Remove a Security Tag from Clothing

It goes without saying: you should never shoplift. However, if you've purchased an item and brought it home only to realize that the cashier forgot to remove the security tag, you can remove it from your clothes without taking a trip all the way back to the store. If you want to know how to remove security tags from clothing using a variety of methods, just follow these easy steps.


Use Rubber Bands

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Hold the larger part of the ink tag with one hand.
  5. 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.

Use a Screwdriver

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

Freeze the Tag

  1. Freeze the garment with the ink tag. Freeze the garment overnight for best results.
  2. 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.

Hit the Tag

  1. Gently pull the tag away from the clothing a few times. Do this ten or so times, until it loosens the pin a bit.
  2. 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.
  3. Pull the tag away from the clothing. Hold the long plastic part of the tag to the side.
  4. Hit down on the ink cartridge until it pops open. Without 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.
    • Be careful not to hit it too hard, or the tag will be more likely to burst open.

Use Needle-Nose Pliers

  1. Hold the security tag with the ink cartridge side up.
  2. Grip one of the sides of the rectangular tag with a pair of pliers.
  3. Grip the other side of the tag with a different pair of pliers.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep bending until it pops open. This should loosen the pin and make it pop off.

Brute Force for Electro-Magnet Tags

Many modern tags actually contain an electro-magnet, not an ink pouch; upon breaking it open, you will see for yourself that there's no ink inside it.

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

Burn the tag

  1. Burn the tag. Using a lighter, burn the dome like portion of the tag. After burning it for few seconds it will, most likely, catch fire as its plastic.
  2. Use a knife or similar object to chop the dome.
  3. As you keep scooping in, you will find a spring and tag will pretty much pop out.


  • Don`t do this before you leave the store
  • This works for the rectangular tabs with the round pin fastener.
  • Sometimes the stores use magnets to remove them, like Kohl's so try to put two magnets on the sides of the pin holding area to take it out. Alternatively place a strong magnet (neodymium) on the raised plastic part and pull the pin out.
  • You can also use the lighter method, place the tag with the point (rectangular tag) facing up melt down the point until the metal is exposed and two flaps that hold the pin in place, bend back the tabs and bingo the security tag is removed.
  • For the ones that are rectangular and have Ink in them, just using a Grinding wheel on the back side, there is a pin inside there that is held with little notches, just to be safe cover the ink side with tape.
  • Take a piece of card stock and cut it with scissors just enough to slide it under the ink part of the alarm that way the ink won't spread all over the garment when you try taking it off.
  • You could also crack it open walnut-style with pliers.
  • Take a power drill. Drill from the opposite female side. This takes a few seconds. Plastic is soft to drill.


  • Watch your hands when using the screwdriver!
  • This method will not work with ink tags; you might want to try putting the garment in the freezer to solidify the ink before attempting.
  • Don't steal.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin, flathead screwdriver.
  • Hammer
  • Both hands (or a friend!)
  • A sharp knife can be used in place of the screwdriver as it is easier to just cut the plastic pyramid off rather then pry it off

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