How to Remove Reflective Tape

Written by lynndee marooney
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Reflective tape is stronger and more durable than regular vinyl tape. Reflective tape is designed for outdoor, heavy-duty uses. This kind of tape is used on bicycles, motorcycles, helmets, cars, RVs, boats, skateboards and clothing. When lights from vehicles or other sources hit the reflective tape, it reflects the light and helps to make the rider or item more visible in the dark. Because reflective tape has such a strong adhesive, removing the tape completely often requires an additional step.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Blow dryer
  • Vegetable oil
  • Goo Gone
  • Sharp knife
  • Rag

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  1. 1

    Turn on the blow dryer. Direct the dryer on the area where the reflective tape is attached. The heat expands and loosens the tape, which will allow you to remove it more easily.

  2. 2

    Insert the tip of a sharp knife under a corner of the tape. Lift the tape until you can grasp it with your fingers. Pull the tape back slowly at a 45-degree angle until all of it has been removed. If the tape breaks, use the knife to lift another edge, then resume pulling the tape off.

  3. 3

    Scrape and wipe off as much of the adhesive residue as possible. Be careful when scraping the adhesive so you don't damage the surface.

  4. 4

    Place a thin layer of vegetable oil or Goo Gone on any remaining adhesive. Leave on the adhesive for one to three hours. If the adhesive is thick, leave the oil or Goo Gone on for three hours.

  5. 5

    Wet a rag with warm water and wipe the area. The adhesive should come right off. Rinse the rag and repeat the process until all of the adhesive is removed. If any adhesive remains, reapply the vegetable oil or Goo Gone and allow it to sit an additional one to three hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Goo Gone can be purchased from your local hardware store or home improvement centre.
  • If you are working on removing a large area of tape, you may need to heat the tape in sections.

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