How to Remove Scotch Tape From Wood

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Removing adhesive from a wood surface may be an exercise in futility due to the sticky strength of the glue. Almost invisible, scotch tape when adhered to wood may not make itself known for a while, allowing the tape to become as one with the wood surface. By following a basic process you can remove scotch tape or any adhesive from a smooth surface in a matter of minutes without destroying the finish.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • WD-40
  • Soft cloth
  • Damp soapy sponge

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  1. 1

    Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the scotch tape and allow the lubricant to set on the tape surface for a few minutes. The lubricant formula of WD-40 will begin to break down the sticky adhesive of the tape.

  2. 2

    Use the backside of your thumbnail and gently pry the edge of the tape off of the wood. The tape will become a little gooey as the lubricant dissolves the adhesive.

  3. 3

    Spray another small amount of the WD-40 onto the remaining glue that is on the wood surface.

  4. 4

    Gently buff the wood with a clean soft cloth. Any remaining adhesive will be pulled off of the surface of the wood.

  5. 5

    Use the damp soapy sponge to clean up any residue of the lubricant remaining on the wood finish.

Tips and warnings

  • WD-40 will not damage any wood surfaces that have a sealed finish applied to the wood. Scotch tape will not readily adhere to a wood surface that does not have a finish applied. The tape's adhesive is made to bond to slick and smooth surfaces. WD-40 also works well on removing permanent black marker and other glues from many surfaces. WD-40 stands for Water Displacement formula 40, it was developed by a defense contractor for keeping airplanes fuselage parts from rusting while in transit to be finished.
  • Do not use WD-40 on unfinished wood surfaces as it may stain the open pored wood grain.

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