How to Remove 3M Command Adhesive Strips if the Release Tab Gets Ripped Off

by Michael on January 1, 2011 · 37 comments

I’m a big fan of 3M’s Command adhesive strips. If you’ve never used them, they’re great. They stick like crazy, but release without damage when you stretch them out by pulling the little release tab on the end.

We use Command adhesive hooks for a bunch of things, including hanging our Christmas stockings on the mantle shelf above our fireplace. After the holidays, we simply pull the tab to release the hooks without damaging the paint.

The hooks themselves are totally reusable. All we have to do is buy some replacement strips and we’re good to go. No muss, no fuss. Except when the little tab tears off, that is.

Unfortunately, when removing the hooks today, that’s exactly what happened. My wife successfully remove five of the six hooks, but she accidentally ripped the release tab off the last one.

While there was a small edge sticking out from under the hook, I couldn’t get ahold of it. I tried needle nose pliers, but the edge was too small. I was able to snag a small piece with tweezers, but it just ripped right off.

Unsure of how to proceed, I decided to try loosening it up with a hairdryer. Bingo! After about 30 seconds of heating and gentle tugging, the hook came loose without damaging the paint at all.

If you’re having trouble removing Command adhesive strips, I hope you find this helpful. If you have any other ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi January 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Worked like a charm! Thank you so much!


Raj December 20, 2016 at 12:22 am

Thank you so very much. It worked beautifully.😇


michelle June 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thanks, just did this and perfect, came right off, left no mark!


Jenn July 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Unfortunately this didn’t work for me. I have concrete walls (apartment building) and I had used several 3M hooks to hang items. I had 2 tabs break when I was removing the hooks. I tried the hairdryer trick with the first one and had no luck. I ended up peeling off a nice sized chunk of paint (uh-oh!). So the second one I took a hammer and used the back of the hammer to snap off the bottom of the hook which exposed a portion of the tab. Then I just pulled the tab as normally directed and off came what remained of the hook. I ruined the hook but was able to save the wall.


Rae December 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thank you so much!!! I could not figure out how to do it and I would’ve been fined $100 had anything been left on the wall! Lifesaver you are!


Kate January 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

This was very helpful. I was taking the Christmas lights out of the window and three of the tabs broke off. Heating them with the hairdryer allowed me to pop off the hangers and then I was able to rub the remaining adhesive off the window. Can’t tell they were ever there!


Hannah February 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm



James July 30, 2012 at 6:16 am

Well, this kind of worked. I got two of my hooks down, no damage, but the other two ripped off noticeable bits of paint. Luckily, I think I have enough to get it color-matched to patch it up.


GL October 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I tried removing them this way, but one of them damaged the wall severely by tearing off not just the paint but the layer underneath it. I will never be buying anything by this brand again, as the wall looks terrible now.


Sharon December 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Worked great! Thanks


Master December 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I pushed the hook (towards the wall) and it picked the bottom side up a little… while applying this pressure, my wife heated the whole hook/mount and it slowly loosened. I could see it loosening because we had a clear hook.


debbie January 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Your idea worked like a charm! Our 5yr old tore off tab and of course we didn’t find out until today while we were putting away Christmas decorations… Ours were on our dining chairs..we put each childs stocking on the back of their chair. Fine wood furniture. Thanks for your advice!


BigEasyCC January 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Thank you so much! I used the big command hooks on my desk (beautiful wood) and the 2 strips on one of the anchors tore off. I used a hairdryer and letter opener to pry behind the anchor and it came off in about 20 seconds. All that was left was some of the sticky strip that rolled up when I rubbed it. That you for saving my desk!


Katy January 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

It worked!!! Thanks!


Lucy January 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I was doing the exact same thing today – taking down the hooks off the fireplace mantle that were used to hang the Christmas stockings – and the last tab ripped off. Your suggestion worked perfectly. I would have never thought of that on my own. Thank you SO much!!!!


DownunderJim March 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Just removed about a dozen hooks with 2 of the command strips breaking off in the process. The hair-dryer trick works a treat. For one of the hooks with nothing left to get hold off we used some dental floss to pull down behind the hook as it was heated. This is an additional technique if needed.


Kathy May 1, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Thank you. The two things together just worked a treat!


Leah May 6, 2014 at 9:28 pm

WOW tried to get a hook off from my desk at college before move out day and this worked! Thanks so much 🙂


Kim June 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Thank you SO MUCH!! This worked perfectly. You are a total lifesaver, I would have been fined if I had left those on my dorm wall.


Ana August 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

Thank you for your suggestion. It saved a beautiful wood salad bowl. The floss did not work for me. I used very thin jewelry wire instead. The top came off easily. I then continued to use the blow drier on the adhesive patch that was left and pull it off with my fingers. No damage to the bowl.


Linda January 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Worked like a charm.


D January 31, 2015 at 5:03 pm

I had the exact thing happen to me and I tried the tweezers etc. until I found this tip. Heated for about 30 seconds and wiggled the hook off and used my fingertip to roll off the stuck adhesive strip off the wall. Worked so beautifully. Thank you!


delnana March 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm

This hint has surely stood the test of time. Here it is 2015 and this information solved the problem I was having with my Command strip. It was on my front door and I really didn’t want to have to paint it again if removing the strip did any damage. Thank you so much for sharing. Yahoo!


Abbyromana April 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Thank you so much for this advice. I had a clear hook on the outside of my front door. The tab had been put on upside down and then broken. The mix of a hair dryer and dental floss worked wonderful. It just took patience and two different strings of floss. 🙂


Nancy December 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Thank you sooo much. Worked perfect!!


Arlie December 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Perfect!!! So happy!!


Karen January 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

This was a great tip! The hairdryer alone didn’t work (maybe it’s the type we have), but I saw a mention of dental floss. I heated the hook, ran the floss between the hook and the wall, and then heated the stuff left on the wall slightly before using tweezers to remove it. This saved everything – the wall (most important!) and the hook (extra bonus). Would never have thought of either without this article and the comments!


Joy January 3, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for the tip. The command hook did not come off after I heated it so I gently slid a butter knife under the hot hook and it popped off. I was then able to peel the tape off easily. No damage! Thanks very much!


Jody January 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the tip! Blowdryer did the trick! Easy! Thanks again!


Deann May 29, 2017 at 8:22 pm

This was very helpful. I ran the blowdryer and my husband ran the dental floss. Thanks.


Pat July 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I put commander hooks on window, hook&tabs came off but sticky stuff stayed on. I have tried gue gone, hair dryer, can’t get it off of windows. Please help!!!!


Jane August 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Worked perfect! No mark!


lisa Brooks November 25, 2017 at 4:19 am

I had a little sticky stuff on window – what can i use to get it off window


Jeminums February 22, 2018 at 6:53 am

You can use rubbing alcohol 🙂


Cathy August 12, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Using the hairdryer for 45 seconds first, followed by running dental floss down behind the hook and between the door worked like a charm! I was then able to get the strip off by pulling up as normal.


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Theresa Lang January 7, 2020 at 11:11 am

Be patient, can take several minutes! I started to panic when it didn’t seem to be working on my new quartz waterfall island, but after a couple of minutes I could now get some movement by pushing from the side of the command hook (I didn’t pull on the hook part in fear of breaking/making it even harder to remove). Sure enough, it slid right off after 3-4 minutes (there was absolutely no edge of the tape to grab; 4 out of 5 came off as they should, but one tab broke!). Thank you!


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