Learn how to remove Command strips effortlessly and without damaging your walls. Our step-by-step tutorial guides you through the process, ensuring you preserve your wall’s integrity while saying goodbye to Command strips and hooks.
If you were to walk around my house and start taking my wall decor off of the walls, you’d find that about 95% of it is hanging up with Command strips. Specifically, the Command Velcro (hook and loop system) strips that are made for picture frames. I also have a few Command hooks here and there throughout the house.
Sure you could hang your picture up with nails, but if there’s a Command strip that will do the trick – I always use that before putting nail holes in my wall.
The Command products are seriously my best friend when it comes it decorating my walls. No, this blog post isn’t sponsored by Command or anything like that. I’m just a really big fan of those little adhesive strip miracles.
This tutorial for how to remove Command strips contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.
Command Products Overview
If you’re not familiar with what they are, here’s a quick Command product overview.
Command, owned by 3M, is a brand of adhesive hooks and strips that you can use on your walls and they can be removed damage free. They seriously will stay in place for years, so the strips can be used for temporary or permanent hanging solutions.
What started as simply sticky strips on the back of plastic hooks in the mid-90s, has now expanded into an entire diverse product line.
The Command systems now include products for:
- Heavyweight items (yes you can totally hang heavy pictures without making a bunch of holes in your wall, woohoo)
- Adjustables (repositionable up to 3 times within the first 20 minutes without losing any holding power. This is one of their new products and I haven’t had a chance to try them yet!)
- Organizing and Decorating (hooks of all sizes, grippers, light clips, baskets, caddies, and more – all hanging with the adhesive strength of Command)
- Picture Hanging (Velcro with adhesive on backs)
- Decorative (ledge shelves, mirrors, key racks, and decorative hooks with the strips built right into the decor)
- Metallic (hooks that look like metal for a more polished look that doesn’t look like plastic)
- Outdoor (to withstand even cold and hot temperatures from -20 to 125 degrees)
- Bathroom (Ok for humid environments…yes, even inside the shower)
Now maybe you’ll understand why I seriously love these products! They are super versatile and have basically a product for every type of hanging need! The adhesive part of the strip will stick to so many different kinds of smooth surfaces – painted, stained, or varnished wood, glass, tile, painted cinder block, metal, and painted wall surfaces.
Pretty much the only thing they WON’T stick to is a really rough surface, like fabric, unpainted brick, heavily textured walls, or unfinished and unsanded wood.
Whether you’re a renter that can’t put any holes in your landlord’s walls or you’re just a regular ol’ gal trying to not make too many holes in your walls that need to be patched as you decorate and redecorate – you’ll probably be able to use the 3 M Command strips.
How To Remove Command Strips
When it comes time to move on from your old wall decorations (or move out of your house or paint the walls in your room), you’ll need to remove Command strips. Luckily, it is super easy.
Depending on whether you’re using a Command hook vs a picture hanging velcro strip, step 1 will be different. The rest of the steps are the same!
Step 1 (for Command picture hanging strips):
Start by removing the hanging object from the wall. You want to grab from the bottom corners of the frame with both hands and peel the frame off of the wall at an angle.
Step 1 (for Command hooks):
I like to start by first removing the Command hook by pushing up slightly and then out. This will unhook it from the plastic mounting base on the back. Keep in mind that there are some Command hooks that are just 1 piece and don’t have a separate mounting base. So in those cases, just move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Pull down on the pull tab slowly
Grab the little rounded pull tab on the bottom of the strip and pull down slowly, stretching it as you go. Never pull the removal tab straight away from the wall surface and never pull too hard or too fast.
The key to removing Command strips without damaging your paint on the walls is to pull them DOWN. Most people that deal with damage from removing Command strips make the mistake of pulling out or up, instead of down.
Pulling the strip off the wall in an upward movement will most likely lead to damaging the top paint layer on your walls, which would be a major bummer. So say it with me, friends…PULL. DOWN.
The sticky strip will stretch as you pull, which means it is working. You may need to pull it as far as 12 to 15 inches, but just keep going.
You may want to hold your other hand over the top of the strip, so it doesn’t pull off too quickly and hit your fingers, which can kind of hurt (don’t ask me how I know!).
What about when the Command strips break (if you pull too hard)?
Sometimes when you’re pulling the Command strip off of the surface, it can break if you pull too hard or too fast. When it breaks, you’ll lose that little pull tab, which can make it difficult to remove from the wall.
No worries if that happens! That is one of the most common mistakes so you’re in good company! You’ll want to grab some dental floss from your bathroom (or fishing line) and hold it flat under the surface of the adhesive strip (between the strip and the wall). Gently move the piece of dental floss back and forth in a sawing motion.
If that doesn’t seem to be working, try using a blow dryer (or heat gun) on the strip first to soften it, and then try again. The heat from the hair dryer will loosen the adhesive and make it more flexible.
What sort of things can I use Command strips for?
- Hanging lightweight frames and photographs
- Mounting decorative items, such as mirrors or wall art (like this wall planter or vintage window or cork boards)
- Hanging a mirror on a tile wall (we totally hung the wooden vanity mirrors in our kid’s bathroom up with Command hooks and they are holding strong 4+ years later)
- Securing cables and cords to keep them neat and tidy
- Organizing cleaning supplies with broom grippers and hooks
- Hanging wooden letters on wall
- Creating a gallery wall
- Hanging clipboards on the wall
- Keeping leaning frames secured on a ledge shelf
- Hanging temporary party decorations, like banners or streamers
- Mounting small shelves or hooks for organizing spaces
- Hanging coat hooks and key holder in small entryway
- Hanging jewelry in closet
- Hanging lightweight holiday decorations, such as wreaths or stockings (like we did for this advent calendar, cotton ball garland, paper bag snowflakes, or natural Christmas ornaments)
- Hanging a wreath on a windowed front door (I use these ones on the front of our French doors)
- Securing small electronics or gadgets in place, like remote controls or speakers
- Attaching small organizers or storage solutions to walls or cabinets
- Holding curtain rods with hooks – they even make a special hook made just for this!
- Holding towel and robe hooks on the wall (use heavy duty)
- Adding organization to shower to hold shampoo bottles and more (use bathroom ones)
Command Strip FAQs
The weight limit for each strip and hook is different and will be labeled on the package. There are options as small as 1 pound and all the way up to 20 pounds for heavier-duty products.
Using Command strips is easy! Start by cleaning the surface on the wall with a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove any dust or grime. Remove the paper backing from the strip and press it into place on your wall hard with both hands for at least 30 seconds. Wait one hour before hanging anything on the strip or hook.
Of course, be sure to reference the instructions on your package because they may be different.
If you recently painted your walls, you definitely need to wait until the paint fully cures – not just dries. Check your paint can to see what the curing time is, but a good rule of thumb is not to use any Command strips for the first seven days after painting.
When you add the Command strip to the wall, the instructions say to wait 1 hour before adding weight to the hook. During this hour, the adhesive forces are being strengthened so it is recommended to follow instructions and wait the full hour for best results.
The adhesive side of the Command strips will stick to most surfaces, including painted walls, stained/painted/varnished wood, tile, glass, metal, painted cinder blocks, and more.
They don’t work well on rough surfaces, like fabric, brick, or rough wood. They are also not recommended on wallpaper because they could damage the paper when removed.
Yes! But be sure to use the Command strips and hooks that are made especially for the high humidity in bathrooms. You can even put them inside the shower! Amazing, right?
Yes! But make sure you are using the outdoor Command products, which are made to last in high and low temperatures and are weather resistant. They will work from -20 to 125 degrees.
Command strips will usually for years, so generally they last as long as you need them! I’ve run into a couple of rare instances where they stopped working after several years, but it was pretty simple to replace. In both instances where the strip stopped working, I had cut them down to a smaller size to accommodate what I was hanging, so I’m sure that has something to do with it!
If you don’t follow the instructions for removing Command strips properly, you may be dealing with some unfortunate damage on your walls or peeled paint.
To avoid this, be sure to pull on the pull tab down (NOT out or up) and pull it slowly. That is the best way to ensure the Command strip won’t damage your wall when removing it.
You’ll find them at most hardware stores (like The Home Depot and Lowe’s), craft stores (like JoAnn and Michaels), grocery stores (like Walmart), and online on Amazon.
The Dollar Store also sells its own brand of adhesive strip items, but I’m a brand snob when it comes to Command strips and I’m too scared to try a cheaper version and have it end up damaging my walls.
From organization projects like spice racks or bathroom cabinet systems to your very own gallery wall – there are so many uses for Command adhesives! They are seriously a home decorator’s best friend!
By learning how to remove Command strips the right way, you’ll be ready to decorate and redecorate to your heart’s content without worrying about filling all the nail holes in your wall!
- Dental floss (if needed)
- Hair dryer (if needed)
- For Command Picture Hanging Strips: Start by removing the hanging object from the wall. You want to grab from the bottom corners of the frame with both hands and peel the frame off of the wall at an angle.
- For Command Hooks: Start by first removing the Command hook by pushing up slightly and then out. This will unhook it from the plastic mounting base on the back.
- Pull down on the pull tap at the bottom of the strips slowly, stretching as you go. Be sure to pull DOWN, not out! Use your other hand over the top of the strip so it doesn't pull off too quickly and hit your fingers.
- If it breaks (if you pull too hard or fast), hold dental floss under the surface of the adhesive strip and move back and forth in a sawing motion. If that doesn't work a blow dryer can be used on the strip first to soften it, then try again.
By learning how to remove Command strips the right way, you'll be ready to decorate and redecorate to your heart's content without worrying about filling all the nail holes in your wall!