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How to Remove Old Tape From Baseball Cards

how to remove tape from old baseball cards

Unfortunately, when you collect baseball cards you may acquire some that have not been properly cared for, or you may have stored them poorly yourself. The best way to remove tape from baseball cards is to lightly rub the area with a solution like rubbing alcohol mixed with water.

Collecting baseball cards is a great hobby and can lead you on a journey to collecting more vintage and rare cards. However, the typical rule of thumb is that the older the card the worse a condition it is in. This can be anything from bends to creases, fading or even tape residue.

Here we will tell you everything that you need to know about how to safely, quickly and effectively remove tape and tape residue from your baseball cards, allowing you to restore them to the best condition possible.

Best Way to Remove Tape Residue From Baseball Cards

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When it comes to removing any tape residue from your baseball cards you will want to be as gentle as possible and be very careful. The idea is to remove the tape residue without damaging the card in any way shape or form and this includes removing any ink from the card.

The best way to remove this residue is to take a light cloth or even a Q-tip and slightly soak this in rubbing alcohol mixed down with water. You should do this with great care as rubbing too hard can cause the ink from the card to lift as well as the tape residue.

If you are considering getting your baseball cards graded, appraised or valued then it may be worth leaving the tape residue alone as any damage that you may accidentally cause to the card will result in a devaluation. It can also lead to them being considered ‘tampered with’ and lose their value.

If you are unsure about exactly what to do then consider asking an expert ahead of time. However, if the card is to remain in your collection then you can allow yourself a little more freedom but still, be very cautious. 

To check the current price and availability of rubbing alcohol, click here to view listings on Amazon.

How Do You Clean the Surface of a Baseball Card?

Whether you are cleaning your baseball cards to keep them in pristine condition or you are polishing them up in order to send them for grading you should be very careful not to cause any further damage to the cards. This means that you should avoid using any water or other solutions.

The best method to clean your cards is actually to avoid moisture altogether and instead opt for a soft cloth. The best cloth to use is a microfibre cloth (like the ones used for glasses). This will allow you to remove any excess dust, dirt or other unwanted contaminants from the surface of the card.

Microfibre cloths will lift these from the surface without ruining your card or causing any issues. You should do this from the inside out and not in a circular motion. Cleaning in a circular motion means that if there is anything small and sharp on the surface of the card you will cause circular scratches all over your card.

Avoid using steam or any sprays to remove odors as these contain water vapor and can easily ruin your baseball cards.

What’s the Best Adhesive Remover?

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If you want to turn to an adhesive remover in an attempt to get rid of the old tape residue from your baseball cards there are a few brands to consider.

However, as we have already said this should only be used as a last resort. Consider either sending your card(s) away to a specialist cleaning and restoration service or leaving them as they are before you consider this option.

You should only use a very small amount of these products and use them gently over the area. Because they are adhesive removers there is a high chance that they will damage your card by removing any ink.

Popular adhesive removers:

  • Goo gone – this is a household adhesive remover that is citrus-based
  • 3M general purpose cleaner – this is a heavy-duty solvent
  • Elmer’s stick out adhesive remover – a natural citrus-based product, free of harmful solvents

It is best to bear in mind that these three products listed above are not made specifically for use with baseball cards. They are designed to be much more aggressive and to remove stubborn adhesives around the house and workplace. 

If you have any uncertainties about using these products then it is probably best not to do so.

To check the current price and availability of Goo Gone, click here to view listings on Amazon.

How to Make Homemade Adhesive Remover

If you want to try and use a more gentle adhesive remover then it is a good option to make the solution yourself. However, it is best to still be aware that any adhesive remover can cause damage to your baseball cards (even if it is able to remove the tape residue).

You will need to mix a few drops of lemon essential oil, a little water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. This is quick and easy to make and will act as a natural adhesive remover. Citrus has natural properties that act to burn away the residue. 

You can alternatively dip the tip of a Q-tip into a little bit of lemon juice and rub lightly against the tape residue.

Although this is a more gentle and natural method than the store-bought versions above the acid from the lemon juice can still damage your card, so be careful.

Final Thoughts

Although many of us think that tape residue on baseball cards is a negative thing it can actually be better than the alternative: a ruined baseball card.

Tape residue is notoriously difficult to remove and sometimes only the most powerful adhesive removers can get the job done. If you want to use a more gentle method then using lemon juice, or lemon juice mixed with baking soda and water can work.

However, any form of acid can damage the surface of your card. If you are unsure about the process then it is best to leave the card as it is.

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