I had an hour of free time and found an item in my collection that needed to have a pesky sticker removed - so here is my guide on how to clean cardboard boxes of stickers + leftover residue using the product Goo Gone.
Step 1: Here are the needed items: Goo Gone, a handful of q-tips, paper towel, and cloth/rag (preferably of the micro-fiber kind so that you don't scratch the surface of your item when rubbing/wiping).
Step 2: Start by carefully soaking one of the ends of the q-tips with Goo Gone solution, and wipe the entire surface of the sticker with it. The goal is to get the Goo Gone liquid to soak into the sticker, so that it gets to the underside and start working away at the sticky adhesive against the box. As you continue to do this, using a very good amount of Goo Gone, you might start to see a "stain" on the box from the Goo Gone. Don't worry about this for now, there isn't any permanent damage (but don't go crazy and dump the whole bottle on it).
Step 3: After you've applied a good amount, start to peel the sticker from the corner and edges with your finger nails. It should start to come off easier as Goo Gone continues to work.
Step 4: Continue to re-apply the Goo Gone with your q-tip as the sticker keeps getting peeled back by your nails. This can sometimes take a ton of time and patience, but do it with care so that you don't damage the actual box or scratch the surface. Eventually you'll end up peeling off a fair amount of the tag, but still leaving behind a very thin layer of paper that's stuck to the box. Your goal is to get rid of as much of this as possible with your first try as you slowly rip the tag off the box.
Step 5: Keep applying Goo Gone, and carefully keep on picking at the paper residue. Using the q-tip, you can apply a fair amount of force to the box as you wipe in small circles with Goo Gone and eventually the sticker residue will all start to come off the box and you'll be able to see the box underneath!
Step 6: At this point, wet your cloth with regular water and start to clean that area so you can see what's left as you wipe away the Goo Gone and residue that's coming off. Repeat the process (wipe in circles with q-tip soaked in Goo Gone, pick with finger nails, wipe with wet cloth) and keep going until all of it has been removed.
Step 7: You'll see that between the Goo Gone solution and the moisture from your wet cloth, that sometimes the box will look like it's been "stained"as in the red circled area on the following picture. But not to worry - you can give it some time and it will dry out on it's own and disappear. I used a hair dryer, and after about 5-10 minutes it was completely gone.
Finished: You can check out the resulting finish. It's as if the sticker was never there to begin with. I've tried this method of a variety of different stickers and labels (such as price tags, mail labels, packing tape, scotch tape, and sticker RFID tags) that have been stuck to different kinds of surfaces (such as glossy cardboard, soft magazine covers, heavier magazine covers, and plastic blister-sealed packages).
Sometimes it works like magic and comes off so easy in 3 minutes you wouldn't believe it - other times I've had to be very patient and work on a sticker over a whole week. I've had bad results on 1 or 2 occasions where I used too much Goo Gone + rubbed too hard with the q-tip that it started deteriorating the colors on the surface. Other bad results include stubborn stickers that must've been attached using industrial grade adhesive that simply won't come off. I would say that my success rate is about 80% at a clean job.
Best of luck to you guys!
Good tutorial! This Goo Gone thing isn't availiable in Europe afaik, but nice to see, how it works.
By the way: I tried out the "hair dryer method" once more with another dryer and i guess, it' all abot the heat. The hotter your hair dryer is, the better you get rid off labels on boxes.