How to Remove Adhesive from Chrome: 6 Tips

Restored 1953 Buick Automobile
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10
What You'll Need
Rubbing Alcohol
Razor / Plastic Card
Hair Dryer
WD 40

A shiny bumper is easily marred by bumper sticker residue and other adhesives. Bumpers and other forms of chrome allow adhesives to adhere thoroughly, which is great until it is time to remove them. There are a variety of ways you can remove adhesives from chrome while using care not to damage the metal in the process. Here’s a list to get you started.

1. Water

Sometimes, if you are very lucky, simply soaking the adhesive in water will remove it. This does not work for most actual bumper stickers but only for those stickers your child may have applied when your back was turned. Lucky for parents most of the stickers made for children have water-based adhesive. More often than not, though, water dissolves the paper and leaves the adhesive behind.

2. Vinegar

bottle of vinegar

Vinegar will work well to remove adhesive as long as it has not been left on the chrome too long. Elements such as hot sun bake the adhesive onto the metal making it more difficult to remove over time. Vinegar works best for removing the glue from newer items.

3. Razor

A razor is really not the best choice because if you are not careful you can scratch your chrome quite badly. But it is an option. A razor will remove the larger pieces of adhesive. If you choose to use one you can begin with concentrating the heat from a hairdryer onto the sticker for a minute or so , then keeping the razor as flat as possible while you scrape to minimize scratching on the surface. Instead of a Razor you can also use a plastic card.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol in the back of a truck

Rubbing alcohol works very well for removing adhesives. Rubbing alcohol seems to make even stubborn adhesives melt away. Simply apply using a cotton ball and rub until the adhesive dissolves.

5. WD-40

WD-40 works for really stubborn adhesives but will leave a bit of a slippery residue that should be cleaned off as it may stain your chrome.

6. Gasoline

Gasoline will remove any adhesive you can think of. The disadvantage of using it, however, is that it melts the adhesive and turns it into a liquid form that you must wipe off. It also evaporates quickly so you need to use a lot of it. The advantage to gasoline is that it will remove even the “ghost” of the sticker from the chrome. Do not get it on any surrounding plastic since gasoline will damage it.