Cleaning tip: How To Remove Masking Tape Residue Easily

We all know that masking tape is a must-have item that assists DIYers a lot in repairing things. But, after doing the paint or applying stickers on your stuff, there will be sticky residues of masking tape when you remove it, which comes tricky to do away with later.

If you find yourself stuck in this situation, then you may know how unpleasant that is. Leaving the residue over time can make it harder to clean away.

That’s why we are here today to provide you with methods to remove masking tape residue to achieve a smooth surface for your items. Just with simple tools and equipments, you can do it by yourself! Let’s get started!


How To Remove Masking Tape Residue – Step-By-Step Tutorial

What You Need

  • Butter knife or razor blade
  • Hairdryer 
  • Dish soap
  • Cleaning liquid: WD-40 or Vaseline
  • Cotton cloth 
  • Gloves

Guide in Great Detail

Sometimes, the ultimate way to remove tape residue is to apply more masking tape on the surface. This can especially work on nonporous surfaces. Your job is to use the tape at the essential part, rubbing your fingers over it for sticking to the surface. After that, peel the tape off in one fast motion. The purpose is to also peels off the remaining residue of the tape.  

But if your residue still sticks on, or with old residue, the above method may not work. In that case, let’s follow our step-by-step guide to remove masking tape residue effectively!

Step 1 – Scrape Away Residue

Before scraping away, you should take advantage of hot air first to wear off the adhesion of masking tape residue so that you can remove them more easily later.

Reach for a hairdryer, turn on at the highest setting and dry the surface far from several inches one minute before scraping it away. Keep an eye on this process to prevent the surface around the masking tape from being ruined by the heat.

After that, scrape away any stubborn residue by a butter knife or razor blade. Inspect your working surface, especially when there was paint on it, like your car, your wooden furniture. Use the knife gently and keep away from delicate areas; otherwise, you may damage it.

Step 2 – Apply Cleaning Liquid To The Surface

If your residue is too stubborn, you may need to use petroleum-based liquid, like Vaseline or WD-40. Wear gloves and apply the liquid to the place where the tape residue sticks, and avoid scratching and damaging the delicate surfaces. 

You can also create homemade liquid to remove masking tape residue by combining vinegar and lime water with normal water by the ratio of 1:1:1.

Do not go for acetone products when removing tape residue as you may damage the finished surfaces, especially plastic. Acetone melts most plastics, leaving them tarnished or stained. Moreover, do not mix the different liquids. For safety, you’d better utilize one type of liquid only.

Step 3 – Use A Cloth to Rub The Surface

After applying the liquid for cleaning, deploy your cotton cloth and rub at the tape residue to remove it. If you are unable to remove the residue, add more liquid. It is helpful if you saturate the residue for a quick and effective removal rather than pouring the liquid occasionally.

A tip for you is to go for thicker clothes and has the power of scrubbing. However, it would be best if you did not choose cloth that is too thick or rough, and it should be made of fabrics resisting scratch or cotton.

Step 4 – Clean The Surface With Soap

When you have finished you have cleaned all the masking tape residue, let’s start cleaning the surface so that you can do away with slippery or glossy. Combine light dish soap with water and use a cotton cloth to dip in the mixture. Then, rub the cloth on the surface having slippery where you have removed the masking tape residue. 

To ensure all the remaining slippery is gone, you then use another cloth and wipe the surface to dry.

Tips To Prevent Tape Residue

To prevent tape residue, keep in minds our following recommendation when applying the tape:

  • Let your surface clean and dry before covering it with masking tape. Any remains as dirt, plaster, or paint can increase the chance of the surface getting extra adhesion and make you fail in applying the masking tape.    
  • You should replace the old tape and get a new one for your surface. Doing this can reduce the accumulation of adhesion. 
  • Consider the tape’s quality when applying it to different surfaces. If you use tape on more on-site work, it would be best to go for more expensive tape, which completes your tasks properly for the first time. Doing this will help you reduce the cost and effort for repairing.
  • Read the usage instruction carefully to apply the suitable tape for your intended jobs.
  • You can try tapes that are specifically designed for leaving no residue like stucco tape.
  • Consider removing masking tape after each painted project, ideally when the paint is dry to the touch after a minimum of an hour.
  • Remove the tape as frankly as possible, pulling it quickly. Removing the tape slowly only left more residue sticking on your surfaces.


Masking tape is a powerful item for adhesion, but its residue is not easy to remove. When you see these messes on things in your house, you only need to follow our guidelines step by step properly and inspect the surfaces to avoid using the wrong chemical that can ruin your items.

We hope today’s tips on how to remove masking tape residue is helpful for you. Stay fresh, and see you in Clairoliviawayman‘s next article!

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