How to Remove Tape Residue from Carpet


Jackie asked: How do I remove sticky tape residue from carpet? Workmen taped plastic over the carpet so it wouldn’t get dirty and now they have removed the plastic, but left sticky residue from the tape.

Removing adhesives from carpeting can be a time consuming job as it must be worked out of the carpet fibers. There are plenty of products available to aid in the process, but the larger the area that’s affected, the longer it’s going to take. There are no shortcuts with this clean-up job, but the results will be well worth the effort.

You Will Need:

  • Cleaning Product (choose one)
    • Goo Gone (available at Walmart or other department and home improvement stores)
    • Lighter fluid
    • De-Solv-It (available at Walmart with the furniture polishes)
    • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft cloths
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Vacuum

Steps to Remove the Residue:


  1. Begin by choosing the desired cleaning product. If the first one doesn’t work, feel free to try a second. You may find that one works better for the particular type of tape residue found on your particular type of carpet, so feel free to experiment.
  2. It is best to work in small lengths along the strip of residue.
  3. Apply a small amount of cleaner to a section of the residue. Try to keep your section less than 12 inches.
  4. Wearing rubber gloves, gently rub the fibers of the carpet to work in the cleaner and loosen the residue.
  5. Gently rub the fibers with the soft cloth to remove the residue. Continue working with clean areas of the cloth until all of the residue is gone.
  6. Move onto the next section and repeat the process above.
  7. When the entire area of residue is removed, the next step is to remove the cleaning product.
  8. Wash the area with a mild soap and water mixture. Moisten a soft cloth and gently wipe the area until all of the cleaner is gone.
  9. Allow the area to dry completely.
  10. When the entire area is dry, vacuum to restore the fibers to their normal texture.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • When using products designed to break down adhesives, ensure that you only moisten the tops of the fibers. If the product soaks into the carpet backing, it will dissolve the glue that holds the carpet together and cause a much bigger problem.



  1. I used the rubbing alcohol method and it worked amazingly. Just use a circular, forceful motion… you will have to throw away your rag, but it really works, and it didn’t turn my tan carpet green. THANKS.

  2. I would never have tried the rubbing alcohol, but the comment made earlier convinced me to try. GooGone also works, but takes much longer and is so much more expensive.

  3. Lizbette says:

    There are two different types of rubbing alcohol and the isopropyl type comes in varying degrees of isopropyl content… 70% 90%, etc. What did you use?

  4. The alcohol worked great. And EASY! FYI, I used 70%.

  5. I am completely amazed! I had this unknown sticky mark on my carpet. After reading the comments, I tried rubbing alcohol (70%) that I had on hand. About three minutes of elbow grease later, it was completely gone! I am telling everyone I know about this trick! I am sad to admit that I searched all over the house for more spots to remove. Give it a try; you will not regret it.

  6. Carol says says:

    Thanks, I will try rubbing alcohol. I have just taken plastic up off my carpets and have lines with sticky stuff all over.

  7. Thanks for all the comments. I haven’t started yet, but will be using alcohol as suggested, and I have high hopes. Thanks again.

  8. I had a six inch piece of double-sided tape stuck to my carpet. I used the rubbing alcohol as recommended, by pouring a small amount on the first inch. Just after a few seconds, I pulled up the edge of the tape, and miraculously, I could remove the entire six inches in one piece. Thank you.

  9. Lacquer thinner worked fast and did the job the best for me. I duct taped tarps down in a customers hallway and bedroom (new carpet) and six weeks later, I tore it up. After a week, dust and dirt adhered to the residual adhesive left from the tape and we received a call back from the customer. I tried 90% alcohol and it made no difference whatsoever. I then tried lacquer thinner in an inconspicuous area and found it left no stain and did not discolor the carpet. So, I gave it a shot and applied a good amount to a clean rag and started rubbing. In less than a minute it came out and transferred to the rag. I used a powerful shop vac to be sure that I sucked up anything left and it looked good as new. Try it; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  10. Rubbing alcohol worked great on the adhesive stain!

  11. I had two way tape going around the edges of a small area rug to hold it “in place” on the wall-to-wall carpet. The tape had stuck to the carpet, collected dog hair and looked nasty. After reading the comments, I tried the rubbing alcohol (70% ) trick. Poured it on an old rag and then rubbed it in a circular motion. It removed all the sticky residue and the dog hair attached to it… In short; It works!!!!

  12. I tried the alcohol to remove tape adhesive off carpet and it did nothing, and I worked hard on it. I will try the another method? Any ideas?

  13. We didn’t have alcohol so we used vodka and to our surprise, it worked great, and the carpet was really matted with glue from tape we used to keep a rug in place to cut down on dirt from outside… Who knew.

  14. Michelle says:

    I made the mistake of using double-sided fabric tape to keep the edges of a decorative area rug snug against my light beige (sand) colored Berber carpet in my living room. When I tried lifting the area rug to vacuum the Berber underneath, the double-sided tape was stuck to it. I had to slowly peel the foamy tape up off the carpet, but a thin layer of the sticky tape remained. I used clear vodka (ice cold from my freezer), moistened sections of the remaining glue/tape, and then used a microfiber cloth, rubbing side to side and in circular motions. The glue stiffened and lifted right up off the carpet, leaving no stain or residue. It was amazing!!

  15. Did anybody try this with duct tape on a rug? Either alcohol or Goo Gone, etc.?

  16. Used alcohol and it worked beautifully. Also scrubbed with an old nail brush in a circular motion, then dried with clean towels…Amazing results!!! Thanks

  17. Colleen says:

    Ten minutes ago, I asked how to remove sticky tape; saw about the rubbing alcohol. Tried it, and five minutes later, two pretty big and very sticky spots were gone!! Rubbing alcohol really works! Now I just have to get tape off my rubber gloves…

  18. OMG! Thank you; it actually works.
    I thought I had ruined my carpet, and was cutting the fibers off (no-no), when I finally decide to “google it”.

  19. I used Lava soap and warm water, and it worked great. The carpet looked better afterwards than it did before.

  20. OMG, I can’t believe my eyes; it’s a miracle. My hands and fingers hurt so bad from pulling the tape residue, and one minute down with the alcohol and one minute up and off with a microfiber cloth. Thank you everyone who told me about this. I am so happy and these jerks can’t charge me for the rugs. I am forever grateful.

  21. Can’t believe how easy that was! I had a chair protector stuck to my carpet – thought I would never get if off without using scissors! The isopropyl alcohol worked perfectly. I used a Q-tip to apply the alcohol and gently worked it free. Perfect result! Thanks so much for the advice.

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