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How to Remove Scotch Tape From a Desk

Jenny Harrington

A dispenser of clear adhesive tape is a staple in many desk drawers. Once it gets stuck on the surface of the desk, it can be difficult to remove it fully. The longer it stays on the desk, the harder it becomes to remove the adhesive. The material of the desk also plays a part in cleanup. Wood desks run the danger of having their finish marred during tape removal. Metal is less prone to damage, though painted metal surfaces can suffer paint chipping. Removing the tape properly helps prevent damage and gets the desk back to looking like new.

Tape is useful until it gets stuck where it doesn't belong.
  1. Slide your fingernail under the tape and lift up one corner. Pull it off the desk slowly, which removes more adhesive and prevents the tape from pulling up paint.

  2. Combine a squirt of dish soap with a gallon of warm water. Soak a cloth in the soapy water then wring out the excess moisture.

  3. Dab the remaining adhesive with the wet cloth, thoroughly soaking it. Rub it gently once it is moistened, removing as much adhesive as possible. Wipe the surface dry.

  4. Dip a second cloth into a solvent, such as lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol. Press the solvent onto the adhesive and hold it in place until the adhesive dissolves, usually within two or three minutes. Reapply the solvent if necessary.

  5. Wash the area a second time with the soapy water, removing any remaining solvent. Wipe the desk dry.