How to Remove Tape Stains from Cardboard


L.G. asked: How do I remove yellowed tape stain from a box? The scotch tape has yellowed on a box. How do I remove the tape and stain from the gift box?

Antique gift boxes often have brown tape marks that remain where the tape has since dried and fallen off. While it is desireable to remove this stain, it is nearly impossible to do without damaging the cardboard surface. If the piece is of high value, it is recommended to leave it alone or consult a professional. If the piece can be worked with, there are a few things that can be tried.

You Will Need:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Windex
  • Turtle Wax Polishing Compound
  • Cotton balls
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. These removal products have been used with mixed results. Again, if the gift box is antique and/or has great monetary or sentimental value, we recommend that you either leave it as is or have it professionally restored.
  2. If you choose to do it yourself, begin by applying a small amount of dry cleaning fluid with a cotton ball. Rub it gently in a circular motion, trying to stay only on the stained area.
  3. Wipe clean with a soft cloth.
  4. Windex and Turtle Wax can be applied using the same methods.
  5. Always use caution and watch the designs and coloring on the box carefully to ensure that it is not removed with the stain.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • If available, use a less valuable box with similar stains as a test box. Apply the cleaners to this box first to test how well they work and to see if there are any adverse effects to the cardboard.


  1. Carole says:

    I was wondering if anyone has an idea on how to remove water stains from picture cardboard, such as a Coca-Cola advertisement?

  2. Phyllis says:

    How do I get stains off of a white album cover?

Leave a Comment