How to Unseal an Envelope

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Unseal an Envelope
Unseal an Envelope (Image: sxc.hu/GlennPeb)

If a sealed envelope needs to be reopened, it doesn't have to be destroyed. There are numerous ways to unseal an envelope without causing damage and reseal it without leaving evidence it's been opened. These methods will save envelopes and reduce the need for extra work. They can also be used to unseal an envelope that has been accidentally sealed due to humidity.

Things You'll Need

  • Tall pot
  • Strainer or grill rack
  • Knife
  • Soft, clean cloths
  • Ironing board
  • Iron

Place 2 inches of water in the bottom of a tall pot. Turn on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low.

Place the strainer or grill rack on top of the pot, allowing the steam to pass through it. Place the envelope on the strainer or rack for 30 seconds.

Remove the seal carefully to prevent tears using the blade of a knife. If the seal doesn't break easily, place over the steam for an additional 10 to 15 seconds.

To reseal, place the envelope face down on a soft, clean cloth on the ironing board. Place a second cloth on top of the envelope. Preheat the iron and press around the seal for 30 seconds or until the envelope is resealed.

Use the freezer method to unseal an envelope if a quick fix is needed. Place the envelope in the freezer for at least two hours. Use the blade of a knife to break the seal. The glue will be preserved. Reseal the envelope normally once the glue reaches room temperature.

Tips & Warnings

  • A letter opener, scissors, or any other sharp, metal blade can be used in place of a knife if necessary. If using the first method to unseal an envelope and an ironing board isn't available, a table or other hard surface may be used.
  • Never open someone else's mail without her permission. This is against the law.

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