How to Remove Tape Residue from Cloth


Beverley asked: “How can I remove a yellow sticky tape mark from a cotton pillow slip? The pillow slips are in very good condition but are about 40 years old. I recently took them out of the box I received them in and found yellow marks where sticky tape was used to package them. As they were given to me by my grandmother I am keen to remove the marks and use them. They have a small amount of embroidery on them in yellow cotton.

Hi Beverley, considering the age of the pillow slips we would recommend hand washing in Woolite, in cold water before attempting any other spot removing tips. Always test cleaning tips in an inconspicuous spot as many factors play into whether a particular solution will work for your unique situation – especially with irreplaceable items like you have.

  1. Fill an appropriately sized container or sink with enough cold water to cover the soiled articles and still allow them to move around.
  2. Add the Woolite – Reference the label to determine how much to add to your container by volume.
  3. Add your items and allow them to soak for at least a half-hour. Gentle kneading may also help get them clean.
  4. Gently rub the areas with the tape residue on them between your fingers to release the adhesive.
  5. Rinse with cold water and lay flat to dry.

Spot Cleaning the Area


There are several methods for removing the tape residue. Again, we would recommend that you try these tips out in a small inconspicuous spot first, just in case.

    • For a gentle solution, ‘Un-Du’ is an adhesive remover available in the scrapbooking section of most craft stores.

Simply soak the tape residue with Un-Du, gently scrape it off, allow the pillow slips to dry and the residue should be gone. *Note: Un-Du is not sold in California.

  • As your pillow slips are cotton, you can also try Goo Gone, which is available at most supermarkets and department stores. Wet a cloth with Goo Gone and gently rub to remove the residue. Rewash the pillow slips normally to remove remaining Goo Gone and allow them to air dry. *Note: Do not use Goo Gone on fine materials like leather, silk or suede.
  • Spot treat the area with rubbing alcohol. Then rub the area with a dry finger to remove the residue.


Seeking Trained Help

If worse comes to worse you can also look around in your area for a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning and restoring vintage or antique clothing. You want to look for someone who has experience with antique quality material. A lot of times you can find a cleaner who will clean and preserve wedding dresses, and if they can’t do it they could probably tell you who can.

What Not To Do

  • Do not scrub the area with a bristled brush, it will damage the material.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals as they may destroy the fabric



  1. Angela says:

    My son runs track and they have to stick numbers to the side of their shorts. When he peeled the number off, the sticky residue remained on the shorts. I have washed them and it is still there. Please advise. Thank you so much in advance.

  2. Florence says:

    Removing double sticky tape from material, I tried everything suggested online, heating with an iron, ice cubes, etc. I decided to use my bottle of Goo Gone; dabbed it on with paper towel, and it peeled right off! :)

  3. Connie says:

    Thanks Florence!!! I had a tablecloth that had been used for a holiday with ribbons attached with double-sided fabric tape. After the ribbon was removed, the sticky tape was still on the tablecloth. I tried rubbing alcohol, but it didn’t do much to remove the tape and had to be rubbed repeatedly. Once I saw your comment, I sprayed the Goo Gone on all the tape, left it on a few minutes and then lightly rubbed with a paper towel. The tape and sticky residue rubbed right off with very little effort! Goo Gone ROCKS! Thanks again!

  4. Mavis says:

    My experience with tape and sticky glue residues is to apply a film of Goo-gone (that orange-smelling oily stuff) and let it sit for a few seconds. Then sponge, rub, scrape off the goop depending upon the surface you are removing stains from, then wash off the goo-gone with soap and water (dish soap or detergent). Rinse well, dry, and if surface requires, apply a polish or wax, and buff dry. Test in an inconspicuous spot for how the oil affects the surface if you are not sure of the results.

  5. Gail says:

    I would love to hear from Beverly if she was able to get the tape residue off. I just bought two Dan River vintage white muslin pillow cases and have the same thing: dark tape residue marks where they were taped. Thanks!

  6. Renee says:

    None of these comments were helpful. In my situation, there was no adhesive to scrape; just the dark stain that Scotch tape leaves behind. I have tried all of the above and nothing helps.

  7. Nikki says:

    I have the same situation as Renee! =( I had purchased some fabric from a fabric warehouse called SR Harris in Brooklyn Park. It was a remnant so it was discounted. It’s a white thick swimsuit or leotard material. I knew the mark was there when I bought it; I assumed it was the tape that held the fabric to the bolt to get it started. So it’s not sticky anymore (very old I think); it just has the dark invisible tape mark left behind. =(

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