How to Get Stickers Off a Laptop Safely
Written by: Nicole Plyler
Published: 24 September, 2021
Stickers are meant to stick, but that doesn’t mean you want them to stay there forever. So, how do you get stickers off a laptop? Is it hard? A mess? Is it something to avoid? Will it harm the computer?
Laptops are a common place for stickers. They often come with stickers regarding warranties, license keys, or barcodes. Additionally, people like to personalize their electronics with these decals. Businesses adhere them to laptops that provide to workers, sometimes with “Property of” or logo stickers.
The concern that many have over getting stickers off laptops is regarding any possible damage to the equipment. Laptops are expensive and sensitive. However, if you need to remove stickers, it’s possible. But should you?
Should You Remove Stickers from a Laptop?
That all depends on who owns it. If it’s a company- or school-licensed laptop, then it’s probably not a good idea to remove stickers the organization placed on there (unless you have their permission).
If you own the laptop, you can make this decision more freely. Although, you might want to check to ensure it doesn’t negate a warranty.
For those stickers applied by you on your property, removing them is completely up to you. If you want to get rid of stickers, you may have concerns about the proper way to do so, especially if you're going to resell the laptop. The steps you take will depend upon the type of sticker.
The Removal Process Depends on the Type of Sticker
Removing stickers from laptops depends upon the type of decal. Stickers aren’t all the same. There are different materials and production processes. The everyday stickers that come in books for kids are much different from professionally made vinyl stickers.
Those low-cost stickers are made from cheap vinyl or sticker paper. It can be a chore to remove these types of decals. They will not pull up easily and require some type of cleaning agent and possibly a lot of scraping. Anyone who’s ever had to unstick these from walls or any other surface will understand the struggle.
High-quality stickers are a completely different category. While they do have a strong adhesive to ensure they don’t curl or peel, they aren’t impossible to remove.
Why High-Quality Vinyl Stickers Are Easy to Remove from Laptops
When you purchase custom stickers from a reputable provider, the vinyl they use is top-notch. For example, Stickerbeat uses 3M Scotchal™ graphic vinyl.
This 3M vinyl is so much more sophisticated than cheaper materials. It has specialized adhesive, which allows for adherence on a flat surface like a laptop. To adhere them, you peel off the backer paper and apply. It lays down smoothly with no bubbles.
Here's what makes them so superior:
- Lamination: They have a 3.2-millimeter UV layer of laminate that can be matte or gloss that protects it from fading and scratches.
- Block-out bubble-free adhesive: A permanent adhesive is on the back, but removal is easy with virtually no debris.
- Backing liner: A silicon-coated backing liner makes them easy to peel off.
- Waterproof adhesive: Stickers printed on 3M material are 100% waterproof, so the sticker nor its adhesive is ruined.
So, how can such a hardy sticker just come right off a laptop? It’s not quite magic—it’s just the quality of the material. It takes only seconds to remove it, and it doesn’t leave residue behind.
If this is of concern to you in the future for personal or work computer equipment, be sure to purchase 3M vinyl stickers.
Want to see how easy our stickers are to remove? Watch the video below.
What If You’re Not Removing High-Quality Vinyl Stickers?
Above is the best-case scenario is getting stickers off laptops. However, that’s not going to be the case for every situation.
For those stickers that aren’t high-quality and provide easy removal, what can you do? Here are our recommendations for safe sticker removal.
You can apply mild abrasives such as a magic eraser or baking soda paste directly to the sticker. It will “wear” them away. Another option is using a dampened microfiber cloth and some elbow grease.
You need to be very careful if using this approach, as too much rubbing or abrasive can cause damage to the laptop case, whether that’s metal or plastic.
There are a variety of oil-based options that might do the trick. Those include mineral, olive, and tea tree oils. These options loosen the adhesive and wet down the sticker so that it’s easier to remove.
To do this, you’d put a small amount of the oil on a clean rag then place it on the sticker so it absorbs the liquid. This method works best for paper stock or uncoated stickers, as they are more susceptible to moisture. After a few minutes, you’ll then need to scrape the remaining pieces of the decal off the laptop.
You’ll want to wipe down the equipment with a clean cloth after removal.
Solvents are a common option, including WD-40, alcohol, glass cleaner, or Goo Gone. A solvent dissolves the sticker and the adhesive.
If using a solvent, apply a small amount of the liquid to a clean cloth. Use the cloth to wet the edges of the sticker. Then wait a few minutes for the solvent to do its work. You should then be able to peel it off quickly.
Follow up by cleaning the laptop's surface with a lint-free cloth to remove any lingering bits of solvent or adhesive. Then finish with a damp rag to ensure all liquid is gone from the laptop. Don’t forget this step, as the remaining solvent can degrade plastic.
If you’re looking for a neat approach and don’t want to use chemicals, a heat gun could be an option. It will need to be on the lowest setting. Point the heat gun (or hairdryer) at the sticker for about 30 to 45 seconds. If the heat feels too intense, go for less than 30 seconds.
You may need to do this several times. Then the sticker should peel off easily without residue. If it’s not budging, you may need to use a scraper to lift the sticker.
Are These Methods Safe for All Laptops?
The safety of these practices depends on where the stickers are. Those on the top of laptops are less concerning because that’s not where the essential electrical pieces are. Stickers that are on the keyboard are more precarious.
If you have concerns, you can look to the manufacturer. For example, Apple doesn’t recommend using solvents to clean their products or remove stickers. They also warn against using liquids, abrasives, and paper towels. In that case, you will likely need to use a scraper or flat plastic tool to lift the sticker.
Stickers That Stick When They Should and Unstick When Needed
The best way to ensure you can remove stickers from your laptop is to use the right kind of sticker. The sticker products printed by Stickerbeat don’t require liquids, solvents, abrasives, or heat for an easy removal process. You just peel up, and the sticker comes up with no residue.
Learn more about our stickers and how to purchase them today.