How to Remove Duct Tape Residue From Car?

Duct tapes are strong adhesives, and if you ever used one on your vehicle, you’d see it leaves a sticky and ugly residue on the surface. This makes us wonder how to remove duct tape residue from a car while keeping the paint clean and undamaged.

If you use duct tape as part of a repair, or to hold something to your car, you wouldn’t want to see is some ugly and sticky residue on your vehicle. Right?

However, removing duct tape glue can be difficult, especially when you’re dealing with stubborn glue You don’t want to scrape it with some metal objects…. It could damage your car paint.

So, how do you remove duct tape glue from a vehicle without damaging the paint? Fortunately, there are 6 easy ways here on how to remove duct tape glue from a vehicle, while keeping the car paint clean as well. Enough talking, let’s get to it.

How to remove duct tape residue from car

how to remove duct tape residue

Soak the affected part with water

This is one of the easiest methods on how to remove duct tape residue from a car without damaging the paint.  First, you have to find a rag or some cloth and soak it in water – warm water preferably.

Then hold the washrag over the surface of the residue for about 15 minutes. This will help soften the residue, making it easy to clean off.  If the tape has been on your vehicle for too long you may want to hold the wet cloth to the surface a little longer.

Or add some soap to the water before soaking the rag in it. Then cover the surface with the piece of cloth leave it for a few minutes. After soaking the surface with water, get a soft cloth and gently wipe it off.

In case you want to remove duct tape residue from plastic as well, this method works fine.

Clean residue by using a solvent

An easy way to remove duct tape glue from a vehicle is by using solvents. Get a spot cleaning solvent. You can get them from an automobile store, auto department, and gas station.

To clean off the duct tape glue, apply it to the surface using a soft piece of cloth. Auto-body spot-cleaning solvents will make the residue easier to clean by softening it.

Make sure you check that the solvent is for auto-body cleaning. Goo Gone is an excellent solvent to use.

Scrape the residue with a card

In case you can’t get a solvent, you can remove duct tape glue from your vehicle with a card. Get a card (an expired one preferably). Use the card to carefully scrape off the residue on your vehicle.

Cards are much safer, as they are most likely to remove the stain without leaving a dent on your vehicle. Don’t use metal or some piece of iron to scrape off the residue. Cards are also smoother, unlike plastic or metal scrapers, and blades with sharp and rough edges.

You can also apply some degreaser when dealing with stubborn residue. With this, there will be no trace of duct tape glue when next you wash your car.

Remove residue with alcoholic liquid

Another way you can remove duct tape glue from your vehicle is by using alcohol – an easy-to-get household item. Aside from cleaning off stains, you can also use alcohol to remove hairspray from tiles and mirrors.

To do this, you will need a soft piece of cloth – make sure it’s clean, with isopropyl alcohol – you can get it from a drug store selling drugs or the medical section of a general store. Then, gently clean the surface with it. Rub it on the affected surface.

Don’t rush. Carefully do this to avoid damaging your car paint. The alcohol will remove the residue.

Remove residue with heat

Instead of using normal water to soak the affected surface, an excellent way to remove residue from any vehicle is to use warm water or a heating machine. Hot hair will weaken the glue and soften the residue. This way, it will be easier to clean it off from your vehicle.

A heating device is an excellent alternative in case you don’t want to use warm water or alcohol. You may have to take some time and be patient when using this method. It takes more effort than the other previous methods I mentioned.

Still, it’s one of the best ways to get rid of the duct tape glue from your vehicle without damaging the paint. This is because you won’t be using any liquid or oil that could affect the paint color or damage it.

To do this, turn on the hair dryer or any other heating device. Then you’ll have to hold it on the affected part for some time – usually 50 to 60 seconds. The residue won’t stick any longer and will be easy to remove. Then, gently scrape the affected part with a card.

In cases of stubborn glue, when the residue does clean off quickly, you can repeat this process. Hold the heating device over the duct tape glue for another 50 to 60 seconds before wiping it with a piece of rag. Rub gently and be patient till no residue is left.

Use a polish remover for nails

Polish remover for nails is an item you can find easily. So, in case you can’t find anything else to use then you can opt for this method. However, this method is for removing duct tape residue from glass.

So, don’t try to remove the stain on the body with this method. You may damage your car paint if you do. The steps here start by applying the polish remover on the surface of the affected part, then leaving it for some minutes.

After about 15 minutes, the duct tape glue should now be easier to remove. Gently clean it with a soft and clean towel or rag. Rub it continuously till all the residue comes off.

You can also use the edge of a card (maybe an expired one) to scrape it off. Still, do it gently so you won’t damage your car paint.

remove duct tape residue from plastic


Q: Will Goo Gone remove tape residue?

Yes, Goo Gone will remove tape residue easily. You can make the process safer by applying gently over the surface and carefully rubbing it off. This way, you will clean off the duct tape glue without damaging your car paint.

You can do this by putting a few drops over the surface, then leaving it for some minutes before wiping it with a soft cloth – a washrag maybe. Gently rub it back continuously till no trace of the residue or the Goo Gone is left.

Q: Does WD-40 remove adhesive?

Yes, WD-40 removes adhesive. Simply apply it over residue, then use a clean soft cloth to rub it off. Use a soft piece of cloth to further clean up the surface. This way, you’d be removing any sticky remain as well as the WD-40.

Q: What solvent will dissolve adhesive?

Pure acetone is a solvent that can dissolve adhesive. Soak a clean rag or cotton ball on acetone, then apply it to the surface of the glue.

You may want to press the tag or cotton ball against to surface to speed up the process. This will dissolve the adhesive faster. Then, use a soft piece of rag to wipe it off.

Q: Do mineral spirits remove adhesive?

Mineral spirits can remove adhesive, although they are best used for removing floor adhesive. Aside from cleaning residue off a car, you can also use them to clean tools or remove sticky residue from wooden furniture.

Q: Does vinegar harm car paint?

Yes, vinegar can harm your car paint. Car paint is a sensitive part of a vehicle. Therefore, you shouldn’t use vinegar to remove residue from your vehicle.

Most often than not, it will make the surface rough, and damage your car paint after use. If you want to remove residue from your vehicle, or you have been looking for a guide on how to remove duct tape residue from a car dashboard without damaging the surface, then you should follow the methods I mentioned in this guide.

Final Words

If you’ve been wondering how to remove duct tape residue from a car without damaging your car paint. This is a comprehensive guide for you.

Removing duct tape glue from a vehicle can be tricky and challenging sometimes. Especially, when you have to deal with stubborn residues that won’t come off easily.

However, this guide has outlined step-by-step how to do it easily. Sometimes it also takes patience to remove stick tape remain.

So, you may have to keep scrubbing (gently) for more than the expected time, till all the residue or most of it finally comes off. You should also try to avoid harmful chemicals that can damage your car paint. Don’t use a product without checking with the store you got it from.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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