How to Remove Plumber’s Tape

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The plumber’s tape, also known as the Teflon tape, is one of the most essential things that every plumber has. As we all know, plumbers constantly come across many problems that involve water and the use of the plumber's tape is absolutely needed.

Anyhow, putting the tape on pipe threads is easy and it doesn’t require any special knowledge or skill. On the other hand, removing the same tape is way more difficult than you thought. So, you’ll actually need some guidelines in order to do so.

And luckily, we are here to explain to you exactly how to remove plumber’s tape. So, let’s start.

How to Remove Plumber's Tape

Plumber's Tape Removal – Step by Step Guide

As you already know, plumber’s tape is usually used on pipe threads in order to prevent leaks. And, the most common place to see this tape is on shower heads or shower arms.

Sometimes, you can easily and without any complications remove plumber’s tape with your fingers. Just try to peel the tape off the thread and you’ll do just fine. However, in other cases, removing plumber’s tape will require more effort.

So, let’s see what you need to do in order to remove it from the pipe threads and which tools you need to prepare for this job.

Tools required:

  • A wire brush
  • An old piece of cloth
  • An old toothbrush

Now, once you gather all the essential equipment, it’s time to begin with the process of removing a plumber’s tape.

Step 1 – Use a wire brush to scrub

The first thing you need to do is to use a stiff wire brush and remove the top layer of the plumber’s tape. Now, for this step, it’s quite important to use this brush slowly and gently since you don’t want to damage the pipe where the plumber’s tape was applied.

In that light, just put the brush over the tape and slowly start to peel off the top layer. Once you push the brush a couple of times, the top layer of plumber’s tape will start peeling off. Now, just continue at the same pace but loosen the pressure up a little bit.

The plumber’s tape will start to peel off even more and the top layer of the tape will be gone. If there are any ‘’leftovers’’ of the tape on the residue, you can use your fingers and nails to peel it off.

Step 2 – Wrap a wet piece of cloth around the thread

The next thing to do is to use an old piece of cloth and wrap around the pipe thread where the plumber’s tape was applied. Keep in mind that the cloth needs to be damp, preferably with hot water, so you can remove the residue from the place where the plumber’s tape was applied.

Once you wrap the cloth around the pipe, you need to grab it with your hands and start to twist the rag from left to right like you are rubbing the pipe. This will slowly but surely remove all of the residue from the pipe.

Also, don’t twist too hard or too fast, you just need to use slow and gentle moves since the residue won’t be removed if you don’t rub it properly. The moisture from the rug will loosen the plumber’s tape residue and it will be easier for you to remove it once it’s loose.

Next, you should take a dry rag and wipe away all the residue that is loosened from the previous rubbing with the damp rag. Once you do that, it’s time to go to the next step.


Step 3 – Use an old toothbrush

If the residue is still there, you will need a little bit of help from an old toothbrush. Now, the toothbrush has gentle bristles so you can’t possibly damage the pipe. There’s no need to put a lot of pressure with the toothbrush since the residue will be cleaned with only gentle moves.

Therefore, take the toothbrush and rub it slowly against the pipe thread where you see the residue from the plumber’s tape. Rub the pipe slowly and gently until you get rid of all nasty residue build-ups.

Step 4 – Wipe threads with a damp cloth

As a finishing touch, you will need a clean wet piece of cloth in order to wipe the threads and everything that you just rubbed with a toothbrush. So, take the wet cloth and slowly start to rub the threads. Do it like you are polishing something and try to clean every inch where the plumber’s tape was applied.

However, you can also use some kind of cleaning products for this part, or even lemon juice with hot water, but it's not necessary. A simple wet rag will do the job properly and you’ll end up with a clean pipe thread without any plumber’s tape residue on it.

Step 5 – Check and clean everything

Once you did everything accordingly, it’s time to clean the pipe with a dry rag and check for any cracks. So, take a dry rag and slowly collect all the moist or water that you can find on the pipe. This way, you are ensuring that the pipe is ready to be used again.

You can also apply a new layer of plumber’s tape on the dry pipe now.

Plumber's Tape Removal

Conclusion: How to Remove Plumber's Tape

As we can see, removing a plumber’s tape is not that hard at all. All you need is to put a bit more effort into it and use some tools and everything will be just fine.

Keep in mind to use slow and gentle moves once you rub the pipe thread with the brush or a toothbrush.