How to Remove Contact Paper From Shelves

When the contact paper lining your shelves becomes old and dingy and you desire a change, remove the old contact paper first before you apply new paper. Because the contact paper affixes to the shelf with an adhesive backing, you may have to remove the paper in a two-step process to ensure you rid the shelf surfaces completely of any residual adhesive. Spruce up your shelves and give them a new look by removing your old contact paper and replacing it with new paper.

Remove contact paper from shelves to clean the shelves.
  1. Remove all items from the shelves and set them aside.

  2. Turn the blow dryer on to a high heat setting and hold the blow dryer approximately three to four inches away from the surface of the shelves. Direct the air onto the contact paper, moving the blow dryer continually over the surface of the contact paper. Continue applying the blow dryer heat until you begin to see the contact paper lifting and bubbling from the shelf surface.

  3. Turn the blow dryer off and set it aside.

  4. Pull a corner of the contact paper away from the shelf gently and try to tear away as much of the paper as possible. Continue removing the contact paper in chunks by tearing it away until you cannot easily pull it from the shelf.

  5. Loosen any remaining contact paper with the tip of the putty knife and pull away the remaining paper. If you have stubborn areas where the contact paper will not pull away, turn the blow dryer on again, direct it at these areas to melt the adhesive and then pull the remaining contact paper away.

  6. Spray or apply the adhesive remover over the surface of the shelf and allow the product to sit on the shelf for the time recommended on the product label.

  7. Run the blade of the putty knife over the shelf surface to remove the residual adhesive from the shelf. Continue scraping off the adhesive with the putty knife until you clean the shelf completely.

  8. Wipe down the surface of the shelf thoroughly with the paper towels to remove every trace of adhesive remover from the shelf.

  9. Wash the shelves with soapy water and dry them with an old towel. Allow the shelves to dry completely before applying new contact paper.

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