It may seem like a small thing, but using Teflon tape when replacing or repairing parts in a shower can reduce the overall time and effort needed to complete the job. The best way to remove Teflon tape, also called plumber's tape, is with a few simple tools and common household cleaners. The process doesn't take very long and saves a lot of effort and possible repair issues down the road.
Tools to Remove Teflon Tape
It's easier to put Teflon tape on the pipe connection than it is to take it off. When removing Teflon tape, gently peel it back rather than ripping it off in a rush. This method will ensure that much of the sticky residue remains on the tape and lifts from the piping or fixture. Once the tape is removed, use a wire brush, an old toothbrush and a clean cloth to remove stubborn bits of sticky tape.
Simple Teflon Tape Removal
Even after you've removed all of the Teflon tape you can find, cleaning taped shower parts ensures that the new fixture or repair will fit snugly and not cause a problem later on. Gently peel back the Teflon.
After lifting as much of the Teflon tape as possible, use a wire brush to thoroughly scrub out any sticky residue within the pipe threads' narrow ridges. Be gentle so as not to inflict any damage on the pipe connection, which can lead to a bad fit with the new fixture and possible water leakage. Start with enough pressure to lift the tape from the piping surface and ease the pressure as the tape lifts away.
Soak a clean cloth in hot water and wrap it around the end of the pipe. Work it into the threads of the connection and gently twist it back and forth. Use a dry cloth to remove any remaining residue and moisture. Finally, to ensure the pipe is ready for a good fit, run an old toothbrush around the pipe's rim fitting to gently take down the last bits of Teflon tape that might remain unseen.
Teflon Tape Makes Good Connections
When replacing a showerhead with a more water-efficient version or repairing faucets and fixtures, don't forgo using Teflon tape after cleaning off the sticky substance from the existing bathroom piping.
Showerheads and other bathroom fixtures require Teflon tape to reinforce the pipe connections' imperfect threaded ends. A small strip of this stretchy tape ensures that water doesn't leak from the connection. Teflon tape is commonly used in bathroom fittings because it's easy to work with and is effective on both metal or plastic piping.
When applying Teflon tape, always make sure the connection is thoroughly cleaned and dry. Wrap the Teflon tape three times around a connection clockwise so that the tape stays snug on the threads. If the tape isn't properly put in place, it can unravel as you screw on the new connection.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.