Sunday, September 2, 2012

OCD Stikes Again

A month or two ago, we had a flooding problem in our house. It wasn't from a storm or heavy rains, it was just raining continuously and it turned out we had a drainage problem. My husband & I woke up at 3am and found our room with about 3 inches of water. What a hassle!

Long story short, a lot of stuff got wet - shoes, bags, laptops, boxes, etc. One box was where I kept our files (bills, insurance, car, kids' schooling documents, warranties, manuals, etc.) and another was a school/office supplies box. Of course, everything inside the boxes got ruined and since then, I have been looking for a file box made of plastic to waterproof my things.

I have seen very few options which is really disappointing. Last night, I popped in at True Value and they only had the generic plastic containers but were on sale. The size that I needed was about Php275.00, discounted. Just before reaching the counter, I decided to check out Howard's Storage World next door and found a real plastic file box for about Php1,000.00. I'm sure you already know which one I bought.

I don't understand why manufacturers have to place huge stickers on the sides of their container products... Why not just a piece of paper taped on the sides instead, right? Worst part is, the stickers they use are crazy sticky and give you a hard time removing them. What a nightmare!

At around 11:30pm last night, I had this problem:

I googled and found a couple of techniques to try:

1. Soak with any of these products and peel off:
  • Cooking oil
  • Lighter fluid
  • Nail polish remover
  • WD40
  • Tea tree oil
  • Pond's Cold Cream - my mom's own trick
  • Peanut butter - really???
  • Hot soapy water
  • Vaseline
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vinegar
  • Hair conditioner
2. Use a specialty product like Goo Gone.
3. Use a hair dryer to soften the adhesive.

Some of the products under the soaking method needed to left alone for a couple of hours and even one whole day. It was almost midnight and was determined to remove the damn sticker. There was no way I could wait that long. I don't have Goo Gone on hand and I don't think we have that locally. So I busted out my hair dryer and blasted away.

The problem with huge stickers (this was about half the size of a letterhead), you can only work on a small portion at a time. Then you'll end up with torn ragged edges which are a pain to remove.

When removing torn edges, you will be left with adhesive residue. Take a portion of the sticker that you have already removed and use its sticky side to take off the residue by quickly and repeatedly bouncing it on the area.

At this point, I was just so frustrated and I just wanted to give up.

Being impatient as ever, I tried to remove the remaining sticker with nail polish remover hoping it will be faster and cleaner. That didn't go so well. It did melt the adhesive a bit but it left some residue and just smeared it all over. Maybe because the remover I had on hand was the acetone-free kind. Or maybe I was just too impatient to wait for it to soak and get through the adhesive. 

Anyway, I went back to my hair dryer and when all the sticker was gone, I used a creamy kind of makeup remover similar to Pond's Cold Cream to take off the remaining residue. By 1am, I was done with my little OCD project. Finally!

I think the hair dryer technique works the best because it is fast and not as messy as soaking the sticker with whatever. A note of caution though, try not heat up a particular area for a long time. The plastic might start to melt and warp.

And to plastic manufacturers, please cut us some slack and use a flimsier adhesive or stop plastering huge sticker labels on your products. Please. Have mercy.


  1. Rubbing compound is also good for removing the glue. Acetone will just sorta melt the plastic container.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I was actually afraid the acetone would cloud up the plastic but good thing it didn't. Maybe because I used an acetone-free kind? I think alcohol would totally ruin the surface of a shiny plastic container though...

  2. When I was working in production, we would just get a lighter and heat up the price stickers. They would usually come off easily. :-)