Before peanut butter… Photo by Cathy Warner

Are you tired of trying to remove sticky labels from windows and bathtubs, children’s stickers from refrigerators and furniture, and adhesive price tags from plastic and glass, only to end up with a smudged patch of adhesive that defies soft soap and glass cleaner?

Have you used a razor blade or nail polish remover, only to find they ruined the finish of your item? Have you turned to smelly chemical removers like Goof Off or Goo Gone in desperation?

It’s time to try peanut butter.

Recently I was confronted with the task of removing duct tape that had been used to fasten protective board over hardwood floors and had remained in place for years. Duct tape is incredibly sticky—but it doesn’t belong on floors where the weight of foot traffic adds to the adhering power of the fibrous tape.

I balked at the thought of using volatile chemicals for hours while I scrubbed off the gummy residue, so I turned to Google, searching for “natural adhesive removal.” Cooking oil came up, but would be too runny for the floor. Then I came across a better suggestion: peanut butter. It has oil’s properties without the drips.

… and after. Photo by Cathy Warner

So I bought a jar of creamy Skippy (no need to purchase organic for this purpose!) with an opening large enough to dip my rag in. For a small job, you could spoon peanut butter into a plastic container, rather than contaminating an entire jar with dirt and fibers.

I applied the peanut butter with a clean painter’s rag, waited a few minutes and then used a clean rag to rub off the adhesive. You don’t need to buy painter’s rags; strips of an old T-shirt work. Paper towels will tear, and microfiber towels will absorb the oil.

Circular motions, as though waxing a car, worked best and I was careful to keep refolding my rags so that I didn’t rub tape fibers into the wood any more than necessary.

The project involved a fair amount of elbow grease, but what I thought would take a full workday took only a few hours and the results were great.

So, next time you’re confronted with sticky residue you need to remove, reach for the peanut butter.