How To Remove Double-Sided Tape and Residue (Step-by-Step Guide)

How To Remove Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided tape is a tool used around the home for both repair and modification. It’s incredibly versatile and can prove helpful in a wide variety of situations.

Using double-sided tape can help you address all kinds of needs, but it presents issues of its own. To be more specific, removing double-sided tape can become really annoying and messy if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Soak a rag in warm water and rub it on the double-sided tape to weaken it. You can also loosen the tape with a hairdryer, then try to lift the tape by one of its corners. Direct more hot air or apply more warm water if the tape is still stuck until you can peel it off.

Removing double-sided tape can be frustrating if you don’t know how to do it properly. Learn more about the steps to follow and other tips related to using double-sided by continuing with this article.

When Do You Need to Use Double-Sided Tape?

Double-sided tape is more commonly used for manufacturing and events to put up signage and secure carpets. However, it can also prove useful in and around your home.

For instance, homeowners who want to improve home insulation may look into covering their windows with plastic. Double-sided tape is a good type of adhesive to use in that situation. Folks who are looking to put up some vapor barriers may also benefit from using double-sided tape.

Using double-sided is also a good idea if you want to improve acoustics in a home studio. They excel at securing foam panels to walls.

Of course, you may also have to make changes inside your home from time to time, meaning tape removal becomes necessary. Thankfully, that’s a process you should be able to easily handle.

The Simplest Way to Remove Double-Sided Tape

Removing double-sided tape is a simple and straightforward process. You don’t even need any elaborate tools to get the job done. A few household items will be more than helpful enough in ensuring proper removal.

Step 1: Get the Items Needed for Double-Sided Tape Removal

You have a few choices to make with regard to the tools you’ll need to remove the double-sided tape. First, you can opt to use a hairdryer if you have an outlet close to the piece of tape. If you don’t have a hairdryer, you’ll need hot water, a bowl, a rag, and some gloves.

Also, take the time to find a putty knife. You’ll need that to complete the removal of the tape.

Step 2A: Weaken the Double-Sided Tape’s Adhesion Using Hot Water

Pour your hot water into a bowl and then put on your gloves. Next, get the rag and soak that in the hot water.

Get the rag soaked with hot water next and place that over the strip of double-sided tape. You should now allow the rag to sit on top of the tape until it cools down. The reason why you put the gloves on is to ensure you can keep the rag in position.

Step 2B: Weaken the Double-Sided Tape’s Adhesion Using the Hairdryer

Using a hairdryer is more convenient if you have an outlet close to the strip of tape you want to remove. Plug the hairdryer in and then turn it to the medium setting.

You should now point the hairdryer to the strip of double-sided tape. Keep it there for at least a few minutes to soften the grip of the tape.

Step 3: Check on the Double-Sided Tape

After allowing either the hot water or the hot air to soften the tape, check on the strip yourself. If its grip is still strong and you don’t think you can remove it cleanly, apply more hot water or air.

Step 4: Lift One Corner of the Double-Sided Tape

Get your putty knife now and use that on one of the corners of the tape. Your goal here is to dislodge at least one corner of the strip so you can pull on it. It may take a few tries, but you should be able to lift one of those corners eventually.

Step 5: Carefully Remove the Strip of Double-Sided Tape

Grab hold of the corner you lifted and start pulling it away from the surface. Don’t rush to pull away the tape or you could end up damaging the surface.

Optional Step: Use a Cleaning Solution to Weaken the Double-Sided Tape’s Grip

We’re putting this here as an optional step because you want to avoid it as much as possible. If the hot water or air is not weakening the tape’s grip, that means you’ll need to use a cleaning solution.

Mix together some water, vinegar, and liquid soap to create your cleaning solution. Apply that to the strip of tape by rubbing it in. That should be enough to dissolve any adhesion the double-sided tape still had.

The reason why we’re listing this as an optional step is because it can affect the surface you’re working on. The cleaning solution can weaken the tape, but it could also cause the paint on the surface to fade.

How to Remove the Double-Sided Tape’s Residue

Removing the strip of double-sided tape is often not enough. You will likely also have to work on removing the residue it leaves behind. We’ll highlight the different items and methods you can use to remove tape residue in this section.

Use a Commercial Cleaner for Tape Residue

One way to get rid of tape residue is to use commercial cleaners. Just pour some of the cleaner over the residue, let it soak, and then wipe the residue away.

Understandably though, some homeowners may prefer not to purchase a product that’s only for removing tape residue. On top of that, you may want to avoid using this kind of cleaner because it can damage plastic.

Use Soapy Water on the Tape Residue

Soapy water can be used to remove tape residue, especially if the water is warmed up first. Allow the warm soapy water to sit so that the residue softens significantly. Don’t use soapy water on stone surfaces though as it tends to leave its own nasty residue behind.

Use Alcohol to Soften the Tape Residue

Alcohol is more compatible with more surfaces, which arguably makes it a better option than commercial cleaners and soapy water. The problem with alcohol is that it can damage paint if you use too much of it so be careful.

Use Food-Grade Oil on the Tape Residue

Food-grade oil can work as a lubricant that loosens up the bits of residue left behind after removing the tape. It works well on most surfaces as long as they aren’t covered by some kind of paper or fabric. Watch where you use food-grade oil because it can leave stains behind on certain surfaces.

Use High Water Pressure to Remove the Tape Residue

If you’re trying to remove residue from rugged surfaces, you can rely on high water pressure to get the job done. Direct the water on to the bits of residue to blast them away. Just remember that high water pressure can cause serious damage so be careful when using it.

Use a Sharp Edge to Scrape Away the Tape Residue

Lastly, you can also use something sharp to remove the tape residue from most surfaces. Putty knives should work here, but you can also use a razor blade if the bits of residue are really tough.

Related Questions

How Do You Prevent Double-Sided Tape from Leaving Residue Behind?

No one likes seeing tape residue on a bare surface. By following a couple of tips, you can minimize the chances of residue being left behind after you remove the tape.

The first thing you want to do is to clean the surface you will use the tape on. The presence of debris is the primary cause of residue since the tape isn’t clinging completely just to the surface.

Before you even lay down the strip of tape, take the time to clean the surface carefully. Wipe it clean with the appropriate cleaning solution and a rag, then let it air dry. You can stick on the double-sided tape after that.

The other thing you can do if you want to discourage the emergence of tape residue is to shop better. Double-sided tape may not be the best choice in certain scenarios. Consider using something else more compatible with the surface you’re eyeing to minimize residue.

What Are the Alternatives to Double-Sided Tape?

If you don’t want to deal with the problems that could stem from using double-sided tape, consider your alternatives instead. Painter’s tape is very easy to remove and doesn’t leave residue behind. Gaffer’s tape is a good choice for acoustic applications.

You can also turn to other common adhesives such as glue. Velcro strips are also worthy of consideration as they don’t leave residue behind.

Should You Always Remove Double-Sided Tape Slowly?

Taking your time when removing double-sided tape is recommended because it’s assumed that it’s been stuck there for a while. Slow removal will minimize potential damage to the surface the tape was covering.

Now, if the strip of tape was only recently applied, you can remove it quickly. Faster removal is even recommended because it will reduce the odds of producing residue.

Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners and home improvement enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and gardening tips with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance, cleaning your carpet, or even putting up a fence, we've got you covered.

Recently Published