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Question DetailsAsked on 1/26/2017

How do I remove old plumbers tape from my shower head after removing the head"

Tape won't come off the end of my shower head tip

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2 Answers


Commonly, take an old coarse washcloth or similar rough texture fabric (note it may get cut up some, so use old or scrap cloth) and wrap it tightly around only the threads (not the bare pipe) and grip with hand, then turn counter-clockwise - will commonly peel it out. If gummy with age, soften first with WD-40.

I have also seen ribbon (wide) dental floss or rough piece of twine or yarn used - "flossing" the threads (bearing down to the counterclockwise direction) to cut/peel up the tape or plumbers dope and remove it.

If it has plumbers dope with it (yellowish or tannish clayey sealant) WD-40 softens that very well (was originally oil-impregnated clay), then brush or floss out.

If the tape is basically intact but just not peeling out, if you can use a toothpick or other sharp tool to get the end peeled up, may be able to unwrap it the rest of the way (counterclockwise if it was put on right).

I have also seen people use a piece of say about 100 grit sandpaper folded over to a tight fold, sanding along the threads in counterclockwise direction to shread and peel up the tape.

Otherwise if the above does not get it, and be gentle if plastic pipe (though usually the shower arm is chromed metal), use a stiff bristle brush or small wire brush (the toothbrush size bronze wire auto parts cleaning ones work especially well for this) to clean the threads, moving in the counterclockwise direction.

When you said "tip", if you mean the part wrapped over the end of the pipe, not in the threads as such, just scraps off with razor blade or knife blade - the end of the shower head arm is not a water-sealing surface, the threads are, so as long as you don't damage the threads you are good.

NOTE above I was saying countertclockwise - that assumes normal north american right-hand (to tighten) threads - if you have one of the goofy euro left hand (to tighten) shower arms then you want to do the removal in clockwise direction. Have run into one or two of those over the decades - drives you CRAZY trying to simply put a shower head one and you can't figure out why it does not fit - because of backward threads and maybe also european metric threads.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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