Do Command Strips Peel Paint off Walls and Cause Damage?

Author: Pat Freling | Updated: | Affiliate links may be present.

Command strips are a popular and cost-efficient option for hanging up various things on your walls. Their design makes it so that they apply and remove easily. You might be wondering, “Do Command Strips damage walls?” and you aren’t alone, as this is a concern for many consumers.

If not used properly, Command Strips can cause damage to your wall and peel off the paint. Thankfully, there are effortless ways to remove them and still keep your walls intact.

How Do Command Strips Work?

Command Strips consist of a small plastic or metal hook and an adhesive backing. Some varieties also have adhesive on both sides so you can either stick your objects on or hang them.

The backing is meant to be peeled off and applied directly to the wall where it will stay firmly in place, allowing you to hang your items.

The benefit of using Command Strips is that they eliminate the need for a hammer and nail. That means there’s no pesky nail holes to fill when you decide to move.

Do Command Strips Take off Paint?

When used as directed, Command Strips should cause no damage to your wall or paint. Damage is usually associated with removing the product incorrectly.

They are not intended to be used on textured walls as they won’t adhere properly. Also, don’t use them on wallpaper because it is too delicate and can rip upon removal.

Instructions for Use

First you need to clean your walls thoroughly. The manufacturer (3M Products) recommends using rubbing alcohol. This gives the adhesive a squeaky clean surface to stick to and ensure maximum adhesion.

If you are using a single hook strip, remove the peelable backing and press it firmly in the desired area. Continue to press the strip in for 30 seconds then release.

Allow the strip to sit for at least an hour before hanging anything from it. This gives the adhesive time to really mesh in with the porous area. After an hour you can hang up your items.

If you are using the double-sided velcro strips, you can apply the front portion immediately, but don’t peel off the forward-facing adhesive until after the hour mark.

Instructions for Removal

When it comes to how to remove Command Strips without peeling paint, there is a specific way to achieve this.

Option 1: Using the Removal Tab

These strips come with an adhesive removal tab right out of the package. It is usually a small red or white plastic tab hanging slightly below the strip.

After you’ve removed your hanging object, locate the removal tab on the bottom and slowly pull it down. This stretches the adhesive tape on the back, causing it to gently lose contact with the wall.

Avoid wiggling it side to side as this could cause damage. Just one or two gentle pulls downward should do the trick.

Option 2: Heat

If pulling the release tab does not remove your Command Strip, it may require the use of heat. These strips can become stubborn if they have adhered for a long period of time or if you opted for the extra-strength formulation for heavier items.

You will need to heat up the adhesive using either a blow dryer or hot water dripped onto the top of the strip.

After you’ve given the strip time to heat up, grab a piece of dental floss or string and gently slide it behind the strip, working your way through until it releases from your wall.

If a Command Strip Damages Your Wall

If the strips didn’t damage any paint but instead left a layer of sticky adhesive behind, this can be solved with some goo-gone formula or rubbing alcohol. Just gently rub the area until it is completely removed.

Unfortunately, if the Command Strips ripped off paint, you can’t simply put it back on. You will need to repair the area by painting and priming it again.

There have been reports of these strips ripping off both the paint layer and the top layer of drywall, so be sure to assess the area well in order to plan your repair.

Most hardware stores can color match your paint with small scrapings of it and they can also direct you to the correct supplies for repairing the top layer of drywall.

If you have more Command Strips to remove, be sure to do so carefully using the heat method described above so you don’t have more spots to repair.

Final Thoughts

Command Strips are quick and easy to use for hanging many items, but if not removed, the right way they can cause some paint to come off with the adhesive.

Be patient and meticulous when you are removing the adhesive tape. Doing this process correctly will leave your walls as perfect as they were when you first applied them.

About Pat Freling

Pat has been into DIY painting since he was 14 years old. He's painted interior walls, decks, patio, and even the first car that he'd purchased at 18.

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