How to Remove Packaging Tape From Cardboard Boxes

Written by angelique de la morreaux
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How to Remove Packaging Tape From Cardboard Boxes
Remove packaging tape from a carboard box before recycling. (what in a cardboard box? image by Andrey Khritin from

Remove packaging tape from cardboard boxes when you want to recycle them or reuse them. Although you could just tear the tape off, this may also take some of the box with it and render the box unfit for use. It is better to use a method which allows the box to remain intact.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton ball
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Scissor
  • Box cutter
  • Cloth
  • Window cleaning product

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  1. 1

    Pull the box toward you and see if the tape lifts. Slide your finger under the lifted portion of the tape and pull it off. Remove as much of the tape as you can

  2. 2

    Dab a cotton ball with acetone nail polish remover and apply to the tape. Keep dabbing and applying the acetone until the chemical loosens the adhesive backing of the tape. Peel off the tape as it rises.

  3. 3

    Use a pair of scissors. Slice the tape at the ends of the box and down the middle. Pull back the edges of the tape and remove. Slide the blade of the scissors under the tape that sticks to the box and keep pushing it under the tape until the tape lifts from the box. Pull it off.

  4. 4

    Cut through the tape with a box cutter. Pull up the sections that remove easily and score the other sections. Wet the sections with a damp cloth dipped in vinegar. Pull up the pieces and discard.

  5. 5

    Spray a window cleaning product on the packaging tape. Allow it to soak into the tape. Remove the tape once it lifts.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow liquids to penetrate the tape but do not soak the box.
  • Some recycling plants allow a small amount of tape.

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