How to Rejuvenate Old Rolls of Masking Tape

Unwinding masking tape from roll.
Unwinding masking tape from roll after heating it in a microwave.

The adhesive on old rolls of masking tape can dry out over time, making the tape stick together and hard to unwind.

To rejuvenate the adhesive on old rolls of masking tape, put the roll of tape on a paper towel in a microwave oven and turn the microwave on for 10 seconds or so.

This will warm up the old adhesive and make it easy to unroll.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: This roll of masking tape has given me trouble all day long, and it’s because it’s an older roll of tape.

I’m trying to save it—it cost almost $5.00 to buy originally—but every time I try to peel off a piece, you can see it’s coming off in strands. And it eventually is trying to get to where it’s wide again, and it just keeps tearing. So I think it’s because the adhesive is really old. There it is. Then I finally got to—look at all the tape I’ve wasted already—then it keeps ripping on me.

So I think what I’m going to do—this is a trick I’ve tried a couple of times, it works probably about half the time I’ve tried it, so I’m going to try it with this old roll—is putting it in a microwave oven for a few seconds to heat it up.

I put a piece of paper towel down just so I don’t get any adhesive on the glass tray. I’m going to give it 10 seconds. That’s all you need, depending on how old it is, so there you go. If it’s an older roll and the glue is really hard, you might want to give it a few more seconds.

But I’ve done this maybe four or five times; and it’s worked, like I said, maybe two or three times—about half the time. But it’s worth it, because like I said, this masking tape gets pretty expensive. It’s just warm enough. You can feel it. And now look at that. All it took was 10 seconds and this roll is like good as new.


  1. I was a little skeptical on trying this out but I did it anyways and it worked :)! Thank you, now I don’t have to make a trip to the store

  2. I tossed an old large role of masking tape I got for a dollar in the microwave, it took 15 seconds but it is good as new. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Thank you so much! This is a brilliant tip and I would never have thought of it. Joe, thank you for sharing. I’ve got tips like this that I have discovered and one day when I am comfortable with the internet, I’ll share them. By the way, I also think with masking tape, if you can remember to do it, it’s a good idea to store it vertically and move it round from time to time – this because I’m guessing the glue is a fluid and tends to gather at the bottom and then dehydrate. ALL my rolls, even expensive ones, tear on the lower side. I tried shaving with a very sharp blade the protruding glue, but with only very limited success. Your idea is so mmuch better and so neat!

  4. I needed at least 20 seconds, but it worked like a charm! Thank you for this solution – it’s been bugging me forever.

    Do you know how long this will last by any chance? Do I need to reheat it every time I want to use it?

  5. Or, you could leave it out in the sun for 30 minutes, if you’re not in a hurry.

    If you just bought the tape and it’s difficult to peel back in one piece, either return it to the store or call the manufacturer. 3M sent a brand-new roll of tape to me, after I called their “800” number.

    • Hi, Watt,
      We thought so, too, at first — then Joe showed us this clever trick.
      Takes just 10 seconds — try it. 🙂

  6. I’ve been screaming and cursing at masking tape for, I don’t know, years it seems like, and today I finally asked Google “Why does masking tape keep tearing?” And I found this page, and I put that not-so-old-looking reel of masking tape from Staples in the microwave for 10 seconds, and Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, it unrolls without tearing! Mostly, anyway; it started to peel from one side, but I caught it when it was maybe 1mm wide.
    One tip that I’ve found very helpful: keep the tape you’re pulling at a tangent to the roll, so you’re pulling it exactly backwards from the way it lies on the next layer. I’ve found that that reduces tearing.

    • Hi, Lee! This Simple Solution is for masking tape, not transparent packaging tape.
      We don’t recommend this tip for packaging tape.
      Good luck! 🙂


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