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How to Remove Duct Tape Residue Easily

Reviewed by Professional Cleaner Jennifer L. Betts
Old Taped Vintage Real Paper

You can remove duct tape residue using methods specific to the material. You want to modify the method depending on what type of material you need to clean.

Materials to Remove Duct Tap Residue

There are several household products that will loosen stubborn glue residue. Check your pantry and under the sink to see if you have any of these items:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Vodka
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clean cloth
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • WD 40
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Goo Gone
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing soda aka sodium carbonate (soda ash)

General Instructions to Remove Duct Tape Residue

You can learn how to remove duct tape residue from most items. The sticky residue is from a glue, so you can soften or even melt it with heat. Use something as simple as hot water and a cloth.

Hair Dryer Method

Some people tackle duct tape residue with a hair dryer. This will soften the glue residue, but you'll have to work fast to force it to release from the object. You most likely don't want to use any kind of scraper since it could damage the object you're trying to free from the tape residue.

Remove Duct Tape Residue From Glass

The best way to remove the nasty residue left behind on glass from duct tape is with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). If you don't have any rubbing alcohol on hand, break into your liquor cabinet or freezer and retrieve that bottle of vodka. Both forms of alcohol act as solvents to the tape residue. Use a clean cloth to wipe the loosened glue off the object. You can also use hand sanitizer for the same dissolving effect on the sticky residue.

  1. Apply the liquid directly to the glass area.
  2. Allow it to soak for a few minutes but avoid letting the alcohol evaporate.
  3. Work in a circular rubbing motion with a soft cloth to remove loosened glue.
  4. Repeat if you're working with stubborn residue.
  5. Warm, soapy water will remove any remnants.
  6. Rinse with clean water and towel/cloth dry.

Remove Tape Residue From Plastic

Removing tape residue from plastic may require trying a couple of methods before it loosens. Try rubbing alcohol first. Don't use nail polish remover since it can corrode the plastic. You may have better results with a vegetable oil or olive oil.

  1. Apply the oil directly to the residue.
  2. Allow it to soak in
  3. Wipe clean with a soft cloth.
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Use a soft dry cloth to dry off the plastic.

Does WD 40 Remove Duct Tape Glue Residue?

WD40 is a very effective solvent for duct tape glue residue. You can use it on various no porous surfaces.

  1. Just spray WD 40 on the tape residue
  2. Allow it to soak for around 10 minutes.
  3. Using a clean dry cloth, wipe the loosened glue from the object.
  4. Repeat the process for stubborn duct tape residue.
  5. Clean up with warm soapy water
  6. Rinse with clean water on a cloth.
  7. You can then use a clean dry cloth to finish up.

Can You Get Duct Tape Residue Off Scissors?

There are a few ways you can get duct tape residue off a pair of scissors. The easiest is a product designed specifically as an adhesive remover. WD 40 is perhaps the most commonly used method. Either one can be applied directly to the residue on the scissors and wiped off with clean with a dry cloth. You can finish up with warm soapy water, rinse with clean water, and dry with a towel or cloth.

Cleaning Scissors with a cloth

It's Easy to Remove Residue From a Car

If you need to remove duct tape residue from the exterior of your car, use WD 40. Spray directly on the residue or onto a soft cloth and gently rub the area, careful not to scratch the paint or finish. Wipe off with a soft dry cloth. You may need to touch up your wax job once you're finished.

Man cleaning car headlights taped to protect paint rubbing with blue shop towel

Duct Tape Residue on Interior of a Car

You can use WD 40 on many car interiors. It's best to do a spot test first to ensure it won't harm the car's interior finishes. Avoid using on leather seats.

It's Easy to Remove Duct Tape Residue From Leather

Warm soapy water is the gentlest way to remove duct tape residue from leather. You may need to repeat a few times to get all of the glue residue. Clean with clear fresh water followed by a dry soft cloth. Once dry, you can apply a leather conditioner.

Can Duct Tape Residue Be Removed From Fabric?

You can use a hand sanitizer on the duct tape residue on clothing or other fabrics. Allow the hand sanitizer to soak into the fabric, then use a dry soft cloth and gently rub the area to remove the loosened glue. You may need to repeat the process. Before tossing the item into the wash, give it a boost to remove any leftover hand sanitizer or residue by spraying the area with a laundry stain remover.

A hikers tattered pant leg fixed with duct tape

Clean Tape Residue From Wood Floors

A hardwood floor can be tricky when it comes to removing duct tape residue. You can try the product Goo Gone that is wood floor friendly.

  1. You can apply it to directly to the glue residue.
  2. Allow it to soak into the leftover glue for a few minutes.
  3. Use paper towels to lift the loosened glue from the wood.
  4. You may need to repeat the process to get all of the residue.
  5. Use a damp soapy cloth to clean the area and rinse with a damp cloth of clean water.
  6. Be sure to dry the area with a fresh dry cloth.
  7. This process shouldn't affect the floor's finish. If it does, do a touch up with a bit of floor wax or floor polish.
Wiping wooden laminate parquet floor

WD 40 Removes Duct Tape Residue From Fiberglass

By far, WD 40 is the best method for removing duct tape residue from fiberglass. This solvent will soften and loosen the glue residue without damaging the fiberglass finish.

Remove Residue From Stone Countertops or Tables

If you have duct tape residue on a granite countertop or marble tabletop, remove it with a 1:1 ratio mix of laundry detergent and washing soda aka sodium carbonate (soda ash).

  1. Add enough warm water to the two dry ingredients.
  2. Make a loose paste.
  3. Apply the loose paste mixture with a cloth or paint brush by covering the residue.
  4. Allow the mixture to soak into the glue and soften it.
  5. Use a damp cloth to remove the mixture and glue.
  6. Use warm water and a clean cloth to rinse.
  7. Dry with a clean cloth.

Different Ways to Remove Sticky Residue

It's easy to remove duct tape residue. Once you learn the different methods available, you may be encouraged to tackle that unsightly leftover glue.

How to Remove Duct Tape Residue Easily