Classroom cleaningIn my classroom, three walls are whiteboards. Last semester, I thought I was brilliant when I got the idea to hang student posters on one of the whiteboard walls using...

Classroom cleaning

In my classroom, three walls are whiteboards. Last semester, I thought I was brilliant when I got the idea to hang student posters on one of the whiteboard walls using double-sided tape. When I tried to take down the posters, I discovered that my idea was not so brilliant after all. Does anybody have any surefire solutions for removing tape from whiteboards that doesn't involve fingernails?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I know that some solvents will remove tape. I believe that there are things that work at taking off sticky labels from picture frames: I'm not sure if it's vinegar, or alcohol or Windex. You want to make sure it doesn't damage the finish on the board. I have found, however, that sometimes you can use a stronger tape to remove weaker tape. Duct tape might work: it sure is sticky. I also use Scotch brand (clear) mailing tape. I love this stuff. It really keeps things securely closed. (I even use it to close cereal bags, as long as I fold down a corner in order to have something to grab onto that will let me pull it off the next time.) Try using a strong tape. Press it onto the old tape, even rubbing it on hard with your nail or finger. However, sometimes peeling things off SLOWLY will make for a better result.

You can use that double-sided tape again this year, but fold one end down on itself, just enough so you can grab it with your nails when you're ready to remove it. There is also a blue sticky subtance with a duck on it, and I think it's called DAP. It has to be the right brand. (Sometimes Walmart carries it, or you can find it on line.) It is very good at attaching papers to a white board and you can peel it off and use it again. Schools (in my experience) order the stuff that never works.

#10 mentions Goo Gone. Good idea. I think there may be something else called Goop Off. And you might try olive oil, too.

Good luck!


Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clairewait and lmetcalf beat me to it.  Goo Gone is a product that I can no longer live without.  Although I am convinced that it's just paint thinner with a bit of lemon (ha!), I have used it on anything and everything to get stickiness out.  Just a couple days ago, I used it on our wood floor to get some extra-strong carpet tape residue off.  It didn't even damage the finish!  I love this stuff!  I've even used it to get gum and tape out of the girls' hair!  I am positive it will work on your white board without damaging it.  Further, keep it around for when you give gifts and the darn price tag leaves that sticky mark, ... a tiny wipe with Goo Gone will take it right off.  As for where to purchase it, often larger grocery stores have it, but if not then definitely a home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes (or even Wal Mart).  Good luck!

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've heard that rubbing alcohol works wonders, but I've never tried it personally.  You might want to test it out in a small corner just to make sure it doesn't hurt  the board.  I know dry erase board cleaner will work on some things.  I got a classroom where the previous teacher had put big, obnoxious, glitter stickers all over the board.  When I pealed them off, the sticky left behind was ridiculous.  I bought dry erase board cleaner from an office supply store.  I sprayed it on, left it for about 30 min (not what the directions say to do by the way) and then wiped it off.  That took most of the sticky off.  What little bits were left, I wiped very gently with a magic eraser cleaning sponge, but be careful because  these can easily scratch your board.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd either go with the ever tedious razor blade (from post 6) or try Goo-Gone (or Goof Off?, that yellow stuff in a spray bottle).  It should be gentle enough not to eat your white board, but get the sticky off.

You might also want to consider waxing your whiteboards with turtle wax.  For the first couple weeks after waxing, you might feel like your white board doesn't come quite as clean with a normal eraser, but over time (as the wax sort of soaks in), it stays cleaner, longer.  Get some of those erasers that look like terry-cloth towels (ours were circular).  A bit more abrasive and with the turtle wax, my white board looked brand new for several years.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great ideas, everybody. I think I may ask the chemistry teacher to help me out as #3 suggests. I know I could ask the custodian to help me, but he does so much that I hate to bother him with my silly mistake. I also need a way to get regular marker off the whiteboard. I made the mistake of picking up a coloring marker instead of a dry-erase marker and wrote on the board before noticing my mistake. It wasn't a permanent marker, but I can't get it off the board.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most custodians have a sideways scraper blade that they use to remove gum from carpet, tile, etc., and this might be successful if you're a little bit gentle with it.  You just want to make sure you don't let the blade actually damage the surface, but if you keep a small angle on it and gentle pushing, you should be fine.  Go over the spot with some specific dry erase board cleaner/primer when you're done and it should remove the gunk left over.

pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've had great success with Windex.  I use it on my white boards instead of the Expo cleaner the school buys.  In addition to a nice, fresh scent, I've found that it helps my boards sparkle and prevents the dry erase makers from from leaving behind those pesky marks.  It also makes it easier to erase marks.  It might be too late for your issue.  I've only tried it a a preemptive measure, but I think it may work. Good luck!

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not convinced about the solvent answer.  I used that once and ended up with a white board that couldn't really be written on, which is a bit of a drawback.  Obviously, it could well have been a different solvent than Bullgator had, but I would strongly suggest trying it out on a little bit of the board down in the corner first.  (Mine took off whatever finish makes the board "writeable," I think...)

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this is a wonderful opportunity for some budding chemists out there to engage in some practical chemistry and do some experimentation! Can you speak to a science teacher and get them to organise a chemistry project which will give students extra credit? Apart from that, as #2 says, custodians normally know it all so they might be able to come up with some good ideas. Hope you get it clean!

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can help with the regular marker error - go over the writing with your conventional whiteboard marker and wipe off while still wet. Our caretaker has a special spray for cleaning major board traumas: I find being super nice to him, the cleaner and the office lady make my job easier by far. Just get your caretaker on side s/he is probably a mine of information about handy tips for your classroom.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a great product out there called "Goo Gone" that is citrus based and kind of oily -- it does an excellent job of getting sticky price stickers off of glass and plastic so I think it might help your mess.  You do need to peel off the glue/sticky stuff, but it is not going to wreck your hands.  Good Luck!

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Check with a custodian to see if he/she has any good ideas. I haven't had a problem with double-sided tape, but I accidentally used permanent marker on a whiteboard one time. I was unsuccessful in removing it until I consulted a custodian, who had a solvent which eventually did the trick.

jarumi344 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Goo-Gone (like #6) is my cure-all for anything sticky.  It has a very strong scent, so you might want to open some windows when using it, but in my experience, Goo-Gone hasn't met a substance is can't un-stick.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have used fingernail polish for the same thing. I had the same "bright idea" and it backfired as well. After ripping my nails to shreds, I found that finger nail polish remover worked wonders!!

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alcohol often works.  If not, Goo gone or Goop will.  You can also try ice.  I've never tried that myself, but I've heard it works with sticky stuff.

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