Friday, January 04, 2013

How to Remove Broken Command Brand Strips

Surface damage from
removing broken
Command strips.
I love 3-M Command Strips.  When we were slowly fixing up the condo to sell I used them for stuff on the walls so I didn't have to repaint later. In the new house they're holding up everything from coathooks to pictures to measuring cups. They've rarely failed me (and then only under odd circumstances). But if you break one of those tabs off when you're trying to remove them you're just screwed. You end up prying the dang thing off and taking off not just paint, but chunks of your wall, which kind of blows away the original reason for using them.

The new house had a few Command hooks with broken tabs that I was willing to overlook for the time being. But I hung Christmas lights with the little decor hooks, and when I broke the tab off one that was right on top of the stairway half-wall where it couldn't be be hidden or ignored I decided to get creative.

You need a thin, non-edged blade and some kind of lubricant. I used a spatula and cooking oil spray, but a very thin putty knife and WD-40 or 3-in-1 would probably work just as well.  For the pictures below I used a Command hook that was left on the back of a door.  The picture above is of an identical door where similar stickies have been removed the hard way.

Your tools: a thin, dull blade and a non-staining lubricant.
The broken Command strip tabs. 
Spray both sides of the blade generously with lubricant.
Carefully work the edge of the blade under one corner
of the sticky tape. Be sure the blade is between the tape
and the surface.
Work the blade back and forth, slowly moving under the strips.
You're spreading lubricant under the adhesive.  If you feel your blade catch 
or stick pull it out and spray on more lubricant. Don't be shy about the oil.
Success! A little more lubricant or something like Goof-Off will take the rest of that off.
Clean off the lubricant.  Bam, the door has been saved from damage.

I used this on a half dozen old and new Command hooks throughout the house, and one very old hook that pre-dated Command strips and was on with 3-M permanent foam adhesive squares.  I'm using my Command Strips with more confidence, knowing that I can get them off even if the tabs break off.  Oh, you can almost always get coupons for Command products over on the Command website.

Disclaimer: This blog was not solicited, nor have I been compensated for it.

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