Band-aid adhesive sticks to the skin so well that it’s sometimes a challenge to remove. The residue can collect dirt and seems to become stickier and less willing to come off if it’s been there for a few days. Oftentimes, a gentle application of warm water and mild soap will get rid off the majority of remaining adhesive; however, if some stubbornly stays behind, there are other skin-safe removal options.
Saturate a washcloth with warm water. Ring it out so it’s damp, not dripping. Apply the wet cloth to the area with the adhesive residue. Soak the area thoroughly but don’t rub it, as the washcloth might irritate the skin around the injury.
Lather up mild soap and water and apply it to the residue with your fingertips. Gently rub the lather over the residue by moving your fingers in circles for about a minute. Resaturate the washcloth with warm water and gently wipe away the soap. Usually, this will get rid of most remaining band-aid adhesive.
Apply a baby-oil-soaked cotton ball directly to the residue, for stubborn residue or for wound areas that shouldn’t be soaked with water. Move the cotton ball in a circular motion over the adhesive. Be careful to keep the oil away from an open or not fully healed wound; healed wounds aren’t adversely affected by baby oil.
Gently scrape away any remaining adhesive with your fingernails. After mild soap and warm water or baby oil treatment, any persistent residue should be loose enough to be lifted away with your fingertips.
Another way to remove adhesive residue is to buy adhesive remover wipes, which are available at most drugstores. Wipes are especially handy if you need to keep the wound area dry and don’t like the idea of putting oil near the injury.
If removing a bandage from a wound that doesn’t need to be kept dry, you can soak it with alcohol. The alcohol will dissolve the bandage’s adhesive completely. Afterward, rinse the area thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Based just outside Chicago, Meg Campbell has worked in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s been writing health-related articles since 2010, focusing primarily on diet and nutrition. Campbell divides her time between her hometown and Buenos Aires, Argentina.