How to Remove Security Tag from Clothing

Most shoplifters are caught because of the security tags on the stolen items. However, sometimes too, the cashier forgets to remove the security tag from the clothing you have purchased and you are made to take it home. 

If you have purchased an item and brought it home only to realize that the cashier forgot to remove the security tag, you can get a security tag off your clothes without taking a trip all the way back to the store. 

In this article, you would learn the most efficient ways to remove security tags from clothing with ease. 

What is a Security Tag from Clothing?

A security tag is a small transmitter that is put on the merchandise that you want to protect. When triggered, the transmitter generates a signal to the EAS antennas. 

Security tags are mostly used to help retail stores cut down on shoplifting losses. Attaching a tag to the store’s merchandise typically is more efficient than hiring additional employees to watch your customers as they shop. 

The sight of a security tag on an item also can make a potential thief think twice before taking it, unlike looking for a way to manoeuver the security guard standing in check. 

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Types of Security Tags

There are various types of security tags, and you need to figure out which type of security tag you have to effectively remove the security tag from clothing. The major security tags are- 

RFID tags 

These tags clip a radio-frequency identification chip directly onto them. When the chip crosses the detection sensor, an alarm is triggered to alert store employees to the theft. 

These tags are available in many forms, such as gator, clamshell and golf ball. In these styles, the two sides of the tag interlock with each other to make it difficult for thieves to remove. Each type of interlocking clip may require its own special opening tool. In contrast, strip tags have an adhesive backing that sticks to a piece of merchandise. 

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Ink tags

Ink tags are geared toward preventing shoplifting instead of triggering an alarm when a theft does occur. 

They typically are used on clothing items that would be ruined if stained with ink. When the tag is removed without the benefit of the tool the store cashier uses, a vial inside bursts and spills ink onto the item. 

The ink vials can be combined with standard RFID chips to provide an added level of protection. However, smaller stores often use ink tags alone to save on the cost of installing a detection system. 

Specialty tags

Certain types of speciality merchandise require their own customized security tag solution. For example, liquor bottle tags attach to the cap and set off an alarm when the cap is twisted open. 

Eyeglass security tags attached to the frame, usually at the temples or near the end of the earpieces. 

The thin design of the tags allows them to stick onto the glasses without interfering with a customer’s ability to try them on. Shackle tags can be used to secure the handles of briefcases and purses.

How do I Remove a Security Tag from Clothing?

There are several ways you can remove a security tag from clothing. They are highlighted below: 

1. Using rubber bands

This method is mostly used with ink tags. The steps to take are:

  • Place the ink cartridge of the tag face-down. The ink cartridge is the part of the tag that juts out of the plastic. It is on the opposite side of the pin, which is the round part of the tag.
  • Pull the part of the clothing with the tag away from the rest of the clothing. Move it as far away as possible so the ink doesn’t ruin the clothing as much if the sensor cracks.
  • Slip a rubber band around the pin of the security tag. The rubber band should be large and thick enough to be strong, but thin enough to fit around the pin. This will loosen the pin.
  • Hold the larger part of the ink tag with one hand.
  • Pull the pin off with the other hand. The pressure of the pins should be strong enough so that the pin eventually pops off or easily pulls apart from the rest of the tag.

If the rubber band didn’t loosen it enough, try again with multiple rubber bands.

2. Using a screwdriver

You can also remove a security tag from clothing using a screwdriver. The steps to take are-

  • Place the item of clothing on the floor with the ink cartridge facing up.
  • Take a very thin flathead screwdriver and place it along the edge of the raised square pyramid.
  • Press down hard. This should pierce the plastic and pull it up.
  • Continue to pop up the perimeter of the plastic.
  • Remove the silver paper lining. You’ll be able to see the metal plate below it.
  • Use the screwdriver to lift one of the metal arms that hold the pin in place.
  • Slide the pin away from the tag. 
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The pin should easily slide through the now-free hole and the tag should be removed.

3. Using a magnet

A security tag from clothing can also be removed using a magnet. The steps to take are: 

  • Find a high-powered magnet. You can use a hard drive magnet or a rare earth magnet since most tags are deactivated in stores with electromagnetic devices.
  • Place the dome side of the tag against the magnet.
  • Pull the magnet away from the tag. The two parts of the tag should separate. 

If they don’t separate on their own, apply a little force. For instance, if you’re using a security tag that has a pin on the back, you may need to simply pull the pinout. 

4. Freezing the tag

You can freeze the tag on your clothing to remove it. The steps you can take to do this are: 

  • Freeze the garment with the ink tag. Freeze the garment overnight for best results.
  • Rip open the tag. You can just use your hands, pliers, or the rubber band method. 
  • This will ensure that the ink won’t spill everywhere if you make a mistake ink can’t spill if it’s frozen.

5. Hitting the tag

A tag is not always so strong; you can easily apply a lot of force to the security tag to remove it from your clothing. The steps you can take are: 

  • Gently pull the tag away from the clothing a few times. Do this ten or so times, until it loosens the pin a bit.
  • Find a large nail. The nail should be bigger than the tag, and the head of the nail should be at least as wide as a penny.
  • Pull the tag away from the clothing. Hold the long plastic part of the tag to the side.
  • Hit down on the ink cartridge until it pops open. the applying too much force, repeatedly strike down on the ink cartridge until it pops open. You may have to hit it twenty or more times to get it right. 

Note: Be careful not to hit it too hard, or the tag will be more likely to burst open.

6. Using needle-nose pliers

You can use needle-nose pliers to remove security tags from clothing. The steps to take are:

  • Hold the security tag with the ink cartridge side up
  • Grip one of the sides of the rectangular tag with a pair of pliers
  • Grip the other side of the tag with a different pair of pliers.
  • Gently bend each side of the tag down using the pliers. Don’t bend too hard or the tag will crack in half and spill ink everywhere.
  • Keep bending until it pops open. This should loosen the pin and make it pop off.

7. Using brute force for electro-magnet tags

Using brute force can make you remove security tags from clothing. Once you can break open the tag, you would see it contains an electro-magnet, not an ink pouch. To do that, the steps you need to take are:

  • Put something between the tag and the head of the pin to give it some slack.
  • Bend the pin back and forth until it breaks.
  • Pull the tag straight back so the pin exits the hole it originally went through.
  • Break open the tag.
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8. Burning the tag

A security tag is a plastic and as such, burning it would most likely get it off your clothing. You should be careful when burning the tag so you don’t burn your clothing in the process. 

The only disadvantage of this method is that you may leave burn marks on where the security tag was. Either way, the security tag would be removed from your clothing. The steps you should take are:

  • Burn the dome-like portion of the tag with a lighter. After burning it for a few seconds, it will, most likely, catch fire as it’s plastic.
  • Use a knife or similar object to chop the dome.
  • As you keep scooping in, you will find a spring and the tag will pretty much pop out.


Removing a security tag from your clothing, depending on the step you decide to take, would take between a few hours to a few days. 

Just pick any of the guides above and start on the steps to efficiently remove security tags from your clothing. 


What kind of magnet do I need to remove a security tag?

Use a high-powered magnet, such as a hard drive magnet. Place the magnet on a flat surface and lay the tag on top of it with the ink dome or cartridge facing down.

Can I remove the tag by cutting the wire?

You may be able to cut the wire if you can get a wire cutter between the 2 halves of the tag, but these pins are thick and may be difficult to cut.

Do these tags set off the alarms at the door?

Quite often, yes, they are designed to set off an alarm, but this isn’t the case in every store.

What type of clothing should these methods be used on?

The ink is usually black or ink-pen blue, so really this should be used on dark garments. If it is light or white, take the time to go to the store and have it removed there.

How do I remove the tag still in the shop?

You don’t. Buy it and the nice people at the counter will do it for no extra charge.

If I try to remove the security tag with my hands, is there a chance that the fabric will rip at that spot?

Yes. There is a chance unless you are very careful.

If the ink spills on the clothes, how do I get it out?

You really can’t. Also, if it is wet, be careful not to touch it, it can irritate the skin.



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