How to Remove Double-Sided Tape Stuck on Household Surfaces

By Marilyn Syarto


It’s inevitable that you’ll likely break or chip a few of your fingernails trying to fully remove double-sided tape from surfaces such as wood, wallboard, metal, glass, or plastic. Double-sided tape—which is a tape that has glue on both sides—can be ideal in many situations when you want to join two surfaces without using nails, staples, or tacks. Or, maybe you’re trying to repair broken latches or secure a rug to the floor.


There are a few types of double-sided tape, including sticky cellophane tape, double-sided tape specialized for carpet, outdoor tape, and double-sided foam tape. Each is equally frustrating when trying to cleanly remove the high-tack material.


One thing that can make double-sided tape tougher to remove is its exposure to high heat in the summer or in hot environments. The heat makes the adhesive dry out, which cements the tape to the surface it’s on. Luckily, there are a few proven techniques for how to remove double-sided tape that’ll make this job easier to tackle. We’ll cover all of those ways in this guide, so read on!

piece of double-sided tape stuck to wall

Photo via Leah Deverett


How to Remove Double-Sided Tape with Packing Tape

Grab a roll of packing tape (a DIYer’s favorite product to have on hand for making labels and more). Put a piece of the packing tape right over the double-sided tape. Press down on it so it has good adhesion to the double-sided tape. Then, pull on the packing tape. If all goes well, the packing tape’s strength will be enough to help lift off the double-sided tape, as well. If not, there are a few other doulble-sided tape removal methods to try below.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape with a Hair Dryer

Grab your hair dryer! Heat from a hair dryer can soften the dried adhesive on the tape, allowing it to be removed easier. Here's how to do it.


Safety Warning

This method works wonders to release double-sided tape from metal surfaces, but be sure to wear protective gloves because the metal will get hot. Also, do not use this method on glass or windows; the heat could potentially crack the surface.


Tools and Materials Needed:


Step 1: Blow on the Edges

Turn on the hottest setting of your hair dryer, unless high heat will affect the surface that the tape is stuck on. Focus the heat of the hair dryer on the edges of the tape to soften the adhesive.


Step 2: Slip in a Knife

When you see or feel an edge softening up, slip the edge of a knife under the tape to begin to lift it up. You can do this in tandem with the hair dryer still focused on the edge of the tape.


Step 3: Peel

Once you have enough tape to grab, try to peel it off the surface. You may need to continue working the hair dryer and knife to release enough of the tape to get a grip. Use the jar/bottle opener gripper tool to grab, grip, and pull up the edge of the tape and remove it.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape With Glass Cleaner

Here’s a way to dissolve double-sided tape, especially on glass or windows, without damaging the surface. It may take a bit of elbow grease but it sure beats a yellowing piece of tape forever stuck to the glass!


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Butter knife or other non-serrated knife
  • Glass cleaner
  • Cooking oil or cleaning oil (like WD-40)
  • Two-sided soft/abrasive sponge


Step 1: Pick off Tape

Try using your fingernail or a non-serrated knife to pick off as much tape as possible.


Step 2: Spray Window Cleaner

Begin the process of softening the tape by spraying glass cleaner on top of the tape.


Step 3: Sponge the Tape

Use the soft side of the sponge to begin scrubbing off the tape. Scrub in a circular motion. Use the abrasive side if necessary. Some of the tape will begin to curl up. Keep spraying window cleaner and sponging the area.


Step 4: Add Oil

Saturate the tape with cooking or cleaning oil to further soften the tape and the adhesive. Let it sit for a minute. Begin to scrub with the sponge. The tape's adhesive should completely dissolve, allowing you to lift up the tape.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape with a Razor Blade

Use a single-edged razor blade to remove double-sided tape only on surfaces that will not be ripped or heavily scratched. You can try this method on wood, glass, and windows, for example, but using a razor on walls, plastic, or other softer surfaces can cause damage.


Safety Warning

Use protective gloves while using the razor blade and work very slowly and carefully to avoid the blade slipping and hurting you or damaging the surface where the tape is stuck on.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Single-edged razor blade
  • Protective gloves
  • Rubber jar/bottle opener gripper tool
  • Packaging tape


Step 1: Use Small Razor Strokes

Use protective gloves while using the razor blade. Hold the razor blade at an angle and begin to push on the end corner of double-sided tape. It may be enough to lift up a bit of the corner.


Step 2: Grab and Grip

If you were successful at releasing a corner, grab it with your fingers or a gripper tool and pull. If the tape rips, begin with Step 1 again by pushing on the end of the tape with the razor blade.


Step 3: Release Residue With Tape

Once you remove some of the tape using the razor, clean the adhesive up more by placing a piece of packaging tape over the area where there is residue and lifting the tape. More residue will come up with the tape.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape With Floss or Fishing Line

If you are hesitant to try a razor blade on your surface but you know you need something sharp to do the job, try flossing off the tape. Use thin waxed tooth floss or fishing line to release the tape. Hold the floss tightly using both hands and try to coax it behind the tape enough so you can pull it off.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape with Vinegar

Vinegar can be a solvent, but avoid using it on stone surfaces where it can do some etching damage. This method will moisten the dried adhesive and release the tape.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Water


Step 1: Mix Vinegar and Water

Use a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake to mix.


Step 2: Spray and Let Soak

Liberally spray the mixture on the tape, especially around the edges. Let the mixture sit on the tape for a few minutes to soak into the adhesive.


Step 3: Try Lifting the Tape

When you think the tape is loosening up, lift it with your fingers and pull. Repeat the process if necessary.




How to Remove Double-Sided Tape from a Car Exterior

You’ll find many forums helping car owners try to remove double-sided tape from the exterior of an automobile. A simple solution or two comes from Prius Chat: Rub vegetable oil (such as Crisco) on the tape with a soft microfiber cloth and gently rub to release the tape. Or, try flooding the tape with a gentle cleaner, such as Simple Green, to dissolve the tape. Either method will not affect car paint as long as you are gentle when removing the tape.

rubbing tape residue off cabinet

Photo via Terry Duke


How to Remove Tape Residue

Once you remove the bulk of the tape, you will likely have tiny hard nuggets of adhesive residue that still need to be lifted from the surface. Here are a few ways you can achieve this final step:


Dry Towel

Rub the adhesive off of a painted or wallpapered surface with a dry microfiber towel.


Dish Soap

Scrub the surface with a mix of hot water and liquid dish soap, rinse, and dry. This is the safest method to use to remove adhesive from surfaces such as acrylic, plaster, copper, enamel, linoleum, marble, pewter, plexiglass, and vinyl, according to EchoTape, makers of heavy-duty construction tapes.


Vinegar and Baking Soda

Mix some white vinegar and baking soda to make a gently abrasive and more powerful adhesive remover.


Rubbing Alcohol

Liberally apply rubbing alcohol to the adhesive using a microfiber towel. Apply some pressure and scrub the adhesive off the surface.


Magic Eraser

Gently rub a magic eraser on the area to remove the adhesive (just be careful that it doesn’t take off paint or wallpaper).


Oil

Apply a bit of WD-40 or Goo Gone to the adhesive and rub it off with a towel.


Have you experienced the challenge of removing double-sided tape? Where did you remove it from and how did you do it? Please share your tips in the comments below.

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