This weekend I was given the task of removing adhesive bathtub decals or stickers.  These stickers had been attached to the tub for at least 7 or 8 years since we moved into our current residence.  Who knows how long they were attached before we moved in.   The stickers weren’t peeling, they were just ugly and had to go.  So how do you remove stickers from a bathtub?  I have a tendency to google things like this, just because I can find many accounts of what other people have tried, what was suggested and what actually worked.  For me, it took only two tries to successfully remove the bathtub stickers.  The first failed attempt was using a documented, traditional approach.  The second attempt, using a slightly more radical approach, was the successful one.  If I ever have to remove bathtub stickers again, I will start out using the approach that succeeded.

The vinegar approach:

Here is what many documented methods say

  • Heat up white vinegar in a pot
  • Pour hot vinegar on stickers
  • Lay washcloth soaked in hot/warm vinegar over stickers and let sit for several minutes
  • With a plastic scraper/putty knife, pry sticker away from bathtub surface
  • Scrub away the sticky residue

I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but it didn’t work like magic for me.  In fact, many of the stickers didn’t budge, they refused to cooperate.  Maybe that’s why they were longtime residents of the bathtub.  I didn’t have all day to keep on repeating the process, so I tried a different approach.

The radical approach:

Here is a more radical and direct approach, from start to finish it only took 20 minutes.  I wish I had taken pictures but alas I didn’t think ahead to document this process.

Picture taken in Wes' Macro Studio using an iPhone


Before starting you need the following tools:

  • Spray Goo Gone brand Painter’s Pal gel
  • Heavy duty (single edge) razor scraper – you have better control and can hold it at an angle that gets under the stickers without scratching the tub surface.  Your results may vary, but this tool worked better than a putty knife for me.
  • Paper towels for cleanup

Radical method:

  • Open windows, this process does involve fumes.  Not as bad as the vinegar smell, but probably not that good for you to breath without ventilation.
  • Spray Painter’s Pal gel directly on and around the bathtub stickers/decals.
  • Take a break for 5 minutes while the Painter’s Pal gel does its work.
  • Using the Heavy duty razor scraper – with each sticker, place the blade just under the outer edge of the sticker and gently work around the edges toward the center.  As the sticker begins to give, it will get easier.  Don’t worry, if one is stubborn, just move onto the next sticker until you have finished removing the majority of the sticker surface.
  • Remove the sticker debris with paper towels
  • Wipe away dissolved adhesive
  • At this point, the majority of the stickers will be removed, but there might be some adhesive residue on the bathtub surface.
  • If there is adhesive residue, re-apply the Painter’s Pal gel
  • Take another break for 5 minutes while the Painter’s Pal gel does its work.
  • Use the scraper if you need to, but at this point, you will probably just need more paper towels to clean up the dissolved adhesive.