Although duct tape may seem like a quick, convenient solution to any number of problems around the house, it can leave behind some sticky residue that is difficult to remove.
If you’ve ever pulled up your laminate flooring after using duct tape to fix it in place or to cover up a squeaky spot, you know how hard the adhesive can be to remove from the laminate surface. These 10 steps will help you get rid of the mess and get your floor looking as good as new again.
Step 1: Identity which type of adhesive caused the damage
Type 1 duct tape will leave behind a residue that can be removed with water and mild detergent, but Type 2 will require either acetone or commercial removers. (Note: The same is true for masking tape, which is simply a type of tape intended for painting.)
If you’re unsure what type caused your floor’s damage, try removing one small piece with water and detergent first to see if it works. If not, you’ll need a different solvent. Once you’ve identified which type was used on your floor, collect all of your supplies for Step 2 so that everything’s ready when you need it.
Step 2: Set Up for Success
Before you start cleaning, first gather your tools and arrange them in a logical manner. You’ll need: a bath towel, clean sponge or cloth, warm water (only if you don’t plan on using degreaser), duct tape scraper or some sort of flat screwdriver with a wide edge (only if you do plan on using degreaser), an old rag for light scrubbing and lastly, fresh air.
Position yourself next to an open window or outside in case anything goes wrong. And please remember: Do not use anything but water on unfinished wood floors unless you want that wood floor to look like it belongs in one of those restaurants where they put wax on top of scratched up wooden tables.
Step 3: Prep the Area
To ensure no new residue is added, you’ll want to thoroughly remove any remaining duct tape pieces that aren’t loose. (We recommend a putty knife for scraping.) For best results, use a nonabrasive cleaner or degreaser on your rag, as it will provide greater removal power than water alone.
If you don’t have any degreaser on hand and there are still dried bits of tape, use a toothbrush dipped in soapy water to gently lift out pieces. After you’ve scrubbed up what you can see, go over things with a vacuum. The last thing you want are particles getting stuck back down in your floor!
Step 4: Remove the Duct Tape
Now that you’ve worked your way into a smooth surface, it’s time to get rid of that duct tape residue. First, pull off any remaining laminate wood pieces stuck under your duct tape glue. Next, use a knife or razor blade to scrape away as much of that residue as possible (being careful not to cut yourself).
Work slowly and gently so you don’t damage your laminate flooring any further. It should come up fairly easily! If there are still stubborn areas left after scraping, try moistening them with warm water and scrubbing with a brush or a toothbrush.
You can also add some dish soap or detergent if needed—just be sure not to leave it on for too long before rinsing it off with water again.
Step 5: Scrape off Excess Adhesive
Once you’ve cut out all of your duct tape residue, it’s time to scrape off any excess adhesive. You can use a butter knife or plastic scraper for that step. The goal is remove as much of that residue as possible so you don’t end up grinding it back into your floor when you sweep.
A common mistake here is using too much pressure and ending up with little gouges in your floor. That just creates more work for yourself when you get to step 7, below! Use just enough force so that most of the glue comes off easily with gentle scraping.
If some bits refuse to budge, just leave them alone; they’ll be sanded away during Step 6 (see below). Remove as much residue as possible now—don’t leave it on until later!
Step 6: Vacuum the Area to Collect any Leftover Adhesive
This step is very important. You can’t scrub away all of that old adhesive, so you’re going to want to vacuum it up instead. Don’t forget about under appliances like cabinets and stoves as well as along walls and trim.
Once you’ve picked up all of the residual adhesive, it’s time for some more heavy duty scraping with a razor blade scraper or putty knife. A heat gun will also come in handy during Step 6 since excess residue tends to become more pliable once warmed up with a heat gun or hair dryer.
Step 7: Clean up with soapy water
Even after removing as much tape residue as possible with a clean rag, you might still have some sticky residue that needs to be washed away. Use warm water and dish soap or glass cleaner—the same way you’d go about cleaning up if you spilled soda or other sticky liquids on your floor.
Wring out a cloth or sponge and rub it over affected areas until all of the residue is gone. You can also use a spray bottle filled with warm water and add a little bit of dish soap or glass cleaner for added effect. Simply spray your floors, allow it to sit for five minutes, then wipe away with a wet cloth/sponge until no more residue remains.
Step 8: Neutralize any leftover adhesive
Once all of your tape residue has been removed, you’ll want to neutralize any leftover adhesive that may have remained on your floor.
Do so by using soap and water, dish detergent or a paste made out of baking soda. This will ensure that no extra residue remains once you start mopping. Use an old toothbrush for particularly stubborn stains. After cleaning, mop up excess water with a towel and let it air dry.
Step 9) Wait 24 hours before walking on it again.
When you’re attempting to remove duct tape residue, do not try to remove it before at least 24 hours have passed. That’s because when you tear off duct tape, it rips out a small layer of floor with it.
Unfortunately, if you walk on that area right away, you can permanently stick part of your foot onto your floor! Instead, wait until at least 24 hours have passed and then gently scrape off as much of your tape as possible with a putty knife.
Then use rubbing alcohol or WD-40 to scrub off what remains. The sticky stuff will lift up much more easily than if there were no waiting period.
Step 10) Refinish area if necessary
Before attempting to remove duct tape residue, you’ll want to make sure your laminate floor is in good condition. First, look for signs of damage and wear. If any are present, it may be time for a new coat of laminate or refinishing of your existing one.
Then, if your floor is still in good shape but you simply want a new look, paint over it or apply a stain or polish that better matches your style and décor.
You can purchase these products at most home improvement stores and they’re usually quite inexpensive. But if you have water damage or other issues under your floor, skip ahead to Step 4; no amount of paint will fix those problems!
For instance, did you know that when you pull duct tape off of a surface, it’s going to leave a mess behind? If you’re working with laminate flooring, your going to have a real problem.
Not only will cleaning up after duct tape removal be an extremely tedious and challenging process (heck, some people might even say it’s impossible), but it could also damage your flooring.
You see, duct tape sticks extremely well and requires strong solvents in order to get it off without damaging anything.