How to Get Sticky Residue off Vinyl

There are countless methods online for getting sticky residue off vinyl decals. With all that information out there, it can be difficult to find which ones are the most effective.

Some methods come highly recommended, but just don’t work well. Since we’re vinyl experts, we thought we’d put together a list of methods that actually work for you. 

We’ll go over the best solvents to use. We’ll also tell you what else you’ll need before getting started so that you don’t get caught mid-job without a crucial tool. Lastly, we’ll give you some expert tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years. 

What this article covers:

Why Is there Sticky Residue?

How to remove Sticky Residue off Vinyls

Vinyl decals are a popular choice for decor, and they have to stick to your wall somehow. An adhesive on the back of your vinyl decal is strong enough to make it stick to your wall for years. 

The advantage is that the decal will last for years, but one downside is that when you decide to take it off, there might be some sticky residue left behind.

Sometimes vinyl decals also ooze some of that sticky residue after having been on your wall for a few years. This is particularly common if you’ve put lacquer over your vinyl decal. This is normal, and it doesn’t mean your decal is going to fall off. It just means it’s been exposed to high temperatures, and some of the adhesives have melted. 

This is normal, and there are ways to remove the adhesive that won’t damage your paint or your custom vinyl wall decal. Let’s go over them.

how to get off sticky residue from vinyl decal

What’s the Best Remover?

Not all removers need to be a solvent. There are gentler ways to remove sticky vinyl residue from your walls. It all depends on how much there is to remove, what kind of wall you have, and what kind of paint is on your wall. The main goal is to protect your wall and paint from damage.

Sometimes a strong solvent is needed, though. We’ll include some options.

For Old Vinyl

Your first option is to spray water on the solvent. This is the best method to protect your vinyl decals. It’s not the strongest method, so it’s best used on aged adhesives. When the glue on the back of your vinyl is old, it’s easier to remove from your walls.

For this method, you’ll need to spray some water on the adhesive and combine it with a little elbow grease. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to use something stronger.

Mineral Oil 

How to Get Sticky Residue off Vinyls

Your next option is mineral oil. This takes a while to work, so you’ll need to spray it on and leave it for up to an hour. You’ll see the residue become translucent, and it’ll come off your wall easily when wiped with a sponge or cloth.

Before using this method, check that mineral oil won’t stain your paint. If it will, you can use rubbing alcohol instead. This does the same job without damaging your paint. 

You’ll also need to take into consideration whether you have polycrylic or polyurethane over your vinyl decal.


Another way you can get the sticky residue off your wall is by using dish soap, water, and a sponge. Dish soap is designed to cut through grease, so it’s powerful enough to cut through sticky residue. 

Like most solvents, this option works best when it’s given adequate time to work. We suggest not making your mixture too watery, so it has enough grip to stay in place on your wall. Spray or wipe it on, and give it about half an hour to work its magic.

After that, you should be able to wipe the residue off. This is one of the safest methods in terms of preserving the pain on your walls. 


how to get sticky residue off vinyl

Our last option for you is the strongest, most reliable one. WD-40 has a multi-function formula that’s capable of removing almost any substance from a surface. It’s one of those wonder products.

It comes as no surprise that it’s great at removing sticky residue. Simply spray it on and give it a few minutes to work. You’ll be able to wipe the residue off your wall.

Some people worry about whether this will make their vinyl decals peel off the wall. It’s safe, but try to avoid spraying it directly on your vinyl.

What Else do I Need?

In most cases, using a spray bottle makes the process of applying your remover of choice much easier. Spray bottles with highly-targeted nozzles are best. 

Depending on your chosen method, you might want to use a pair of gloves. This is to protect your hands from chemicals.

Lastly, you’ll need a sponge with a rough surface. This helps get the last of the sticky residue off.

Steps to Remove Sticky Residue from Vinyl

First, you’ll need to put your solvent of choice into a spray bottle. Depending on which method you’ve chosen, you might need to mix it with some water. 

Next, you’re going to spray your mixture directly onto the residue. Set a timer, and wait patiently. This step is important. If you don’t leave it for long enough, the solvent won’t have time to work.

Lastly, you’re going to wipe off the adhesive and scrub off any remnants of it. Sometimes the glue doesn’t wipe off easily, and in this case, you’ll need to use the rough end of a sponge to get the last bits off your wall.

It’s as easy as that!

how to get sticky residue off vinyl decals

Tips & Tricks

Our number one tip is not to mix your solvent with too much water. You’ll need to mix it with some water, but watering it down too much can render it useless.

Another tip is to always make sure the method you’ve chosen is compatible with your paint. We’ve heard too many horror stories about paint being removed when focusing too hard on how to save your wall decal.

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