Remove Tape Residue from Carpet

While carpet is certainly nice to have in any home, it can also attract debris over time – especially stubborn sticky residue that just doesn’t want to come up. Knowing how to remove tape residue is very important, since adhesives can be problematic and unsightly. 

remove tape residue from carpet

Whether your kids get stickers all over the carpet or tape gets stuck somehow after remodeling, you need to get the stickiness up as soon as possible.

There are several methods you can try. The longer the tape residue has been on the floor, the more difficult it will be in removing it. It’s not impossible, however.

How to Remove Tape Residue from Carpet

  1. Use a towel to remove as much of the sticky tape as possible. It’s still possible to remove residual glue if it has already dried. If it’s still fresh, dab at the spot with a clean towel. Spend a minute trying to soak it up. If the spot has dried, use a warm, damp towel to soften the residue.
  2. Grab some distilled white vinegar and pour it onto a cloth with a bit of water. Blot the sticky area for two minutes. Make sure that the area is adequately wet.
  3. Leave the white vinegar on the spot for fifteen minutes.
  4. The adhesive should start peeling off more easily. Take a paint scraper or plastic knife and begin scraping the area. Tiny bits of tape should start coming up.
  5. Follow the instructions of your favorite carpet cleaning agent. If there is still any remaining residue, try the process again. 

Removing Tape Residue with Iron Method

Spray on solutions don’t always work. In some cases, the sticky stain requires a different approach. Instead of spending an entire day on your hands and knees trying to scrub out tape residue from carpet, you can use a hot iron.

  1. First, vacuum the carpet to remove all loose dirt.
  2. Plug the iron in the nearest outlet to the residue stain. Place it on the highest steam setting.
  3. You can still use white vinegar. In an empty spray bottle, mix ¼ of a cup of white vinegar and ¾ of a cup of water. You can adjust the amount depending on the amount of residue, just keep the ratio 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
  4. Immerse a white cotton towel or rag in warm water and wring it out. You want it to be mildy damp, not sopping wet. Spray the vinegar/water solution over the area of the tape residue. Place the damp towel over the solution.
  5. Iron carefully over the damp towel or rag for a minute or two until the stain has been completely removed. Do NOT press down too hard, or you could end up damaging the carpet. The sticky residue should absorb through the towel.
  6. If there is any greasy wax material left on the carpet, sprinkle baking soda over it and vacuum the area. 

Remove Tape Residue from Carpet: Acetone Method

Sometimes nail polish remover does the trick. Just follow these steps:

  1. After getting enough of the tape up as possible, apply acetone to a cotton ball or small cloth and dab it on the spot. Begin with a small area. If the acetone appears to be damaging the carpet, stop immediately.
  2. If it works fine, leave some nail polish remover directly on the problem area.
  3. Let it sit so that the dried residue softens over time.
  4. When the residue softens, it will become sticky again. With a paper towel or butter knife, remove the sticky pieces from the carpet. This might take a little while.
  5. After the tape residue has been removed, clean the acetone off the floor. Do this by washing the area with a water and mild soap mixture. Moisten a clean soft cloth and gently dab at the area until all of the acetone is gone. 

Additional Tips to Clean Tape Residue from Carpet

Be careful when scraping the adhesive tape with a paint scraper or knife. Be gentle, yet firm so that you don’t accidentally damage the carpet fibers.

There are alternative cleaners you can use if neither white vinegar nor acetone works: Goo Gone, WD-40, etc. Don’t spend too much time with one cleaning solution. If it doesn’t work after one or two tries, move onto something else.

When cleaning a residue spot, never rub, as rubbing carpet may distort the fibers or spread the stain.

If you have a wool carpet, the iron method might not be the best idea, as excessive heat should be avoided on wool fibers. It’s also easily damaged by alkalies and bleaches. Only use neutral detergents with a pH of 5.0 to 8.0 on wool carpet stains.

Always follow the label directions when using a commercial carpet cleaning solution.

Take care never to overwet the carpet when cleaning the residue, as too much moisture may lead to discoloration, odor, shrinkage, etc. After you remove tape residue from carpet and clean it, take the necessary steps to dry it as quickly as possible. Use fans to accelerate the drying process if you must.