Home Remedies for Adhesive Tape Removal


Tape is used for all sorts of things, from crafts and repairing torn paper, to holding plastic over windows in winter, and keeping bandages in place. While useful, tape has been known to leave an adhesive residue behind, or even get stuck on a surface, making it difficult to remove. Explore some home remedies to remove the tape and residue.

Nail Polish Remover

  • Use nail polish remover that contains acetone to dissolve the glue that holds tape in place. Peel back the tape itself completely if you can, and rub some nail polish remover over the remaining residue. This works well on unfinished surfaces. Surfaces that are stained, painted, or sealed can be damaged by the acetone, because it will strip the finish off the spot.


  • Use lubricants to remove stickers from surfaces that may be damaged by the use of acetone. Lubricants such as WD-40 or even cooking oil can be used. Apply the lubricant to the tape or residue, and rub gently to break the bond. Clean the oil off the surface completely before deciding the adhesive residue is removed. You may need to reapply the lubricant, depending on how stubborn the adhesive is.


  • Use heat to melt the adhesive. If the adhesive tape is on a dish or glass, as with price tags or UPC code labels, use hot, soapy water and a scrubbing sponge. For softer surfaces or items that cannot be soaked in a tub or sink, use the heat from your hair dryer to melt the adhesive. As soon as the adhesive is heated up, rub vigorously with a sponge or towel to remove it.


  • Scrape the tape from surfaces on which you are not comfortable heating or applying liquids. Use a new razor blade to scrape under the tape or residue. Start at the end, and bump the blade of the razor into the edge of the tape or adhesive until it works under it. Scrape the tape carefully to avoid damaging your surface.

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  • Photo Credit a tape holder image by Rich Johnson from Fotolia.com
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