UPDATE: How to remove self-adhesive stamps from a paper backing?


Canada Post is issuing more and more self-adhesive stamps and a lot of you have asked how to remove them from a paper backing (such as an envelope). A previous article discussed how to do this using Bestine, a chemical solvent. For obvious reasons, many of you would prefer not to use something chemical.

I am very grateful to Claude Favron for posting his suggestion in our comments section. We tested Mr. Favron’s method at Arpin Philately and found that it worked beautifully. I am reproducing his tip below and hope that you find it useful too. The key to success is soapy water!

«….for self adhesive stamps, I use a large 2 inch deep tray 2/3 full of very hot water (a little hotter than I can stand) and a squirt of dish soap. I throw in my stamps (I will do up to 600 at a time),(I do all stamp with this procedure), then move around gently until they start separating, then soaking in another dish, then rinsing well, as this removes ALL glue residue.»

To review, this is how we proceeded

  • We filled two trays with very hot water and put a bit of dish soap in one of the trays
  • We soaked our stamps (10 to 20 minutes) first in the soapy water until they separated from the paper, swishing them around a bit if needed.
  • Then, we soaked them in the bowl without soap to remove the rest of the glue, rubbing very gently with our thumb to get it all off (it should peel off like a gooey skin)
  • And then let our stamps dry face down on a clean towel or blotting paper.
  • Once dried, we neutralized the remaining stickiness on some stubborn stamps with a sprinkle of talc (baby Powder)
  • Finally we inserted the stamps in a press to give them a beautiful appearance. You can also use a large book and some weight.

Not only is this technique stink-free but everyone has dish soap around the house. Bonus: usually, all the glue comes off, whereas our previously suggested method often leaves some stickiness behind which you have to neutralize with talc. However, if ever there still remains a little bit of stickiness, even with this new method, you can use some talc.

Many thanks to everyone who posts their comments and tips. We take all of them into consideration and appreciate everyone’s interest! Keep them coming!!

5 thoughts on “UPDATE: How to remove self-adhesive stamps from a paper backing?”

  1. The article (How to remove self adhesive stamps) was very good. I have used the method of soaking and washing many times, but never thought of adding dish detergent. I did try this and was very surprised at the results. I soaked a variety of countries and all came out very clean. HOWEVER USA STAMPS STILL WERE VERY STUBBORN AT LEAVING THE PAPER. HAS ANYONE ANY IDEAS TO GET THE USA TO RELEASE ITS STAMPS CLEANLY FROM THE PAPER.

  2. This trick helps to get some of them better of the paper but there’re still so many which wont come off or even break. It’s a curse with those self-adhesive stamps.

  3. I tried this procedure with stamps from Australia in Dawn dish soap and it worked pretty well but then I tried it with Sunlight (lemon) and ALL stamps came out clean.

  4. I have found that the backing for vinyl that is used for printing signs is great for drying stamps. I put a sheet down and as I remove the stamps from soaking put them face up on the plastic side of the paper and make sure they are flat. I blot the stamps with a clean cloth to remove excess water and let them dry. They do not stick to the surface and remain flat.


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