner.

It is #1 in America for removing all kinds of sticky messes such as tar, gum, tree sap, tar, crayon, candle wax, make up, and shoe polish, as well as other substances.

Goo Gone is recommended for all of the surfaces in your home, work, or car including carpet, clothing and upholstery. It attacks the area fast, getting rid of the mess and breaking it down.

It is safe to use on almost every surface and returns things back to their original, non-messed up condition.

You will be able to easily remove grease, oil, tar, adhesive residue, candle wax, gum, and more substances that can ruin the look of carpet, upholstery or clothing. The pleasant citrus smell doesn’t leave any residue either.

Goo Gone can be used on many different types of materials including plastic, wood, stone, painted walls, cars, carpet, glass, vinyl, and more without worry of the surfaces being damaged. This product should never be used on silk, leather, suede and rubber it’s easy to use but should never be where children can reach it.

Once you’ve tested the area you need to work on, you just apply Goo Gone to the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes while it is working. Use a clean cloth to wipe away the mess and then clean the area with regular soap and water. If you are working on carpet or upholstery, you want to be certain not to apply it directly to the carpet because this can loosen the backing and cause door issues.

Adhesive Remover Buying Guide

Adhesive Remover Reviews

What is an Adhesive Remover?

Adhesive removers and paint strippers are very similar and are manufactured by many of the same companies. The way that an adhesive remover works is to soak into the adhesive turning it back into its liquid or paste form so it can be wiped away with a scraper or cloth.

There are many different forms of adhesive removers on the market and with all of those selections comes the task of figuring out which one is the best for your needs. Most of the adhesive removers out there are job specific so finding the right one for the task you have is not going to be difficult. Most of the time the label will describe what that particular adhesive does so you can sort through the choices according to the adhesive or mess you have to remove and from what material.

There are three basic types of adhesive removers available:

  • Citrus-Based
  • Soy-Based
  • Solvent-Based

Each of them has their benefits and drawbacks. Read about each type below to decide which type is suited to the types of messes you will be removing. What works for gum, crayon and wax may not be the same that works on grease and oil although many of the adhesive removers work well on a large variety of messes.

Citrus Based Adhesive Remover

This type of remover is the most user-friendly and environmentally friendly as well. They have about 80% citrus fruits and 20% propane. Other ingredients that are usually found in citrus-based removers include chloride, fluoride, halogen and sulfur. It is the perfect choice for small projects and comes in pastes and sprays.

If you are environmentally conscious, this is a good type for you to look for. The word citrus will usually be in the label somewhere and the product is almost always very easy to use. Many of the citrus based removers are able to be washed with water and they don’t have an unpleasant, overpowering odor.

They work very simply; just apply them to the area you are working on and let them work. If you are using a paste product, you will find that it works better on vertical surfaces because they don’t run.

Soy-Based Adhesive Remover

Another user friendly choice is the soy-based adhesive remover. This product rinses off easily with water and will soften a large variety of adhesives. The adhesive removers that are soy-based are made up of about 60% soy bean oil and 40% water. Soy based adhesive removers typically will need to be on the messes a little longer than solvent based removers do but they can still work just as effectively and without the harsh chemicals.

Be patient and give the adhesive remover plenty of time to work. If you start trying to remove it too soon, you will only have to do it again. It is very important that you follow the directions on the remover regardless of the type you decide to use.

Solvent-Based Adhesive Remover

These are the toughest adhesive removers on the market and they can usually dissolve the toughest adhesives, even if they have been there awhile. The ingredients that make up solvent-based removers are Xylene at 30% to 60%, VM and P Naptha at 30% to 60%, Ethylbenzene at 7% to 13% and the remaining percentages are made up of toluene and benzene. Solvent-based removers can be very dangerous due to the chemicals, so extreme care must be taken when using them. They are usually very flammable and the fumes can be dangerous as well, so never use a solvent-based adhesive remover indoors in an enclosed, non-ventilated area.

Adhesive Remover2Be aware that any of the adhesive removers that you use can be evaporated by sunlight and wind so keep them out of direct exposure to them. You will always need to follow the directions on the specific adhesive remover’s bottle for the best results.

If you want to know how fast and how well the adhesive remover works, then you will need to try a bit of it on a test area first and time it so you know just how long you have to leave it on next time before scraping it off.

What to Look for in a Good Adhesive Remover

When you are shopping for a good adhesive remover, you want to find one that takes care of a lot of different messes on a large variety of surfaces. Below we have listed the types of messes that are a regular part of people’s lives. These are the substances that they encounter getting on their clothing, upholstery, and other surfaces and require special removal to not damage the surface underneath the mess.

Types of common messes

  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Gum
  • Crayon
  • Candle wax
  • Tree sap
  • Tar
  • Shoe polish
  • Makeup

Most of the adhesive removers that you can purchase work on many different surfaces. These surfaces include:

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Stone
  • Cars
  • Carpet
  • Glass
  • Vinyl
  • Upholstery
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Sheets
  • Painted walls

How to Apply Adhesive Removers

The process of using an adhesive remover is relatively the same no matter what kind you choose to purchase. Before getting started with the job or removal, test an area on the surface that you are removing the substance from. This will ensure that no damage will incur, although the majority of adhesive removers do not damage the surfaces they are removing messes from.

Below are the steps you need to follow in most cases to remove substances from different surfaces. Remember to follow the exact directions that are on the specific bottle that you have purchased. The steps below are just a basic guideline of how adhesive removers work. Following the directions will ensure the total and safe removal of any substances that have gotten onto your other items.

  • Inspect the Item to be Treated – Before you start treating the area that has gotten a foreign substance on it, you need to inspect the area to make sure you know what the item is made of and if possible, what is on it that needs to be removed. The importance of this step is to make sure that you get the right adhesive remover to take care of the problem
  • Purchase the Right Adhesive Remover – Once you know what the substance is that you want removed, you will know what type of adhesive remover you are looking for. If you prefer environmentally friendly choices, looking for soy or citrus based choices. Whichever choice you make, make sure that it can be used on the material you are removing the substance from and that the remover deals with that type of substance.
  • Prepare the Area to Be Treated – When it comes time to remove the substance, be sure to work in a ventilated area, preferably outside. If the item is large, lay newspapers down first or plastic sheeting. Be sure to use rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands and don’t forget to wear a mask so you’re not breathing in fumes.
  • Adhesive Remover3

  • Apply the Adhesive Remover – Try to only put the adhesive remover where the substance is. If you are removing the adhesive from a hard surface, you can use a Q-tip that is dipped into liquid remover that can remove the adhesive that remains on the surface. Try to ensure that you only put the adhesive remover where the residue is. You can use a towel or rag covered dowel or just use the rag directly to rub the area once the remover has sat on the residue for the required length of time.
  • Finish the Job – Once the adhesive remover has been applied and removed, you need to finish the job by washing the area so no remover is left on the surface of the item that was treated. Use a clean, damp cloth that has been dampened with white vinegar and water and wipe the item down thoroughly to ensure all the solvent is removed. If the item you removed the residue from was fabric of some kind like upholstery or clothing, you can wash it normally in the washing machine.

Conclusion

Depending on your profession, you may have cause to clean certain substances from clothing or upholstery. Residues like grease, oil, tar, gum, dirt and other things that can ruin a garment or item will need to be removed. Adhesive removers are perfect for this job and there are plenty available to choose from.

The top rated choices we have featured here cover a broad range of residues and surfaces that they work on. Whether it’s removing gum and crayon from upholstery or grease from clothing, these adhesive removers will do the trick.

When you have the knowledge and understanding of the product, it makes sorting through a large selection much easier. You’ll be confident with your decision and be pleased with the results as well.