The Simple WD-40 Hack That Eliminates Pesky Duct Tape Residue

So the duct tape you used as a temporary fix has turned into what seems like a permanent issue thanks to the sticky residue it's left behind. Whether you just needed a quick seal on a pipe or maybe couldn't find a magnet to put the chore list on the fridge, duct tape has a way of leaving its super strong adhesive on everything it touches. Getting it off can seem near-impossible, but an unlikely household staple can be just the thing.

You might only think of using WD-40 for the creakiest of door hinges, but it's also an amazing goo-remover. WD-40 is so effective at eliminating stickiness that the manufacturer even recommends using it against cured superglue. To use WD-40 for duct tape residue, spray a bit of the product on a rag and then gently scrub away, as recommended by the TikTok channel @problemsolved. If it's especially sticky or hard, spray the WD-40 directly onto the residue and let it soak in for a few minutes before scrubbing. Remove any excess WD-40 with your rag. 

Why WD-40 works

WD-40 is actually a water displacer (hence the name), which was originally used to prevent corrosion on mechanical parts. But along with its antirust properties, it also comes with a bundle of lubricants in it that the brand describes as a "unique, special blend," though they are vague on the exact ingredients. Lubricants, which are usually made up of oils, work against the stickiness left behind by tape. Just like you want to use soap (which has lubricants as well) and water if you get pine sap or super glue stuck to your hands, WD-40 works in the same way. 

It should be noted that if you are removing duct tape adhesive from a food surface, do not use WD-40, as it is not safe for human consumption. The same is true for any porous surfaces like wood or stone because it can soak in. Stick to the WD-40 hack for non-porous surfaces like glass, plastic, and metal. 

What if I can't use WD-40?

Whether you don't have any WD-40 on hand or prefer a product with fewer chemicals, you can still get rid of duct tape residue. One of the best solutions is probably already in your cupboards — good old-fashioned vegetable or canola oil. These are great for getting rid of stickiness the same way that WD-40 is; they add fat to the equation, which gently buffs away the adhesive. And they are also food-safe because, well, they are food items. If you need a little more grit for a particularly stubborn sticky spot, mix in a bit of baking soda, a food-safe abrasive. Just apply some to a rag and softly scrub. 

Another household favorite cleaning product that effectively gets rid of duct tape residue is a magic eraser — the white, memory foam-like sponge uses melamine and formaldehyde that can cut through adhesive with ease. But just like WD-40, do not use a cleaning eraser on any food-grade or porous surfaces.