Thursday, 14 May 2009

I couldn't believe the name De-Solv It Sticky Stuff Remover

Advantages: An apt name and this really does do what it says on the bottle

Disadvantages: You might find it a little smelly.

I first happened upon Sticky Stuff Remover years ago when I bought a secondhand book from a charity shop 

I had met up with a friend in a cafe after a day out shopping, and as we sat drinking coffee we showed each other what we had bought that day. 

I showed her the book I bought. When she handed it back to me, I didn't realise I was nibbling away at the corner of the price label on that book as we spoke. My friend noticed this and suggested I get some Sticky Stuff Remover for that. 

I thought she had made it up, as the name at first seems a bit naff, but sure enough such stuff exists. 

When we parted, I toddled along to the nearest hardware shop and bought a bottle. It came in a 250ml size and cost £4.00 - this was eight years ago. I have checked online with places such as These days online you will expect to pay between £3.60 and £5.00. It comes in a bottle about 6 inches tall (15cm). 

My friend told me you only need a tiny bit of this for removing a label from a book. The screw-top lid is one of those safety lids - you need to give it a little squeeze to open. The top is a plastic ring with a little hole in to let the fluid out in drips. Inevitably, some of it is going to run down the sides of the bottle. 

Handy hint time. Go to the chemist and buy a little bottle and eye-dropper. Decant some of the Sticky Stuff remover into the bottle and - hey presto - you can control the amount of fluid coming out with no waste. 

Back to the book label. You literally need ONE drop for a small label, maybe two for a larger one. Drop the fluid on to the label bang on the middle. Wait until the label absorbs the fluid. The label will start to go semi-opaque. Give it a minute or two. If the fluid hasn't spread to the edges (i.e. gone semi-opaque) by five minutes, add another drop. Be aware not all labels will take on this semi-opaqueness. You should in about 95% of instances just be able to peel off the label. 

Just a few words of warning, if the book is an older paperback, or doesn't have a glossy sheen, if you let the fluid go beyond the boundaries of the label and onto the book, the book might soak some of this excess up and leave a 'grease-spot' type stain. So go really easy when you apply the fluid, to guard against this possibility. 

Also, if it is a paperback, put a sheet of greaseproof paper between the cover and the flyleaf, just in case it soaks through - this is just a precaution. 

A positive side-effect I have found of applying too much sticky stuff remover is that, when I wiped off the excess, I found it actually cleaned the book! So, as long as the book has a glossy non absorbent cover, or dustjacket, it can be cleaned. 

I have since bought some real grotty books at the car-boot sale and got to work with the Sticky Stuff Remover and brought them up good as new in many cases. 

This stuff is oily or greasy. It has a smell which you might find 'pleasant'. It smells a little of oranges, but is also a little bitter, so be prepared for a little pong on your books - it does go away. 

I have also used this stuff for other minor cleaning jobs involving sticky stuff. The label claims it will remove oil-based stains and spills from fabrics. It will also remove chewing gum it seems. I haven't tried any of these, so can't make any claims or recommendations. 

I have had the same bottle for years, and as I buy a lot of second hand books from charity shops, (I do need to get their pesky labels off) this stuff gets used. Well I have had this bottle for years and it still feels nearly full.

Summary: This is one of those truly wonder products.

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