30 Easy Ways to Unstick Something That's Stuck


Have you ever purchased an item only to have difficulty removing the price tag? Or tried to get chewing gum out of clothing or hair? Scrubbed a pan with burnt-on food? Had something stuck but you just could not get it "un-stuck"?

Some of the best methods for unsticking require items you have in your home right now. If one doesn't work, try another! Here is a big list of the ones to start trying. (See also: 14 Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips)

Petroleum Jelly

1. Rings

This common beauty staple works great when unsticking a ring that is stuck. Apply some to the finger area, dip your hand in cold water, and then twist the ring back and forth until it slips off.

2. Zippers

It will also work on a stuck zipper. Rub it on the area that is stuck and slide the pull back and forth to lubricate the area until it unsticks.

3. Candle Wax

Did a drippy candle leave melted wax behind that you can't seem to remove? Apply the jelly to the edges of the wax. Let it sit for a few minutes and then begin to lift the wax up with your fingernail.

4. Gum in Hair

Gum stuck in hair is no match for the petroleum jelly either. Apply it to the gum until it slips out of the hair, or work it out gently with a fine-toothed comb.

5. Gum on Furniture

You can rub petroleum jelly on gum that is stuck on wood, as well. Just rub it until the gum loosens and falls apart. (See also: Refinishing Tricks to Make Old Furniture Shine)

Pencil Lead

6. Zippers (Again)

Most everyone has a pencil lying around, but you can also use dried graphite in a commercial spray applicator. Either will work to unstick a zipper. Just rub the pencil (or spray the graphite) over the area that is stuck together and work the pull back and forth until it unsticks.

Rubbing Alcohol

7. Bandage Adhesive

When bandages have left residue on the skin, use this to remove the gummy leftovers. Just dab it onto the skin liberally and then wash off.

8. Price Tags

Rubbing alcohol can also remove stuck on price tags. Just dab it on with a cotton ball, let it sit for a minute, and wipe off!

Glass Cleaner

9. Price Tags (on Glass)

This handy cleaner also works great for removing price tags from glass. Spray on the tag well, and then wipe off with a cloth.


10. Stickers (on Plastic and Glass)

This wonder solution works to remove stickers from plastic and glass (like car windows). Spray the vinegar onto the sticker, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wash off. (See also: 30 Products That Vinegar Can Replace)

Dry Erase Marker

11. Permanent Marker (on Dry Erase Board)

Did someone use the wrong marker (like a permanent one) on your dry erase board? Permanent marker can be "un-stuck" from a dry erase board by using a dry erase marker. Just write over the permanent marker with the dry erase marker and then wipe away.

Peanut Butter

12. Stickers and Labels

Creamy works better than chunky, but either will remove labels from jugs, jars, and other objects with a stuck on sticker. Buy the cheapest peanut butter you can find, slather it on top of whatever is stuck, let it set for about 30 minutes, and then wipe away. (See also: 15 Surprising Uses for Peanut Butter)


13. Sweaty Drinking Glasses (on Coasters)

Surprisingly, this table staple can be used to keep a coaster or napkin from sticking to your sweating glass! Sprinkle salt onto the napkin, and the glass will no longer stick to it when you pick it up.

14. Clothing Iron Gunk

If you have an iron with gunk on it, sprinkle it with salt and then iron a brown paper sack. This may need to be repeated a few times for all the gunk to be removed.


15. Trumpet Valve

This minty must-have is a secret weapon for musicians who play brass instruments. Used correctly, toothpaste can unstick a stuck valve.

16. Crayon Marks (on Walls)

Toothpaste can remove crayon from walls. Use the non-gel kind, wipe it onto the wax with a cloth, and then wash off with warm, soapy water.


17. Drawers and Windows

A bar of soap can be used to unstick a stubborn drawer or window. Rub the spot where it is stuck with a bar of soap and begins sliding it back and forth. Add more soap as more area is exposed. This will keep it from getting stuck again as well.

Baby Oil

18. Stickers, Labels, and Price Tags

Not just good for babies, this is yet another solution to remove sticky residue left from price tags, stickers, and labels. Rub the oil on the sticky area, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe away. Dish detergent will remove any leftover oil as well.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

19. Scuff Marks (and Sticker Residue)

If you have a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on hand, you can use it to remove more than scuff marks and dirt. These work great for removing stickers, labels, and price tags as well.

Citrus "Unsticker" (or a Citrus Peel)

20. Gum, Adhesive Residue, Glue, Whatever

Citrus cleaner, like Goo Gone (or a lemon or orange peel if you don't have any cleaner) works great for removing sticky things as well. The added bonus is that everything will smell great once you are done "un-sticking."


21. Stickers, Labels, and Price Tags

Mayonnaise can also be spread onto sticky residue, labels, and price tags. Smear it on, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it away. (See also: Unexpected Uses for Mayonnaise)

Hair Spray

22. Ink Stains

If you have ink stuck on a surface that you can't remove, try using hair spray. Spray some onto the ink, and wipe away easy as can be.

Hand Sanitizer

23. Ink and Permanent Marker (on Skin)

Hand sanitizer can be used to remove ink or permanent marker stuck on the skin.

Baking Soda / Peroxide

24. Gross Stuck-On Food

If you have stuck on food, grease, coffee, or tea stains, a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will remove them. Make the paste and let it set on the stain for 30 minutes, then wipe away. This may need to be repeated for longer if it is a stubborn stain. Works great on drip pans as well. (See also: 25 Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning)


25. Candle Wax and Gum

Candle wax or gum can be removed using an iron and a paper sack. Lay the sack over top of the wax and then run a warm iron over top of it. Gently lift the sack and move to a clean place until all the wax or gum is removed.

26. Photographs

A hair dryer will remove a stuck photograph. Start with the lowest setting on the dryer and blow the warm air over the back of the photograph. It will then lift from whatever it is stuck to. (See also: How to Save Old Photographs)


27. Candle Wax and Gum

When candle wax or gum needs to be removed from something, ice or the freezer works great. The cold hardens the wax and allows it to pop off or out of whatever it is stuck in. This method works great for getting the last of the candle wax unstuck from the candle holder.

Aluminum Foil

28. Grease, Caked On Food, Other Icky Things

Crumpling up a little of this can help scrape off a number of icky, sticky things. Use it instead of steel wool on your pots and pans (as long as they don't have a non-stick coating). (See also: 36 Uses for Tin Foil)

Dryer Sheets

29. Baked-on Food

Dryer sheets can be used to remove baked on food from pans. Place a new dryer sheet in the pan and fill with warm water. Let it sit for a few hours and then wash out with soap and water.


30. Stubborn Knot

Cornstarch will unstick a stubborn knot. Sprinkle the knot with cornstarch and it will easily slip out.

No matter what is stuck, there's a solution in your home to fix it. All of the items mentioned in this list are easier to find and usually cheaper than any commercial product.

How do you get things unstuck? Let us know in comments!

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Guest's picture

Don't forget to throw a bottle of SHOUT in the car for tar splatters and (with some patience) tree sap.

Guest's picture

we have a wood ornamental box that the lid won't come off. Do you have any suggestions?

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I have coins stuck to some of my wooden furniture and I have no idea how to get them off without harming the wood any ideas?

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I spray painted my curtain rod shut. I have tried WD40, nail polish remover, a plumbers wrench and a hammer. Any ideas? HELP!

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I have a wooden box then painted it it has a slide on lid but i let it dry with the lid on because im a dimwit now i cant get it off help me!

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Sharon Wilkins

Couldn't find a answer to my question. I have a can of something that leak and now is stuck to the bottom of my pantry.

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Linda posey

My Hair spray can leaked on my glass shelf in my bathroom medicine cabinet, and it is stuck and ran down the inside of it, I can not remove it, it is really stuck.please help! ! Thank you.