In the past, I've used duct tape on cables (e.g., Power, LAN). For instance, I taped cables to a wall, I taped cables together for storing etc.

The taping often failed after some time: The taping surface on the cable became covered with an extremely sticky film. This film was always very nasty to remove.

Main question:

  • Is there an alternative adhesive tape that works with cables? It should be strong enough to hold cables to a wall.

I'd also be interested in:

  • Why doesn't duct tape work for cables? Is it the fault of plasticizers?
  • Does the sticky film pose a health risk?

3 Answers 3


To answer your questions:

  1. "Why doesn't duct tape work for cables? Is it the fault of plasticizers? " - No -- it is more likely that exposure to air dries the glue, causing it to eventually lose its tack and become unstuck. This is also the reason that you're often left with sticky residue, as air was unable to penetrate to the underside of the glue.
  2. "Does the sticky film pose a health risk?" - The 3M MSDS does not list any potential health hazards associated with physical contact.
  3. "[...] alternative adhesive tape that works with cables? [...] strong enough to hold cables to a wall." - For simply bundling cables, I like to use the the Velcro cable ties. I do not suggest buying them from general/electronics stores, where a pack of 10 may cost you $5 -- I get mine from Home Depot in the area with the other velcro, which has 2 small rolls of 25 (50 total) for ~$5.
    • Tape will never make for much of a semi-permanent wall mounting solution, as it is almost always intended to be a "temporary" solution.
    • If screws are an option -- I much prefer the use of "Wall Dog" anchor screws (or other anchoring alternative), and eyelet-zip-ties or J-hooks, for securing cables to the wall.
    • If screws are not an option, you might consider the 3m command strips with zip-ties.
  • The 3M command strips are a really clever idea (e.g., i.imgur.com/L6xEArb.jpg)
    – u17
    Jul 10, 2013 at 9:17
  • 1
    Note: If you are keen on the use of tape, an alternative may be to use a tape (sometimes referred to as "tuck tape" or "construction tape" in other countries), but the best name for it in the U.S. is "Tyvek Tape". It resists becoming unstuck when tightly bonded, even after getting wet. Lowes sells a branded version which is cheaper, but both are much more expensive than duct tape. It is used on the interior/exterior of homes to seal the seams of housewrap/XPS insulation/plastic -- it is usually found next to the Tyvek Housewrap products. It may be more likely to peel paint or leave residue.
    – Jacob S
    Jul 10, 2013 at 13:29

Also have run into this issue when I used to manage a couple labs. Duct tape does not hold long to paint+plastic cabling.

We Velcro tie cables at work now and use Velcro stick pads for walls and carpet if needed. Pretty cheap and you can move things and put them back when needed.


Gaffer tape doesn't leave the horrible residue of duct tape and may be strong enough to hold cables to a wall.

In my experience, in every application longer than a few days, duct tape either leaves a sticky residue or a crumbly, dried-adhesive residue, both of which are quite difficult to remove. Because I've seen this on many surfaces, I conclude that the cables themselves are not to blame.

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