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Tape Residue: What It Is, How to Avoid It

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If you have ever had the misfortune to deal with sticky tape residue, you will know exactly how unpleasant it can be. You used your chosen tape for a temporary fix, you removed it when the time comes and you are left with the most unsightly marks all over the place where the tape once sat. And when you try to get rid of these marks, you find that they are even more difficult to remove than the tape itself.

According to the UK’s leading medical adhesive tape convertors, the problem comes down to one main misconception. In the vast majority of instances, those purchasing and using adhesive tapes fail to realise that there are actually two categories of tape available to them. Along with those that are designed for temporary use, there are those that are manufactured for permanent application.  Just as is the case with all adhesive products across the board, every adhesive tape is manufactured with a specific purpose or set of purposes in mind. Which means that if it is used for a purpose for which it was not intended, you may find yourself running into trouble.

What Causes Tape Residue?

Without getting bogged down with the science of things, it is the chemical formulation of the adhesive layer and the way it reacts with the materials to be bonded that will determine whether or not residue is left behind. Which is precisely why it is perfectly possible to use and remove an adhesive tape without leaving a single mark on one material, only to entirely ruin another with exactly the same tape. In addition, the strength of the adhesive will of course also make a difference in terms of residue.

When an adhesive tape has been designed to create a bond that is literally as strong as concrete, it is unrealistic to expect to be able to remove it without leaving a single trace behind. Last but not least, atmospheric conditions also have the potential to affect whether or not an adhesive tape will leave behind unsightly residue. For example, if after the adhesive tape was applied it was then subjected to extreme heat, the higher temperature may have had a detrimental effect on the adhesive layer and the way it bonded with the surface of the material.

Tips for Avoiding Adhesive Residue

All of which leads to one important question – what can be done to avoid adhesive residue? Given the fact that it can be borderline impossible to remove without leaving at least a minor mess behind, what kind of steps can be taken to avoid it manifesting in the first place?

Well, the truth of the matter is that it comes mostly down to common sense, which in conjunction with the following tips can help ensure that the results of your own job are not blighted by unsightly residue:

  1. First and foremost, only ever use adhesive tapes to the exact purposes for which they were intended. This means reading the usage instructions comprehensively before even thinking about getting to work, in order to know exactly what you should and should not be using the tape on/with. If it does not specifically state that the tape is suitable for your intended purpose, you probably shouldn’t be using it.
  2. If it is of critical importance that no residue or marks of any kind be left behind, it may be in your best interests to speak to a professional adhesive manufacturer. These days, adhesive tapes can be manufactured to order in direct accordance with the needs of the client. Which basically means that if one of your top priorities is that of ensuring residue is avoided at all costs, it’s definitely worth speaking to the professionals to see what can be organised and manufactured on your behalf.
  3. In instances where adhesive tape needs to be removed from a surface, it is advisable to do so at the earliest possible juncture. The reason being that the longer you wait to remove the adhesive, the more likely it is that atmospheric influences of any kind could lead to it being compromised and residue being left behind. The ageing process of adhesives alone can increase the risk of residue build-up.
  4. Last but not least, just as if you were looking to minimise discomfort when removing a sticking plaster, it is often advisable to remove adhesive tape as quickly as possible in one swift pull. In many instances, removing the tape more slowly will only result in more residue being left on the surface of the material.