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How to Get Tape Glue Off

When tape sticks to a surface and someone peels it off later, it sometimes leaves behind a sticky tape glue residue. This residue is unattractive, feels sticky and uncomfortable on furniture and looks lumpy on walls underneath new paint.

Tape leaves a glue residue behind on a variety of surfaces.

Things You Will Need

  • Dull knife or razor
  • Warm Water
  • Dish-washing detergent
  • Ammonia
  • Rag
  • Stiff brush (optional)
  • Lubricant and thinner, such as WD-40 (optional)
  • Rubber cement or lacquer thinner (optional)

When tape sticks to a surface and someone peels it off later, it sometimes leaves behind a sticky tape glue residue.  This residue is unattractive, feels sticky and uncomfortable on furniture and looks lumpy on walls underneath new paint.

Tape glue tends to persist through cleaning with normal soap and water; but it will come off with a few simple supplies and steps geared toward removing glue residue rather than normal dirt cleaning. 

  1. Scrape off as much of the tape glue as possible with a dull knife or razor, but be careful not to scratch furniture or wall paint.
  2. A mixture of warm water, dish=washing soap and ammonia can help loosen tape glue.
  3. Mix warm water, dish-washing soap and ammonia, as recommended by the University of Kentucky. Cornell University also explains that a drop of ammonia can help remove tape glue from fabrics.
  4. Use a rag to soften and wipe away as much glue residue as possible.
  5. Use a rag soaked in the cleaning mixture to soak and soften the glue. Try to wipe off as much of the mixture as possible with the rag or try to scrape it off with the knife again. The University of Kentucky also suggest trying to brush off the tape glue with a stiff-bristled brush if the rag does not work well enough . This step might be enough to remove all of the tape glue, but stubborn glue may require an additional step with harsher chemicals.
  6. Rinse off the cleaning solution with water.
  7. Rinse off the cleaning solution with water. Whether all the glue came off or not, rinse away the cleaning solution to remove cleaning product residue from the surface and to avoid mixing the cleaner with future cleaning chemicals.
  8. Spray a lubricating and thinning product, such as WD-40, onto the glue spot. According to the University of Kentucky, the goal is to get as much lubricant between the glue and whatever surface it is stuck to, so take care to spray around the edges of the spot.
  9. Try to remove the glue with a stiff brush, razor, or knife.
  10. Continue trying to scrape off the glue with the brush, a razor or a knife. This step will get rid of most tape glue spots.
  11. Apply some rubber cement thinner or lacquer thinner, as recommended by the University of Kentucky. Use these chemicals only as a last step, because they are the most likely to remove paint or wood finishes in addition to removing the tape glue.
  12. Wipe off the tape glue residue, which should soften greatly with the addition of rubber cement thinner or lacquer thinner.
  13. Tip

    Use cleaning products in a well-ventilated area to avoid headaches and health risks from inhaling their fumes.

    Warning

    Some cleaning products can damage paint or the finish of delicate furniture. When unsure, test the cleaner for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area before spraying a large amount on the glue spot.

Things You Will Need

  • Dull knife or razor
  • Warm Water
  • Dish-washing detergent
  • Ammonia
  • Rag
  • Stiff brush (optional)
  • Lubricant and thinner, such as WD-40 (optional)
  • Rubber cement or lacquer thinner (optional)

Tip

  • Use cleaning products in a well-ventilated area to avoid headaches and health risks from inhaling their fumes.

Warning

  • Some cleaning products can damage paint or the finish of delicate furniture. When unsure, test the cleaner for colorfastness in an inconspicuous area before spraying a large amount on the glue spot.

About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

Photo Credits

  • plastic tape image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
  • plastic tape image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
  • pocket knife image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com
  • bucket close up image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com
  • rag image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com
  • macro spray image by Robert Kelly from Fotolia.com
  • brush image by pjOn from Fotolia.com