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A Quick Tip To Cleaning Stickers Off Used Books

Updated on April 16, 2010

I buy used books from various book sales, the Salvation Army Thrift Stores, and garage sales. I then resell them on (usually for a profit). The problem with used books is that they sometimes have stickers on them that are tough to remove. I have found a good solution for this problem. If I cannot get the sticker off using my fingernails, I will take a cotton makeup pad and slightly soak it with “Goof Off” which is a product you can buy at any hardware store, or Home Depot.

Previously I would use nail polish remover.  However, this was too acidic and it would also eat through to the ink of the book cover, which would make the book look even worse.  Now that I use Goof Off, this is not a problem.  This should only be used on slick book covers (usually called dust covers), not on regular textured covers.  The first thing you should do is try to get as much of the label off as possible, and then gently rub the slightly damp makeup pad across the label. 

Be careful because the first thing that comes off is the ink so be cautious that you don’t smear it onto the book cover. As the label starts coming off, you can use additional pads if needed, until the label is soft enough to remove. Another tip is that I use the edge of a large (round) paperclip to rub off the final layers of the label. This works really well because a paperclip edge will not cut the cover, unlike a knife or scrapper.

Hope this tip is useful for you.  If anyone else wants to share some tips on cleaning books, feel free to add your comments.  HAPPY BOOKING !


 I thought I'd add a couple other cool cleaning tips that I have picked up along the way and share them with you.  Hope you enjoy them!

Cleaning Shower Curtains

Here's a tip for cleaning your shower curtain. Toss your plastic or vinyl shower curtain (and liner) in the washing machine set for cold water only. Add 3/4 cup bleach after the wash cycle has started. This cleans off the mildew, soap scum and shampoo that has built up over time. The bleach also keeps helps make the shower curtain smell fresher when you rehang it. I would not recommend that you use bleach if your shower curtain is cloth as it may fade the colors.

Cleaning Dirty Faucets

To get cloudy, silver faucets gleaming, you should first wipe them with a damp cloth. Then soak the cloth or a paper towl in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet. After about an hour or so, remove the wrappings and give your faucets a final rub down with a fresh cloth. If you do this on a regular basis, you won't have to soak them, just a brisk wipe will do the job.

This vinegar solution also works great on silverware. Not the good silver, just your everyday silverware. My daughter taught me this trick she picked up when she worked at a retirement home and the waitresses had to brighten up the silverware. After they had come out of the industrial dishwasher (the silverware, not the waitresses), they were a little dingy, so they would just take a cloth that was damp with vinegar and wipe all the forks, knives, and spoons. This made them really sparkle and look like brand new.

Streak Free Windows

Bright, sunny days are not the days you want to clean your windows. Glass tends to dry very quickly on these kinds of days, which promotes streaks because your cleaning solution is drying before you can wipe it off. A cloudy day is better, or do it later in the day when the sun is not hitting the window directly.

Have you ever cleaned a window in your house or car and then kept wiping trying to get the left over cleaning marks off only to find the streaks were on the other side? Here's a neat little trick I read about on the internet. Use different wiping strokes on different sides. For example, wipe vertically on the outside of the window, then wipe horizontally on the inside of the window. That way, when you are done, you can tell if you have any streaks left, which side of the window you still need to clean. Cool, huh?


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    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      Thank you for the tip. You just have to be careful it doesn't get too hot and melt (or warp) the dust cover of the book (or the cd case).

    • profile image

      anglea 7 years ago

      a Blow dryer works good too, heat up the sticker it should come right off.

    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      Price tags are such a pain to remove, especially if the label is old and dried out. I'm glad my hub was helpful. Thanks Rebecca E.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      wow, I'll have to try the paperclip method on a few of my books, I normally am one to buy them off of amazon and they have lable all over tehm, usually price tags, often an older lable... great job!

    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      You are not cuckoo, I've used that trick myself. To keep the paper from burning, I put a very thin piece of cloth (something like a t-shirt) on top of the paper. The cloth keeps the heat at a minimum, but still allows you to flatten the paper.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Very handy tips. Thanks.

      Ok. This is just between you and me. If for some reason, I have wrinkled an important paper that I have to give to someone (officially). Maybe, I took it home and it ended on the sofa etc. I actually Iron it abit. I know that it's so cuckoo of me, but it does come out nice and crispy. lol.


    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      You are so funny, but honest. Sorry I missed commenting back to you after I approved your comment. Time just gets away from me sometimes. Thanks for your post on my hub.

    • Bryan Eaddy profile image

      Bryan Eaddy 7 years ago from Michigan

      Nice tip Susan. I sell books all the time and I've never heard of "Goof Off". Thanks! I'll share the additional cleaning tips with my wife. It's not that I don't do any cleaning around the house (apartment actually). It's just that... Well, OK I don't do much cleaning around the house.

    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      Thank you. I'm glad to hear you liked my tips.

    • Crystal Hart profile image

      Crystal Hart 7 years ago

      Great cleaning tips. I currently use some of your tips in my residential cleaning service.


    • 4laso4 profile image

      4laso4 7 years ago

      Thanks now I can stop place blank labels over the old ones.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Good advice, particularly if you're selling books on Turpentine or Turpenoid will also work if you can stand the odor.