StickerYou Blog

How to Remove Stickers From Books

February 15, 2023  |  
Guides/Tutorials
How to Remove Stickers From Books

When it comes to surfaces that are safe to decorate with stickers, books are among the no-nos. Their paper construction and material can make it quite a challenge to remove stickers from, so we recommend not sticking any sort of adhesive on your beloved books – unless you’re sure you want to keep them there permanently.

But sometimes, it’s not you who places these custom-fit stickers but the retailer. They stick labels, price tags, or barcodes on not-so-inconspicuous spots, often covering the author’s name, title, or other important text on the book cover.

While it’s going to be a challenge, removing these annoying stickers from your books isn’t impossible. But you need to do this carefully using the right methods to prevent damage to your books. We’re going to show you exactly how to do that in this article. But before you get started, keep these most important things in mind:

  • Use dry removal methods, as water-based products could easily leave your treasured novels as soggy messes.
  • Pay close attention to the book’s cover and see whether it’s matte, soft-touch, velvet, or paper.
  • Choose sticker-removal methods that do not scratch the protective book surface, remove the cover pigmentation, or leave permanent stains.

Precautions When Removing Stickers From Books

Removing stickers from books requires you to be careful and delicate. We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Before you grab your tools and start peeling away, make sure you take these precautions.

Keep in Mind These Tips

While working on your sticker removal process, always bear these tips in mind:

  1. Always ensure that another person is helping you when using a hairdryer. Never place your fingers directly next to the hairdryer when it is on to avoid burning your fingers.
  2. When using a clothes iron, never leave the hot iron on the book cover to avoid burning the protective layer (towel or t-shirt) as well as your book cover.
  3. When removing sticker residue from book covers or book pages, never let the residue pile up, and remove it as soon as you spot it. The less residue on the cover or the page, the easier it is to remove.

Avoid These Removal Methods

You might be aware of the common removal methods for getting rid of stubborn stickers on virtually any surface. But when working with books, you need to forget everything you know — there’s a specific method you have to do in this case to keep your books safe while you work. These common sticker removal methods should be avoided at all costs.

Water, Soap, or Any Liquid Solutions

Because most book covers are made of paper, or at the very least have some percentage of paper content, you shouldn’t use any liquid solution when trying to remove stickers from them. That includes mild solutions like water and soap.

Liquid will soak your book cover, wrinkle your pages, and in some instances, cause permanent stains and make the ink run. Trust us, when liquid solutions cause irreparable damage to your book, you’ll wish you just kept the personalized vinyl sticker on in the first place.

Rubbing Alcohol and Nail Polish Remover

Rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover are quite popular solutions for loosening up sticky residue, allowing you to peel a logo sticker off a surface with ease. But when it comes to paper surfaces, these solutions are going to cause more harm than good.

Because of their strong chemical components, rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover will make the ink from the sticker run. Trying to scrub the sticker off will only make the cover thinner until you rub a hole in it and cause irreparable damage.

Baby Oil or Coconut Oil

Baby oil or coconut oil are gentler than other products, so they may allow you to remove stickers from a book cover without causing the colors to fade. But the risk here is the oil soaking into the paper and leaving a stain. Oil stains on paper are permanent, so you should never use this method on porous book covers.

Lighter Fluid

While lighter fluid is considered safe for more plastic and paper surfaces, we recommend avoiding it. Not only is it too harsh to ensure the safety of your book cover, but it’s also dangerous for your skin and lungs.

If you must work with lighter fluid, apply it in small amounts. Wear latex gloves before handling the solution and work in a well-ventilated area.

How to Remove Stickers From Books: Best Methods

Now that you know what methods to avoid, let’s proceed to the best solutions for removing stickers from books.

Method 1: Use Your Fingernails

This first method doesn’t require any tool other than what you already have in your body. If you don’t have access to any of the solutions or tools required for the other methods below, you can try using your fingernails to peel the sticker off.

  • Step 1: Use your fingernail to lift a corner of the sticker. Grasp the lifted part between your finger and thumb.
  • Step 2: Slowly continue lifting the sticker away from the surface of the book.
  • Step 3: At any point you encounter resistance, stop and try again on another corner.

This method is the most fool-proof, but it only works with less stubborn stickers. If your sticker isn’t budging, you’ll want to move on to the other methods below.

Method 2: Use a Thin Utensil

  • Step 1: Use the tool to gently scrape the edges of the stickers up from the book surface. For easier removal, lift up all four corners of the sticker.
  • Step 2: Once there is enough to hold onto, grip the edge and gently peel the sticker up slowly, being careful not to rip the paper.
  • Step 3: If the sticker does not come off in one clean peel, stop and loosen the tougher parts with your tool, then continue peeling.
How to remove stickers from books with a razor blade.

Method 3: Use a Hairdryer

Applying heat to the sticker will help melt the adhesive binding it to your book, making it easier for you to peel the sticker off in one piece. While you can do this yourself, it would be easier if you had someone to help you. Ask someone from your household to hold the hairdryer over the sticker while you begin peeling.

  • Step 1: Turn your hairdryer to low or medium heat.
  • Step 2: Aim the hairdryer towards the sticker and hold it there for up to 40 seconds.
  • Step 3: Check to see if the sticker has warmed up and is softer.
  • Step 4: Start peeling the sticker while aiming the hairdryer at the corner.
  • Step 5: Continue peeling until you remove the whole sticker.

Now, because the heat melted the adhesive, you’ll probably be left with a sticky residue after removing the sticker. Don’t worry, though, as we’ll share solutions for that below.

Method 4: Use a Clothes Iron

Instead of a hair dryer, you can also opt to use a clothes iron to melt the adhesive. An iron can emit more heat, making this method faster than if you worked with a hair dryer.

  • Step 1: Choose a flat, heat-proof surface and place your book on it with the sticker-covered surface facing upwards.
  • Step 2: Place a thin towel or t-shirt over the book.
  • Step 3: Turn your iron on and set it to medium heat, and once heated up, press the iron on the book cover, moving it backward and forward.
  • Step 4: Repeat step 3 until the sticker is warmed up.
  • Step 5: Peel off the sticker with your fingers.

Be careful not to keep the iron sitting on the book for more than a couple of seconds. Otherwise, you risk burning the book cover.

How to Remove Sticker Residue From Books

If, after you’ve removed the sticker, you’re left with a sticky adhesive residue, the best way to remove it is using an eraser. It’s a gentle method that can push the residue off the book without tearing the paper.

Opt for a soft and less-abrasive eraser, like a white or art eraser. Don’t use a pink eraser or ink eraser as they’re too harsh and may cause the paper to tear or thin up.

  • Step 1: Grab your eraser and lightly rub the sticker residue in gentle circular motions.
  • Step 2: As you work, you’ll notice the eraser pushing the sticky residue away and forming eraser shavings. Use your hand to brush this off the book.
  • Step 3: Keep rubbing lightly until all the residue is gone. This process might take a while, though, especially if you’re facing more stubborn adhesive.
  • Step 4: When the adhesive residue is completely removed, wipe the cover clean with a soft, dry cloth.
How to remove stickers from books with an eraser.

Conclusion

Removing stickers from a book needs to be done very carefully and with the right methods. You don’t want to use any liquid-based method as these can cause irreparable damage to your beloved book. Always use dry removal solutions and work gently to keep your book in good condition during and after the process.

How to Remove Stickers From Books: FAQs

How do you get stickers off books easily?

You can remove stickers from books easily and safely by applying heat to the sticker with a hairdryer or clothes iron. When the heat has melted the adhesive, you should be able to peel the sticker off in one piece. If you’re left with sticky residue, use an eraser to gently rub the residue off.

How do you remove stickers from books without residue?

If you’re working with a sticker whose adhesive isn’t too strong, you may be able to peel or scrape it off cleanly without leaving a sticky residue. But if the adhesive is stubborn, there’s a very slight chance you can avoid adhesive from remaining on the book cover. Don’t worry, though, you can clean the adhesive off by lightly rubbing the area with an eraser.