Regardless of which brand I buy or where I buy it from, the electrical tapes always get sticky over time. As I use them on USB cables and my earphone cables, it irritates me because it is a "high-touch" point. Is there any alternative that won't get sticky, won't leave residue, and have electrical insulating properties? Please don't suggest Sugru - I used it on my earphones and the seal lasted less than 1 month on my earphones (where the flex is).

OR, is there any out-of-the-box treatment to prevent stickiness on electrical tape?


3 Answers 3


Heat-shrink tubing is effective and long-lasting. There is no adhesive to smear. The tubing can also be used over a tape wrap, which can be helpful if large-diameter tubing is needed to slip over a connector.

Apply heat gently so as not to melt cable insulation.

  • 1
    You can heat this with a decent hair-dryer, if you don't have a heat gun. Other options are to heat it using a fire in a fireplace, or using a stove (my gas stove works pretty good for my tubes)
    – user13835
    Oct 29, 2017 at 8:01
  • 1
    @DaMaxContent Holding it above a single match or a candle does the trick without problem, actually. That's what I use when soldering stuff. Just keep the tube out of the flame itself as smut may stick on it.
    – Neinstein
    Nov 1, 2017 at 23:02
  • but I have to use the appropriate size. I can't use it on my earphones because the tips are too big and that's the only way the tube can pass through. Nov 8, 2017 at 10:18
  • That's why I stated "tubing can also be used over a tape wrap, which can be helpful if large-diameter tubing is needed to slip over a connector." Nov 8, 2017 at 21:09
  • Could you advise where I can find heat shrink tubes large enough to fit over headphones? Nov 8, 2017 at 23:43

Gaffer tape, the higher quality tier stuff, provided it is not exposed to UV light for a long time.

Gaffer tape is literally for that purpose. Gaffers are lighting electricians who work in film and video. When they shoot in a CEO's office, they put camera lights all over, fed by cables, taped to the walls, furniture and carpets. And when they're done, they remove the tape and it comes off clean. That is what gaffer tape does.

Electrical tape is not for that purpose (binding multiple cables, especially not on the public side of the junction box cover). If you must buy electrical tape, buy the better tier 3M brand, which is the Sony/Stihl/Apple of almost any kind of flat pregummed adhesive. But electrical tape is wrong for this application.

Have you considered Velcro cable ties? While you're at the cinema supply getting gaffer's tape, take a look at Rip-Tie, being the Cadillac.


I have also found that electrical tape does not work well on USB cables and headphones. Heat shrink tubing is great for that sort of thing. You can also try using liquid electrical tape which you brush on and it dries into a flexible rubber-like material.

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