How to Remove Medical Tape Glue


Whether you have undergone a serious medical procedure or simply needed a bandage for a cut, you likely have some residue from the medical tape left on your skin. This glue is stubborn and painful to pull off, and it often turns black from collecting dirt, which is unsightly. You can remove this tape in several ways.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Washcloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Lotion

Rubbing Alcohol Method

  • Moisten a cotton swab with the alcohol. If the medical tape is still attached to your skin, pull up a corner and moisten the area with the alcohol. After allowing the alcohol to dissolve the adhesive, pull the tape up further and soak the newly exposed portion. Continue these steps until the tape is gone.

  • If you are just removing residue, use the alcohol-soaked cotton swab to rub the area in a circular motion until the adhesive slides off easily.

  • Clean your skin with warm water and soap.

  • Apply lotion to hydrate your skin.

Soap and Water Method

Tips & Warnings

  • Some companies make adhesive removers. These are more costly than rubbing alcohol and are not more effective.
  • The soap and water method is less painful if your skin has already torn or blistered from the tape, but it also takes longer and involves more effort.
  • Even if it does not hurt at the time, it is best not to tear the tape from you skin without the aid of rubbing alcohol because tearing will still occur.

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  • Jeanne Johnson, RN
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