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How do I remove stubborn packing tape?
April 17, 2008 2:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I get brown packing tape off a refrigerator?

We have a black late-model refrigerator. The whole thing is glossy black, and I think the surfaces are enameled aluminum, but I'm just guessing.

Awhile back we moved, and I secured the refrigerator doors using brown packing tape (the stuff that's glossy and brown colored, and is used for sealing moving boxes). Eventually we peeled the tape off, and a lot of the brown sticky stuff got left on the fridge doors. I haven't had much luck getting it off.

I tried soapy water, but it doesn't work well... it's like the tape fragments are saying "thanks for the bath!" I tried scraping with both my fingernail and the edge of a credit card, but there's still a gunky, thick film that's left, almost like dirty silicone adhesive. I am wary of using abrasives or sharp instruments that will scratch the fridge surface.

Any ideas how to get this stuff off? Is there a chemical that will lift this stuff off with minimal damage to the fridge?
posted by tinkertown to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Goo Gone?
posted by 23skidoo at 2:19 PM on April 17, 2008


Goo Gone.
posted by The World Famous at 2:20 PM on April 17, 2008


WD-40.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:22 PM on April 17, 2008


oil. You can buy goof off, or lighter fluid, or you can smear on some cooking oil or butter and leave it for at least an hour. Then wipe assertively with a paper towel. Repeat as needed until it's gone.
posted by theora55 at 2:23 PM on April 17, 2008


Nail polish remover or Goo Gone. Depending upon your state's environment laws you might find even stronger adhesive removers at Home Depot, but test an inconspicuous spot and wear heavy solvent resistant rubber gloves.
posted by caddis at 2:29 PM on April 17, 2008


Try smearing butter on it overnight and wiping the next morning with dry paper towels or dry cotton cloth.
posted by jamjam at 2:35 PM on April 17, 2008


I've had positive experiences using acetone to remove sticky stuff from non-plastic surfaces.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:41 PM on April 17, 2008


A pink pencil eraser, the kind on the end of cheap pencils.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:43 PM on April 17, 2008


I generally use methylated spirits - try and soak it right into the sticky stuff and gently rub off. This suggests warm vinegar for a few different surfaces.
posted by miss cee at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2008


Xylene is the active ingredient in a lot of solvents (I'm pretty sure in Goo-gone...) You can buy gallons of it at paint stores, Home Depot, etc... It's incredibly strong stuff..

I wouldn't buy Goo-gone, it's a waste of money when you can just get a gallon of Xylene and thin it out. Just be careful not to touch it with your bare hands.
posted by Glendale at 3:01 PM on April 17, 2008


All of the above sound valid to me, but lighter fluid is cheap and easy.
posted by rokusan at 3:03 PM on April 17, 2008


I wouldn't buy Goo-gone, it's a waste of money when you can just get a gallon of Xylene and thin it out. Just be careful not to touch it with your bare hands.

I think THAT is the best selling point for just buying a little bottle of Goo Gone for a couple of bucks.

Just go out and get a little bottle of Goo Gone. You'll use it more than you think and it will definitely work here. If you have some Scrubbing Bubbles handy, though, you might want to give that a spritz first.
posted by sageleaf at 3:28 PM on April 17, 2008


I've gotten stickers off the fridge with Goo-Gone, and it will work on your tape too. But be warned - if you get any Goo Gone on the matte plastic that forms the interior surfaces of the fridge walls, it will etch or eat strange markings into it.

A little goes a long way.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:32 PM on April 17, 2008


Mineral oil will do the trick.
posted by trinity8-director at 4:41 PM on April 17, 2008


Did somebody say goo gone?
posted by yath at 5:04 PM on April 17, 2008


Suggest testing anything you use that's stronger than cooking oil on an inconspicuous bit first. You really don't want to take the finish off.
posted by kjs4 at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2008


Try taking another piece of tape and applying to the sticky stuff. Then quick remove the tape. I do this often and it works. Once the tape picks up some of the goo it will no longer be effective, so get a new piece.
posted by tman99 at 7:16 PM on April 17, 2008


2nd WD-40. I used to work for a used appliance company, where my job was to hang out in the back alley in the rain with a hose and clean up all the filthy, moldy fridges that we were going to repair and resell. Lots of fridges had old tape and stickers and whatever else stuck to them, and WD-40 removed them like a champ.
posted by Dr. Send at 8:55 PM on April 17, 2008


Methylated spirits or any kind of oil (vegetable oil, butter, WD-40, machine oil...) or other petroleum fraction (lighter fluid, kerosene).
posted by flabdablet at 12:57 AM on April 18, 2008


Dr. Send writes "2nd WD-40. I used to work for a used appliance company, where my job was to hang out in the back alley in the rain with a hose and clean up all the filthy, moldy fridges that we were going to repair and resell. Lots of fridges had old tape and stickers and whatever else stuck to them, and WD-40 removed them like a champ."

Yep, it's what we used too. WD-40 and a stiff piece of non abrasive plastic as a scraper. You can buy plastic razor blades for this purpose but we just used chunks of milk jug cut out with a snap blade knife (what is known as a box cutter now a days). It'll leave a nice sharp edge that won't harm the paint.

Use a strong solution of laundry soap and water to remove the WD-40 residue.
posted by Mitheral at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2008


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