Cleaning Guides

How to Remove Adhesive Sellotape Residue from Glass

Ok, so you taped a few pictures of your children or some souvenir postcards from your last vacation on your kitchen window and now you have to take them down. You managed to remove the memories without tearing them, but what about that sticky and ugly sellotape residue on the glass?

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So, if you:

  • Had something taped to your windows;
  • Are struggling to remove the sticky residue;
  • Want to prevent it from happening again,

Then read on! This article is for you.

You see, the longer you leave a piece of tape on a glass window, the harder it’s going to be for you to remove it afterwards. You can stop trying to pick off the glue with your finger – it’s no use and you’re are going to stir up a bigger mess.

In this article, you’ll learn how to remove sellotape marks from glass the right and mess-free way.

Tools You Need to Remove Sellotape Marks from Glass

  • scraper;
  • tissues;
  • bucket;
  • window cleaning solution;
  • squeegee;
  • microfibre cloth.

You see, a piece of cloth and some ordinary window cleaning solution won’t be of much help when it comes to sellotape residue. If you really want to get rid of the sticky marks, you have to use a scraper. There are many types of scrapers on the market and it’s a good idea to pick up one that is specially designed for windows. Otherwise, you may damage the glass surface and once it’s scratched there is no way of fixing it.

The other tools we have listed above are meant for cleaning the windows as a whole. After you’ve completed the task of removing the sellotape marks from the glass, you may want to give your windows an overall thorough clean. Removing only the old masking tape isn’t enough, because some glue may be left on the window, which may attract new dirt. Thoroughly wash the window, so it stays clean for longer.

How to Remove Sellotape Marks From Windows with a Chemical Solvent

There are many DIY window cleaning solutions out there, so let’s see what they are. However, keep in mind that if you want to get your glass squeaky clean, you have to invest in some chemical solvents. Also, professional window cleaning solutions and purified water are definitely something to look into.

The types of products that you can try:

  • Products that contain petroleum – mineral spirits, liquid naphtha, and paint thinning agents;
  • Isopropyl or a shot of strong alcohol;
  • Acetone or just plain nail polish remover;
  • Degreasing products with d-Limonene;
  • Penetrating oils such as WD-40;
  • Store bought furniture polish – the aerosol type.

Here is how to properly use chemical solvents to get rid of the sticky substances:

  1. Prepare a general cleaning solution, first. Fill the bucket with lukewarm water. Add some cleaning detergent for later use. Leave the bucket aside.
  2. Apply the chemical solvent of your choice. Spray it directly onto the residue or apply with a cloth, dipped into the product. It’s always a good idea to wear protective gloves when in contact with chemical solvents.
  3. Use the scraper. Gently scrape what is left from the sellotape. Do this very carefully, otherwise, you may scratch the glass. Scrape the surface until there are no marks. If needed, apply a bit more of the solvent, you have just used.
  4. Wash the window. Dip a cloth into the bucket and wash the window thoroughly. Take your squeegee and gently swipe the soapy water away. Start from one side and bring the squeegee to the other. Repeat until the window is completely clean. For more information and a step-by-step process, read our blog post on how to clean your windows.
  5. Dry the window frames. Use the tissues if there is water dripping on the window frames. Leave the glass to dry on its own. Wiping it usually leaves smudges.

Use paint thinner to remove the residue

Paint thinner is an extremely strong chemical and if it can dissolve wall paint, plain sellotape doesn’t stand a chance. Apply the product directly on the sticky glue and wait. The loosening process will take just a couple of minutes. When you are done waiting, get a piece of cloth and wipe away the mushy residue. Bear in mind that this cleaning technique is, well… smelly.

Apply nail polish remover to erase the marks

Similar to the paint thinner, a nail polish remover has dissolving properties. Find yourself a clean cloth and pour some of the acetone solutions on it. Wipe the glue off and you are done! If the adhesive doesn’t want to go away, try using a razor blade, preferably an unused one. Again, like with the paint thinner case, nail polish remover stinks, literally.

See why our window cleaning service is eco-friendly, safe and convenient.

How to Remove Sellotape Using Household Items

If you don’t fancy the idea of using chemical solvents to clean the gooey gunk off your windows, there are numerous DIY solutions that you can try. Here are some of the most effective methods:

Melt the gummy stuff away with a hairdryer

It may sound a bit strange but using a hairdryer is a really effective way to remove basically any kind of tape. The secret behind this method is the heat. You see, blowing directly towards the sticky tape with a hairdryer will make it mushy and easy to just peel away. The only thing you need to do is heat the sticky area for about 45 seconds and the thing should come right off.

If you are dealing with a stronger glue that’s giving you a hard time, spend another minute melting it. The only downside to this sellotape removing technique is that it just takes time, especially if you are trying to clean a bigger area.

Soak the tape away with boiling water

Moisture and heat is the perfect combination when it comes to removing sticky stuff. Here is how it works: Fill up your kitchen sink with boiling hot water and dunk the dirty glass. Leave it to sit for about half an hour. You can try adding some dishwashing detergent or white vinegar in the water in order to soften the glue even more.

After the required time has passed, just wipe away the mushy glue with a clean cloth. If you are dealing with a bigger glass item that just doesn’t fit in the sink, don’t worry, you can always fill up your bathtub or pour the hot water in a plastic basin. This method works really well, even better than the hairdryer option, but it has a bit of a downside – basically, it works only for cups, bowls plates, vases and etc. You can’t put your whole window in the bathtub.

Get rid of tape with cooking oil

We are getting to the weird stuff. Using cooking oil to remove duct tape sounds downright bonkers, believe us, we know, but it just works. You see, petroleum-based products like olive oil, canola oil, even coconut oil do an amazing job in dissolving adhesives. If you are willing to get your hands greasy, soak a piece of paper in some oil and place it over the taped area.

Leave it there for a few minutes and use a razor blade to scrape off the piece of tape afterwards. When choosing the type of oil you are going to use, stick to the cheap stuff. It’s just not worth wasting good quality olive oil on some gooey gunk, stuck on your mirror. Plus, your room will smell like an Italian restaurant.

Smear some peanut butter on top of the sticky substance

If you thought that applying sunflower oil on your window was mad, keep on reading. Peanut butter can actually help you remove sticky goo from glass. You may be asking yourself how come jelly’s best friend has the ability to remove sellotape glue? One word – Oils. Peanut butter is high in oil content and can help you get rid of sticky stuff.

To use the delicious spread as an adhesive remover, spread it ever so thinly over the glue. Leave it to sit for about two and a half hours. After that, get a butter knife or just a knife with a blunt blade and scrape off the excess peanut butter. To complete the whole cleaning process, wipe down the window with water and vinegar. A big disadvantage of this method is that, well, who the hell uses peanut butter to clean stuff?

Dissolve the sellotape with plain vinegar

If you are a passionate DIY-er in terms of cleaning and just love to experiment with household items, you know what a miracle maker is plain old white vinegar. The acid can eat through any kind of dirt, grime or sticky mess out there. In order to remove the tape or its residue, just stir up equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a container. Get a clean dishrag and soak it in the mixture.

After that, place the moisten piece of cloth over the sticky area. If you are working on a window or hanging mirror, prepare yourself for some arm strain because the vinegar will need a few minutes to work its magic. Finally, clean the leftover residue with some dishwashing detergent and warm water.

Clean the sticky stuff with baking soda

Baking soda is another staple in DIY cleaning. To get rid of tape with the help of baking soda, you need to combine it with equal parts of vegetable oil (not the good stuff) and some kind of acid like lemon juice, for example. You should end up with a gritty paste that looks more like a salad dressing than anything else. Rub the mixture onto the goo and leave it there for 2 to 3 minutes.

Then, wipe away the remaining paste. If the tape or glue is on the tougher side, get a kitchen sponge and try to scrub it off. If you want faster results, soak the glass in hot water for half an hour before applying the mixture. When using this method, you need to be extra careful when rubbing on the paste. Baking soda is abrasive and can leave behind scratches on the glass surface.

Those other methods are much less effective than chemical solvents. We’ve included them for the DIY-er’s sake. Consider yourselves warned!

How To Prevent Tape Residue

Here is the secret of how to prevent tape residue: Don’t tape stuff to glass. Just kidding. Ok, in order to save yourself from the task of cleaning sticky glue, you need to invest in a quality tape. A good idea is to buy Gaffer’s Tape because it leaves less residue.

Another good way to eliminate the chances of icky gooey gunk is to clean the surface on which you are planning to stick stuff to. You see, dirt, dust particles, chipping plaster, grease, lint, you get the picture, make tape glue an extra pain to remove. Make sure to prepare the area by thoroughly cleaning it before taping anything. Replacing old masking tape from time to time also helps to prevent glue residue.

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  • The longer you leave sellotape, the harder time you’ll have with removing it
  • Be cautious not to scratch the surface of the glass when cleaning it
  • You need to be careful when using razors and knives to remove tape or glue residue
  • It’s far more convenient to use commercial adhesive removers
  • Make sure to wash your hands when you are done with handling chemical products like paint thinner


We hope you found our article on how to remove sellotape marks helpful and please share your thoughts and experiences about the matter in the comment section below!

Source: Shutterstock /pedphoto36pm

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