Remove Sellotape Residue from Glass and Wood Surfaces

Sellotape is really handy, regardless of what it is used for. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to remove. If you have to remove sellotape residue from glass and/or wood surfaces, you might have to deal with some sticky residue; simply pulling the tape off of the surface isn’t always enough.  

remove sellotape residue

What is Sellotape

The bottom layer of sellotape is pressure-sensitive. Traditionally, the adhesive is rubber-based, and is made to bond with whatever surface it is placed upon with applied pressure. When the tape strip is removed, the sticky adhesive might not come off with it, depending on how long it has been on the surface. Due to a cross-linking process, there are changes to the chemical structure of the adhesive and the surface it is applied to that causes this kind of tape to become insoluable. The longer this process continues, the more difficult the adhesive is to remove. 

How to Remove Sellotape Residue from Glass

Be patient when removing tape from glass or wood; never try to forcefully remove it.   

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that the glass is clean. It’ll be easier to remove the tape when there is no dirt or other type of debris surrounding it.
  2. The sellotape should be saturated before you try to remove it. You will need either WD-40 or vegetable oil; use a sponge or paper towel to apply a thin layer over the glass.
  3. Let the substance set on the tape or sticky residue for a few minutes. Gently rub the oil in circular motions over the problem area with a nonabrasive scouring pad. DON’T use vinegar, as it could harm the glass surface.
  4. Then, use either your fingers or a dull butter knife to bring the edges up. Try to remove as much of the tape from the glass as possible. Be gentle with this process – you obviously don’t want to risk scratching the surface. Scrape over the area until the sticky goo begins to come up in the form of little clumps.
  5. Go over the entire glass surface with a quality window cleaner. Spray a liberal amount of the cleaner allow it to penetrate any stubborn sticky residue. Wipe it all off with a dry paper towel. After you get all of the tape residue off of the glass, wipe off the grease or oil.

Fingernail Polish Remover

 If the sellotape residue doesn’t want to come off with vegetable oil, fingernail polish remover might be something to consider. Pour a bit over a small sponge and hold it over the troublesome spot for several minutes. Only use this method as a last resort.

Removing Sellotape Residue from Wood Surfaces

Remember: the longer the tape has been on the wood, the more difficult it’s going to be to pull off. It’s not impossible, however – you just need to be more patient.

  1. First, you will need to warm the sellotape with a heat gun or blow dryer. Keep the setting on low or medium. Do not exceed 120 degrees F, or place the blow dryer directly onto the tape – keep it a few inches away.
  2. Keep aiming toward the sellotape strip for approximately 45 seconds. At this point, the tape should begin to peel away from the wood. If it does not, point the heating tool over it for another 45 seconds.
  3. When the tape begins to pull away, aim the hair dryer over one of the corners. This will make the strip or sticker easier to pull off.  Use a thin object with a flat surface, such as a credit card or knife blade to gently peel the sellotape off. Hold the object at a shallow angle to the wood; the idea is to work with the grain, not across.
  4. Go very slowly. If you are using a blade, try to keep it at a 4 degree angle to the wood so that it doesn’t begin to carve into the wood. Don’t focus all on one side; stop and begin working from the other direction. Remember to always keep with the grain of the wood.
  5. For any sticky residue that may still be on the wood, use a bit of WD-40, soap, or Goo-Gone to moisten it. Spray or dab the liquid onto the residue and let it set for about ten minutes. When the residue dissolves, wipe it off with a terry cloth towel. Sometimes it will take a few applications of the lubricant to get the residue soft enough that it can be wiped off. Even if you don’t see any more residue, the surface might still be a bit sticky. Keep cleaning until the stickiness is completely gone.

Warning: do NOT apply WD-40 to an unfinished wood surface; the oil will seep into the pores and cause staining.

Before applying any residue remover onto a surface, test a small amount of it on an unnoticeable area first to ensure that there is no damage.