Stamps can be pretty expensive and I sometimes accidentally stick them in the wrong place on a letter I wish to send, and they're not the easiest things to remove so I figure there must be a way to remove them easily and without damaging them.

Does anyone know any effective ways to remove stamps already stuck to envelopes?

I would want the stamp to be able to be reapplied to a new letter and hence stop me from having to buy new stamps which would set me back a couple of quid.

I have already tried simply pulling the stamps of carefully but I always end up tearing it or making it unusable so it's no good!

  • Do you often get letters without a postmark obscuring the stamp? Once the postmark has been applied (I just learned that technically, the part that covers the stamp is called the "killer"), the stamp can't be reused.
    – octern
    Mar 9, 2015 at 2:51
  • Well sometimes they come with the postmark and sometimes they make it through unharmed!
    – MrPhooky
    Mar 9, 2015 at 9:57
  • This is a good question also for those instances when you get a pre-stamped envelope inside of some junk mail any have no desire to respond to the promotional offer. This is admittedly seen less and less these days when return envelopes are typically pre-printed with bulk mailing permits but once in a while one with a good old fashioned stamp shows up. Mar 10, 2015 at 16:01
  • 3
    Reusing a stamp which has already been used to mail a letter is illegal, and even a stamp without a visible postmark may have an invisible mark so that the post office can catch you doing this. So even if you find a viable method, you should only use it if you've somehow ruined an envelope after applying a stamp but before mailing the letter.
    – Random832
    Mar 11, 2015 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


Cut the envelope around the stamp and then apply some liquid (water, adhesive remover or other) on the back of the envelope where the stamp is attached. let it soak for several seconds to make the adhesive dissolve a little and you will be able do remove the stamp easier without damaging it.

As liquid for soaking the paper some people use:

  • Adhesive remover - Heptane
  • Water - the simplest solution. Warm water works better
  • A pen with lubricant, for example "WD-40 no mess pen"

If you don't mind getting the stamp wet, then simply put it in water for several seconds and the paper envelope will separate from the stamp very easily. After that let the stamp dry and you are ready. You can dry it by putting it on kitchen paper with the sticky part upwards - to avoid it sticking to the paper.

You can also put the stamp on transparent plastic film and let it dry on that. It will stick on it and you can cut the plastic film next to the stamp edges. Thus way you will not have problems with the sticky back of the stamp and can examine the front and the back of the stamp easily.

Another way to remove its stickiness is to put it in talc which will cover the back of the stamp.

Actually you can't use stamps for second time as they apply ink on it in the post office.

  • I am aware that they usually apply the ink on the stamps during sorting, however sometimes they'll make it through unscathed, so this is when I'll look to get the stamps back.
    – MrPhooky
    Mar 9, 2015 at 10:03

Soak the bit of the letter with the postage stamp on it in water. After about half an hour, it will peel off easily (outside of water).

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