Household cleaning: How to remove old scotch tape

Some ways to remove old scotch tape from walls or furniture.

Here is a well-rounded list of different methods for removing old scotch tape. Some of these recommended substances can ruin whatever the tape is stuck to, so it’s wise to treat a test spot first if in doubt. You may have to treat the surface fairly quickly with some of the below products in order to prevent marring of the finish.

Different Methodologies for Removing Old Scotch Tape from Surfaces:

How to remove old scotch tape 300x300 Household cleaning: How to remove old scotch tape

How to remove old scotch tape

The Manual Method — Use a razor blade and scrape off the tape and adhesive. This works well on glass or other smooth surfaces that won’t be marred by the razor blade. If there is any leftover adhesive that won’t come off, use one of the below methods to remove it.

The Minimalist Method — Use your fingernail to get the tape off and your finger to rub the glue off.

The Soap Method — If you’ve removed the tape from a glass or smooth surface, the adhesive should come off with dish detergent and hot water. Use a rough kitchen scrub pad and expect the glue and tape to stick to it, possibly ruining it so that it can’t be used again.

The Sticky Method — Use masking tape (or scotch tape) to pull the adhesive from smooth surfaces. This method is very effective, as sticky attracts sticky. First remove as much of the plastic tape as possible. Then take a short piece of masking tape and adhere the ends together to make a closed circle. Put it around your fingers and press onto the adhesive you want to remove. Lift off and you should see the glue come off the surface. If there is a lot of adhesive, this method could be somewhat time consuming, but at least it doesn’t involve any chemicals. Choose the stickiest of tapes for this method, as they will take off large patches of adhesive fast. Consider using duct tape or electrical tape if you can find a brand that has a strong adhesive. Heating the adhesive you’re trying to remove with a hair dryer can facilitate this method.

The Oil Method — Use olive oil or mineral oil, which are old standbys for glass or smooth surfaces. Peanut butter should work too, or peanut oil. Rub or scrape after applying and soon enough, the adhesive will easily come off. If nail polish remover or alcohol will dissolve the surface finish of the item, use either of these oils instead. Not recommended if you plan to paint the surface after tape removal.

The Solvent Method — Use nail polish remover (acetone), alcohol, lighter fluid, WD-40, turpentine or paint thinner — these solvents are good at dissolving the glue remaining after the tape has been removed. If the tape is on wood, furniture oil is a good choice. Test the solvent on an inconspicuous spot first, to see how it acts upon the finish of the item.

The Modern Method — The manufactured, modern solution to adhesive removal is Goo Gone or other variants thereof. These products rev up the removing power because they contain both oil and either a petroleum based solvent or a citrus solvent.

The Delicate Method — Use Un-Du Liquid Adhesive Remover. This is a revolutionary type of liquid adhesive remover that can remove stickers, labels and tapes without damaging or staining the surface or leaving an oily residue. It’s great for removing tape on a photo, and even works on thin, fragile surfaces such as silk or tissue paper.

The Artwork Method — Use UnSeal Adhesive Releasing Solvent to remove adhesives from artwork or books. This product contains heptane and is used in bookstores, libraries and frame shops.

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