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How to Remove Tape Residue

Tape is a necessity on the jobsite. From seam tape for surface protectors to light, low-tack painter’s tape, it comes in handy for a wide range of applications. When properly applied, most tapes shouldn’t leave residue, but accidents happen. 

Dealing with the sticky residue left behind by tape can be time consuming and challenging. Fortunately, there are numerous effective methods to remove tape residue from different surfaces without causing damage. We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to remove residue on different surface types. As always, test before use. 

1. Rubbing Alcohol for Versatile Residue Removal

Rubbing alcohol is a versatile, easy solution that can be used on a range of surfaces including glass, plastic and metal. To use, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a microfiber cloth and scrub in a circular motion until the residue begins to dissolve.  


tape residue being removed from wall with a damp microfiber cloth 2. Gentle Soapy Water for Delicate Surfaces

For delicate surfaces such as painted walls, wallpaper, wood, and ceramic, we recommend using warm water and soap to avoid damage. Simply soak a microfiber rag in warm, soapy water (dish soap will work just fine). Gently rub the sticky area until the residue begins to loosen. Rinse the area with clean water, and dry thoroughly to prevent any water damage. 


3. Oil-Based Solutions for Stubborn Residue

Household oils such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, and most cooking oils can breakdown and dissolve tape residue. The chemical properties of household oils (including solubility, low surface tension, and potential chemical interactions with the adhesive) allow them to break down and weaken the tape residue, making it easier to remove from surfaces. 


4. Heat and Scraping for Residue on Hard Surfaces

When household solutions just won’t cut it, heat can typically help soften the residue. Using a hairdryer on a low setting to heat the residue and a plastic scraper can be effective for removing residue from hard surfaces like glass or metal. Simply heat, scrape, and wipe away the remnants. 


5. Specialized Adhesive Removers for Quick Action

Commercial adhesive removers are specifically designed to tackle sticky residue efficiently. Every option is different, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings prior to use.  


Tackle Tape Residue

Most jobsites need tape. From traditional painter’s tape, to specialized surface protection seam tape, the versatility is unmatched. However, the potential risk of harmful residue is always a concern. Tackling tape residue can be frustrating, but armed with the right methods, you can remove any sticky residue easily.  


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