How to remove old scotch tape residue from paper

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to remove old scotch tape residue from paper
Remove Sellotape residue carefully. (plastic tape image by timur1970 from

Sellotape is a clear adhesive often used to mount pictures and other paper-based items. Although Sellotape is durable and securely hangs paper objects for long periods, it can be difficult to remove. The tape often leaves a sticky residue that is sometimes also discoloured. In addition, the Sellotape can tear the paper. When removing Sellotape from paper, proceed slowly and with the proper technique so as not to damage the paper.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Steam iron
  • Water
  • Ironing board
  • Knife
  • Gum eraser

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  1. 1

    Plug in a steam iron and fill the water reservoir with the amount of water recommended by the manufacture. Allow the iron to sit for five minutes to heat up.

  2. 2

    Place the paper item on a flat surface, such as an ironing board, and turn the iron to the steam setting.

  3. 3

    Pick up the iron and turn it downward just as if you were ironing clothing. Position the steam of the iron approximately 6 inches above the tape residue on the paper. Hold the iron in place for 10 to 15 seconds.

  4. 4

    Set the iron aside and scrape the blade of a knife along the surface of the paper gently to scrape away the majority of the Sellotape residue. Allow the paper to dry.

  5. 5

    Examine the surface for remaining tape residue. If residue is still present, lightly rub the surface of the tape residue with a gum eraser. The gum eraser with roll up the sticky residue that was softened by the steam. Brush the residue away with your hand.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also remove the remaining residue using a piece of white bread instead of the gum eraser.

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