How to Remove Scotch Tape From Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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


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.

Things You'll Need

  • WD-40
  • Soft cloth
  • Damp soapy sponge
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.