How to Remove Command Strips Without Damaging Paint?

Learn how you can take them off and keep your wall unharmed

We all love decorating our homes!

Pictures, photos, decor on the walls give our houses and apartments that unique and very personal vibe that make them feel cozy for us. However, all those things (e.g. pictures, decor, etc.) need to be hung thoroughly to hold onto the wall and not fall off it!

And if not so long ago we would only use nails to hang pictures, today it is possible to use a way less harmful option.

We are talking about command strips. They are designed to hold the objects onto the walls without causing damage to the surface. Let’s agree, it is way better than making holes with nails and hammer!

However, those who have never used these strips before often wonder whether command strips damage walls and paint in particular.

People think that this stuff works exactly as masking tape, so if you try to peel it off, it will take the layer of paint away from the wall as well! But is it really so?

To answer this question, we prepared this article for you today. When you read it, you will learn how to take off command strips without peeling paint.

Also, we will explain how command strips work so that you could understand the science behind this sticky thing better.

In addition, we will tell you how to attach these tapes to the walls correctly and share a few handy tips that will allow you to make use of the command strips to the fullest.

How to Remove Command Strips Without Peeling Paint Off the Wall

All right. You decided to stop making holes in your walls each time you need to hang a new family picture, and you are now thinking of using command strips instead. Good choice!

But after you attach them, you will surely face another issue: how to get command strips off without chipping paint?

Below, you can find a few options you can make use of in order to remove command strips from your walls safely without peeling all the paint off.

And of course, we will explain in detail how to get these strips carefully in a step by step instruction!

So, removing command strips can be done in several different ways.

Read about each of them and choose which option sounds the most suitable and well working for you and for your particular situation.

How to Remove Command Strips Without Peeling Paint Off the Wall

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Stretching

You can take your command strips by using the method of stretching. What does that mean?

See, command strips work the way they do because of the level of cohesive and adhesive forces.

Some of the command strips use the two-piece hook and loop system. In this system, one side is used for holding onto the wall and the other side is used for holding onto the hanging object.

So if you are using this very type of command strip and you need to remove it safely, the hanging object must first be removed. Like this, the command strip’s adhesive segment will be exposed.

In order to do this, you need to hold the lower part of the object (e.g. a picture, a decor element, etc.) and remove it from the strip moving in an ascending manner.

After the part with the adhesive is fully exposed, you need to hold the exposed area of the strip and delicately stretch it in a similar way as the strip itself.

Stretching
command brand

Heating

Applying heat is another handy way of removing the command strip quickly and safely without damaging the wall and the paint layer on it.

For this purpose, we would recommend you make use of a regular heat gun. It will help you to warm up the command strip before scrapping it off the wall.

Hold the heat gun a few inches from the strip and move it from side to side. This needs to be done for about half a minute.

Once the command strip becomes warm, you can hold on to the pull tap and pull.

If it so happens that the pull tap of the command strip is broken, you can opt for the dental floss and use it to disintegrate the strip from the wall!

To do this, simply slide the dental floss under the strip and, moving back and forth, saw through the bottom of the strip to disintegrate it from the wall. 

Heating
dmvasilenko via crello

Varnish Removal

Another way of peeling the command strip off the wall harmlessly. For this approach, you will need either a liquid or a gel varnish removal.

It is needed for making the command strip’s varnish layer weaker and thus making the strip easier to unstick.

The removal procedure is very simple itself.

  1. First, brush the varnish stripper on the wall so that it could soften the adhesive.
  2. Then, proceed with scraping off the command strip. You need to ensure that this is done before the chemical dries off!
  3. At this point, you need to note that the strip might leave your wall with a small stain!

However, that stain can easily be wiped off using a damp rag.

Also, if you find it necessary to rinse the varnish remover, we would recommend you use the manufacturer recommended method.

These are the most common ways of removing the command strip from the wall. And now, let’s see how to do it step by step.

Need to Remove Command Strip And Hooks? Get the Instructions!

Usually, the pack of command strips comes with a detailed explanation of how to use them.

From that instruction, you can also find out how to attach and take the strip off safely.

But if, for any reason, you lost the pack or you threw it away already, and you don’t remember the instructions by heart, don’t worry!

We are here to remind you.

Command Strip RemovalCommand Strip Removal

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Remove the Object First

Before you proceed to peel the command strip off, you need to remove the hanging object first.

Simply take down the picture or decorative item so that the adhesive part of the strip or hook is exposed.

For example, if you need to remove the pictures hung with strips, simply grasp the bottom corners of the frame and peel the picture frame away from the wall with an upward movement.

This will release the hook and loop component of the command strip.

Remove the Object First
via crello

Stretch the Tab

The next step is to grasp the exposed tab of the adhesive and slowly stretch it in the same direction as you stretched the strip.

It may stretch up to fifteen inches before it releases from the wall, so consider this nuance.

Also, we would recommend you always pull flatly in the same direction as the strip, and never pull at a ninety-degree angle!

What if your command strip has a broken pull tab, you may ask? Well, it happens, and a broken pull tab may cause certain inconvenience since it makes it hard for you to get a proper grip for removing the adhesive. As a result, the whole process may end up with the damaged wall.

In order to avoid that, it is good to know how to act in this case if you need to detach the broken command strip from the wall accurately.

Cut the Floss

Measure out a piece of uncolored dental floss. It should be about twelve inches long.

Make sure that the piece of floss is long enough so you can wrap each end around your hands several times to make a “dental-floss saw.”

Cut the Floss
bymandesigns via crello

Warm the Strip Up

Turn on a hair dryer to the medium or medium-high setting. Holding it about three or four inches away from the strip, move the dryer back and forth over the strip for about 20 seconds.

Then touch the command strip to check if it feels warm. If it does not, move the dryer a bit closer and keep on using it until the strip is warm to the touch.

Slide And Saw

After you heat the strip up and it gets warm to the touch, you need to wrap each end of the dental floss around your hands so that you have a taut piece between them.

Slide the floss under the top of the command strip, and move back and forth as you move down the strip, acting gently and slowly.

The strip should slip off the wall when you reach the bottom of the strip.

Remove the Leftover Adhesive

If any adhesive remains on the wall, use your fingertips or a clean microfiber cloth to rub the surface gently. The adhesive should peel away.

With these tips, you will be able to cope with any command strip, even if it is broken and it seems that you can’t get the proper grip to detach it from the wall safely.

How Command Strips Work?

All right, so now you are aware of how to remove the command strip from the wall and do it safely without peeling the paint off. But do you know how this strip works at all?

Of course, this is not something that you won’t be able to live without, but at the same time, if you know how a command strip works, you will be able to understand way better how to remove it and to pay attention when doing this.

In simple words, what makes the command systems work without damaging the wall surface is the level of the adhesive and cohesive strength.

See, the sticky part of the strip has adhesive strength, and that strength holds the strip to the surface actually.

However, that sticky part also has a cohesive strength.

The cohesive strength has to be greater in comparison to the adhesive strength so that when you stretch the adhesive it will come off cleanly.

How To Apply Command™ Picture Hanging StripsHow To Apply Command™ Picture Hanging Strips

How to Get Better Results From Command Strips. Tips And Life Hacks

When attaching command strips onto painted walls, and when in need of a command strip removal, it is good to have a few handy tips at hand. Those tips and life hacks can help you to remove the strip successfully.

Always read the instructions on the pack of command strips to learn how to attach and remove them.

Choose the proper hook or strip for the job. There are weight and humidity limits specified for each product.

Don’t use strips on freshly painted walls, wallpaper, fabric or textured surfaces (e.g. brick).

Before attaching the strip, make sure that you degrease the wall by wiping it with rubbing alcohol. The surface must be free from dust, grease, and grime.

Note that most of the adhesive strips and hooks (except for the command adjustable hooks) can’t be reused after you take them off the wall!

When removing the command strip, you can use a thin fishing line instead of a dental floss.

Like that, you can be sure that you do everything right and your wall will not suffer.

How to Get Better Results From Command Strips.
Feverpitch via crello

How Do You Attach the Command Strip?

The process of the strip attaching is the same simple as the procedure of taking it off. However, be sure that you do everything right, so better check out the brief guide we have prepared for you!

  • Start with wiping the wall with rubbing alcohol to remove the grease, dust and grime. Any other household cleaners are not recommended since they leave a residue that prevents the strip from attaching!
  • Tear apart the Command strips and then click two together.
  • Take off the liner on the back of the strip and stick it to the object you’re going to hang.
  • Remove liners on the front side of the strip.
  • Position your object and press it firmly to the wall to make the strips stick.

Now you know how to work with command strips, how they work, and what to do in order to both attach them to the wall correctly, and remove the same correctly.

We hope that this information will help you to use this handy stuff in your home to decorate it, and you won’t face any complications with both installing and removing the command strip.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Can a command strip peel the paint off the wall?

Typically, it can’t. Unless you apply it to a freshly painted wall where the paint is still wet.

⭐Is a command strip the same as masking tape?

No, these are different things. Masking tape is a tape with one sticky side only. A command strip has a more difficult “structure”.

⭐Can I use a command strip on wallpaper?

No, using a command strip on wallpaper is not recommended. If you want to take it off later, it may tear the wallpaper away.

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