Removing Old Tape from Delicate Paper

Dear Donia,
How do I safely remove old Scotch™ tape from delicate paper?

Deodorizing Plastic and Cloth


Q. Dear Donia,

I have a newspaper clipped held together with old, yellowed Scotch™ tape. Is there a good and safe way to remove it?  Thanks, Craig

A. Dear Craig,

Unfortunately, there is no safe and easy way to remove Scotch™ tape from newspaper clippings unless you work with a conservator.  Newsprint is not a paper that ages well and the tape's adhesive will often be stronger than the underlying paper so trying to remove it will most likely damage it beyond repair. 

The best thing you can do is to get a good quality scan so you don't lose the information and then simply protect the clipping as well as you are able. Quite often, as the tape ages, the adhesive will dry up (why it is yellowed at the moment) and the carrier will fall off but the adhesive will remain. Please don't use the over-the-counter products like Goof-off or Goo-gone as the chemicals in these products are harmful for the paper and for you.

I hope you can get a good scan and not lose the information in the clipping!

Thank you for asking "Dear Donia", and please don't hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions.