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Topic: How do I....(Sorry, I don't know where else to ask this question.)

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Subject: How do I....(Sorry, I don't know where else to ask this question.)
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/3/2008
Posts: 1
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How do I remove price tags, stickers, and other gooy, gluey things from book covers without damaging the book covers or leaving behind a sticky, gluey residue? Yuck!

I trade books on paperbackbackswap.com, and often receive books that have all kinds of store price tags, discount stickers, library stickers, and all sorts of icky stickies on the front and back covers.

Since most of these stickers are made with peel (peal?) -off glue (I THink!), so that they can be easily placed on the book, you would think that they would be easily removed as well.

Sometimes they are. But not often. Sometimes those things seem to be stuck on for the ages.

I usually use my fingernails and try to get the things started, then gently tug them off. Often as not, they will not come off in one piece, so I have to keep on digging and scraping to get them off. Sometimes all that deep scraping damages the cover by leaving what I can only call scrape impressions. Sometimes small portions of the top layers of the covers rip off with the stickers as well.

And the harder the stickers are to remove, the more likely they are to leave behind a sticky reidue that not only feels discusting light light-weight fly paper to the touch. but also attracts dust. So, sometimes the covers end up with dark. dirty spots.

It also seems that the older the book, the more stuck the stickers.

No only does it make the books rather disgusting to me to handle, but it makes them hard to resell.

I suppose the best solution is to leave the stickers on and not touch them at all, because once I start peeling them, the stickers look worse if they are only partially removed.

But, I really do like my books to be sticker free if at all possible.

So, can someone please give me some suggestions about how to remove the stickers safely? Is there some kind of glue solvent that would remove the stickers without any damage to the covers? Would alcohol work?

Any suggestions and help and experiences and instructions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Marguerite

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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Try a small amount of Goo Gone on a cotton ball. It always works for me!

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 285
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I hate stickers on my books too!  Depending on the type of paper the cover or dust jacket is made of, I use Goo Gone and I've had good luck with that.  I test it out in a small spot to make sure it's not going to damage or stain the cover, and if it looks OK, then just a tiny bit of it with a paper towel takes the gunk off.  I haven't had a book yet that I couldn't do this with, so it works for me so far!

ETA:  Two votes for Goo Gone, apparently!  =P



Last Edited on: 3/19/09 10:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2008
Posts: 8
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If there is a sticker on the cover (not a price tag but a "library of so-and-so" sitcker on it) does it mak it unpostable?  Sorry to hijack,  but I have a book I bought used with one of those on it and i've been hesitant to post it.  Should I just give it the old goo gone treatment and post it?

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,540
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Donna, a price sticker on a book is perfectly okay to post.

If the cover has a glossy finish to it, I use a little rubbing alcohol to gently remove the sticker.  Not quite as harsh as goo gone.  Have to be careful with any liquid, it can cause the ink on the cover to bleed so start out small and sparingly.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2008
Posts: 8
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Has anyone tried undo (the scrapbooking stuff)?

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 2:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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I hate hate hate stickers on books, and I'm 54 years old, so I have some experience in this area, which doesn't necessarily count for anything, but here goes: these are my steps: (1) get off as much of the sticker as you can with your fingernails--the old peel-n-pull--if you can't get it all, at least have less paper there; (2) baby oil--baby oil? yep--another oil would probably do as well, but I like baby oil for its silky texture and inoffensive smell--dot just enough baby oil onto the sticky-papery area to soak the stuff--wait 5-10 minutes, then use a kleenex to slide the mess sideways and pick it up--another kleenex to dry the area, and you're done--if that didn't get all of it, then repeat--often the 2nd time round with baby oil, especially if you let it marinate for longer, will do the trick--based on years of doing this, 1 or 2 treatments w/ baby oil will take care of easily 98% of all stickers; (3) wax remover--I wonder if this is similar to Goo Gone?--I buy a brand called Wax Away--it's nasty, you have to be careful lest it soak into the paper of the cover and damage it--I'm still experimenting, but it's a strong weapon, no doubt about it--unlike the baby oil, you don't put it on the spot and let it sit, instead, you put it on a rag and then press the rag down on top of the sticky area, then push sideways to move the glue off--but only if absolutely necessary. I don't trust it (nor would I trust Goo Gone) not to be carcinogenic, or toxic in some other way, for the cats or humans in the house. And it leaves a faint, definite smell of chemical yuck--something I abhor when I literally have "my nose in a book."

Does Goo Gone have an odor?

I guess what I have to offer to the Goo Gone brigade is to try baby oil first. I keep a bottle in my kitchen, ready for stickers on everything, not just books. It's so easy to use, and it's not toxic, so you don't have to worry about it. And you Goo Goners don't have anything to lose, because if you're careful to just apply a teensy drop of oil at a time, only enough to spread over the gooey-papery area, there won't be any mess. And you will be able to remove some of the sticker with baby oil, I guarantee you.

The only stickers that defeat baby oil, in all the hundreds (if not thousands) of books I've used it on, are the ones on book covers that are made of dry, matte-finish, non-glossy paper, the kind where the glue has had a chance to permeate down into the substance of the paper, not just sitting on top. But those defeat just about everything. So if at all possible, I try not to get the nasty kind of sticker/cover combos in the first place. If I'm buying a book with a potential sticker problem in a store, for example, I try to find a copy that has the most easily removed sticker of the ones available. It used to be, when you ordered books from Amazon, they never had stickers on them--for a Serious Stickerphobe like me, that was a huge plus--but you can't count on that anymore.  I have also been known, on just a few occasions--when faced with an ultra-noxious ISBN sticker on a trade paperback with a lovely matte, textured cover--to bypass the battle entirely and put another sticker, one of my own choice, on top of the offending sticker. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

                                                                                       --Stickerphobes Unite!

                                                                                                        Fiona

P.S. for Serious Stickerphobes Only (because it will bore anyone else to tears): Rolling Stone magazine (in its smaller, not-cool-anymore size) has found a new manufacturer for those mailing labels they stick on the fronts of magazines that you subscribe to--you know, the ones that are even more adherent than stickers on books, and mess up the art or obscure the words on the magazines you're paying for already--such that you start to think you should just pay extra and buy the magazine, label-free, at the supermarket. The new RS mailing labels peel right off. It's amazing! It's truly wondrous! At long last, somebody's mastered the sticker-glue/label-glue technology to the point where stickers and labels no longer need be a blight on the cultural landscape. But now... when is everyone else going to get with the program? Who knows... but in the meantime, I take comfort in the fact that Rolling Stone's mailing labels have been getting actual fan mail. Just think: a whole lot of people may look at the celebrity on the cover and think "Hey, I'm a fan" (or not), but now there's a tiny, newly vocal, subgroup who look instead at the mailing label and think, "Hey, I'm a fan."



Last Edited on: 3/20/09 2:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Yes, for those who might be wondering, books with stickers are perfectly FINE to post, you don't have to send PMs to potential receivers of those books or try to remove the stickers or anything. A true sticker-phobe would probably rather remove any stickers themselves anyway rather than let us amateurs try and ruin the book. LOL

The exception of course is if you receive an order with a specific Requestor Condition saying "no stickers or ex-library barcodes" or whatever. In that case, I simply decline the request if my book has a sticker, rather than futzing around with trying to remove it. Someone else who doesn't care about stickers either will request it eventually.

Stickers don't bother me in the least, even the ugly ones. Books on my shelf sit with the spine outward--so neither me nor anyone else can even SEE a sticker on the covers til I pull it out to read it. And then, I'm going to have that book in hand for at best a few hours, and to me it's what's between the covers that's important, not how it looks.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 8:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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I leave the stickers stuck right where they are and skip the hassle of trying to get them off without damaging the book.  But that's just me.

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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If I were posting a book with stickers, I'd leave the stickers on.  The problem with removal is that it could leave a "stain" which then makes the book unpostable!  It's kind of ironic - a big ugly sticker is postable, but an itty bitty stain makes the book unpostble.  I might try to remove the sticker on a glossy cover, but if the book has a matte cover, the chance of damaging the cover during the removal process is much greater.

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,410
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Last Edited on: 6/5/11 1:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2009 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Fiona - Goo Gone is some sort of orange or citrus oil derivative, so it smells like oranges basically.  They make it in a spray gel, which is what I use, but I agree with using baby oil or alcohol as well & I'm sure both work just fine.  Vaseline would even work, for that matter.  I've used it before to take the little stick on decals off my tub, or it also really helps with getting superglue off your skin.  You have to rub a lot with a soft cloth, and kind of flake it off with your fingernails, but it does work.

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 8:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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The problem with baby oil is that it will leave a stain which then makes the book unpostable.  I have used goo-gone on books, but it *can* also leave a greasy stain, so I always try rubbing alcohol first. If it's a book I'm going to re-post anyway, I don't bother trying to remove the stickers.

Also, as a former librarian, be wary of trying to remove library stickers. They are often made impossible to remove on purpose, and you'll just ruin the book trying to get it off.

Date Posted: 3/23/2009 5:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Kim writes:
> Goo Gone is some sort of orange or citrus oil
> derivative, so it smells like oranges basically.
> They make it in a spray gel, which is what I use. . .

Orange-smelling citrus oil sounds lovely, and citric acid in a combo *with* oil helps explain why it's so potent. I personally wouldn't want anything in a spray, because I put as little as possible of the (baby) oil on the book--just one teensy bit at a time, and only just enough to get that thin layer of gluey-papery stuff permeated with oil, not a micro droplet more. Anything in spray form can't help but have a wider distribution than the one small spot where you want it.

> but I agree with using baby oil or alcohol as well
> & I'm sure both work just fine.

Just be aware that baby oil and alcohol are very different things, w/ very different effects on the goo.  Baby oil works by wrapping itself all around the glue & paper, including getting between the glue & paper and the surface of the book cover--but it leaves the actual *substance* of the glue & paper unchanged. Alcohol, on the other hand, works a chemical reaction on the glue, breaking it down and making it less sticky--which is great if it works all the way. The trouble with alcohol is when only part off the mess comes off: alcohol is very drying, so the part  that remains behind, that the alcohol couldn't get off, will be a *lot* more stubborn and adherent, because of how dry it is.  

Denise writes:
> The problem with baby oil is that it will leave a
> stain which then makes the book unpostable.

Two points from my previous posting that are worth repeating/clarifying:

(1) We're talking about *tiny* amounts of baby oil here, only enough to moisten the thin layer of sticky-papery stuff that remains after a gentle but thorough effort at sticker removal with fingernails alone--in cases where there's not much sticky left, even a drop is too much--so it works better to moisten your finger tip with a bit of the oil, then rub it on in just that one spot--you let it sit, then see how much you can get off, then repeat if necessary--if needed, it's an incremental and patient process, not one where you squirt several drops of oil all over the book and risk getting some on the pages!

(2) I gave all sorts of warnings about what might happen with sticker removal of any kind with a matte-finish, soft-textured book. But the vast majority of books are not like that: even if they're not glossy, they'll have *some* sort of a smooth, slippery surface on the paper. That surface resists the oil, so it doesn't soak in. The oil just sits on top of the surface, and when you remove the sticky goo with your tissue, the oil comes with it--you do a little extra cleaning with a fresh, dry tissue, and then nothing is left of the sticker *or* the oil--definitely not a stain.

I do agree with everyone who said it would be just as well to leave the stickers on, since they don't interfere with postability, especially when trying to get them off makes a mess which then you have to deal with, as per all these techniques we're talking about.  =laugh=  And as Denise pointed out, library stickers *are* a lost cause.

My remarks have been addressed not to those who'd be fine about leaving the stickers on. I'm writing about baby oil and suchlike for two groups of people: those who are annoyed enough by stickers that they'd be pleased by something easy to do, like baby oil, or Goo Gone, that would reliably dispatch some 95-98% of them, w/o leaving a stain or any other residue; AND those who are true stickerphobes, who are constitutionally incapable of *not* picking at the stickers on the book, even if they're planning to re-post it, even if they know it's going to be a hassle if they can't get all of it off cleanly, just with a pick and pull.

     --more power to you if you can let the
         stickers be,

            and hoping the ideas we've floated
              will help those who *can't* let the
                stickers be, =grin=

                    Fiona

Date Posted: 3/23/2009 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Orange-smelling citrus oil sounds lovely, and citric acid in a combo *with* oil helps explain why it's so potent. I personally wouldn't want anything in a spray, because I put as little as possible of the (baby) oil on the book--just one teensy bit at a time, and only just enough to get that thin layer of gluey-papery stuff permeated with oil, not a micro droplet more. Anything in spray form can't help but have a wider distribution than the one small spot where you want it.

I've never actually sprayed it directly onto a cover, so distribution isn't something I worry about.  I have some old soft washcloths that I use to clean books, and I spray the gel directly on to them, then use the damp spot on the cloth to rub off the sticker residue, and then fold the cloth over and wipe down the entire cover to clean it.  As far as stubborn stickers that need to be saturated before trying to lift them off goes, the spray gel comes out of the sprayer in more of a stream than a mist, and just a very ligh single squeeze will apply just a drop or two that you can concentrate just on the sticker itself.  Then it can be rubbed into the sticker using just your fingertip, and then I come back maybe 20 mins later with a small plastic paint scraper and the sticker basically lifts right off.  I don't recommend using Goo Gone on cracked or porous paperback covers because it will stain any paper it can absorb into, but if the book has a shiny surface, it seems to work just fine.  I like the gel better than the oil because it's thicker and easier to control.

Date Posted: 3/23/2009 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I always leave stickers "as-is" because I know I personally would rather have a sticker than have the sticky residue left behind.  I figure if anyone who gets the books wants to remove the sticker, I let them do it.  There is always the chance the removal of the sticker will actually damage the book or make it look worse, so I just leave them on.

 

Date Posted: 3/23/2009 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/3/2007
Posts: 521
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Peanut butter always seems to work for me.  It has the oil in it which will remove the stain, but it won't run.

Date Posted: 3/24/2009 1:14 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Suzanne, I would strongly, strongly urge you not to use peanut butter on any book you plan to swap.  Many people have severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock) to peanuts (the most common food allergy in the USA today) and your well-meaning efforts to clean off the goo from a sticker can, quite literally, kill them.

This link will give you more information:

http://www.peanutallergy.com/what-is-a-peanut-allergy.html


Date Posted: 4/5/2009 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2007
Posts: 831
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Fiona - Goo Gone is some sort of orange or citrus oil derivative, so it smells like oranges basically.

Orange-smelling citrus oil sounds lovely, and citric acid in a combo *with* oil helps explain why it's so potent.

Please be aware that citrus oil is a powerful allergen, and reactions are becoming more common as more citrus oil products are being introduced and used.  (In my case, for instance, it swells the inside of my throat and interferes with breathing.)  If you use anything to try to remove a sticker, please be sure that it is not going to leave a scent behind. 

Classic baby oil is just mineral oil with a scent added, so if you want to use the baby oil suggestion, use mineral oil instead.  Newer baby oils can have different kinds of oil. 

I have had great success with alcohol on ordinary stickers on slick paperback books.  You do need to be careful of the amount, as you don't want it running over the edge and staining the book.  You also wouldn't want to use it if the sticker is near a crack or tear in the cover, because the coating that is protecting the cover is compromised there.  I would never try to remove a library sticker, because my experience says that doing so just makes a mess. 

Date Posted: 4/5/2009 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I can endorse baby oil/mineral oil.  I generally just put it on a Q-tip, then rub that on the sticker as many times as I need to.  It's easy to control the application that way.

Date Posted: 4/6/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2005
Posts: 504
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I use rubbing alcohol in small amounts in multiple applications, until the whole label with gluey residue is gone.

I have also used nail polish remover occasionally but the scent is so strong I only use it when absolutely necessary.

Date Posted: 4/7/2009 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2008
Posts: 83
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I hate stickers on my books, and on items I buy at flea markets/thrift stores/garage sales. I found a site, sicpress.com, that sells all kinds of cool stuff for cleaning, repairing and de-stickering books. They even sell a book deodorizer (it is a expensive, but it works). Here is the link:

www.sicpress.com

Ceil