Unilever logo

How to Remove Glue From Clothes

Did the little ones get a bit messy with their arts and crafts? If you’re wondering about how to remove glue from clothes, this how-to guide can show you!



If you’ve got little ones at home, they probably use water-based glue for their art projects at school. This type of glue is usually safe and non-toxic, but it’s known to be rather runny, so it has a tendency to spill on things. It’s not just kids – even adults find it hard not to spill it. If your child spilled glue all over their school uniform, don’t panic. We’re going to tell you how to remove glue from clothes and fabric – it’s super simple!

It’s important to make sure that you got rid of the stain completely before letting the garment dry. Try removing the stain using OMO Detergent. If possible, try to dry your clothes naturally, because dryers can set glue stains even further, making them even more difficult to remove.

How to Remove Glue from Fabric: Water-Based Glue

  1. Dry & Scrub

  2. Cold Water Soak

  3. Laundry Detergent

  4. Wash as Normal

Your first instinct might be to try and remove it before it dries, but it’s better to wait until it’s dry and transparent. If you rub it while it’s wet, you’ll just spread the sticky residue – which is the last thing you need. Instead, using a blunt object such as a stiff-bristled brush, scrape off anything you can. Even if you can’t remove all the glue, you should be able to remove most of the top layers. Most probably, the only glue remaining will be what’s attached to the fabric.

If the stain is still visible, try soaking the fabric in cold water. Because the glue is water-based, the flushing technique can work (using water to flush out the sticky residue). It’s very important to use cold water, as warm water can set the glue and make things worse. Leave it soaked overnight, making sure it is completely submerged. By the time you wake up, the glue should be soft enough to remove.

When you remove the garment from the cold water, apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent immediately. A good option is try a product specially designed to be used as a pre-treatment, like OMO Liquid. Regardless of the product you use, remember to make sure that it is compatible with your fabric and that you’re using it according to the instructions on the care label. When removing glue from clothes, gently massage the detergent into the glue to make sure it penetrates the fabric properly.

The next step is to pop the clothes into the washing machine, preferably on a warm setting rather than a hot one – we recommend keeping it at 30 degrees. Add your laundry detergent, and your clothes will be good to go!

Removing Super Glue from Clothes

If you want to know how to remove super glue from clothes, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s slightly different since it isn’t water-based. Water alone won’t do it, so you’ll need something stronger – but be careful with delicate fabrics as they might damage easily. Check the care label on your garment for washing guidelines before attempting to remove the super glue. If you have any doubt that your garment might get damaged, ask a professional dry cleaner first.

  1. Dry & Scrub

  2. Use Acetone

  3. Wash as Normal

Like regular glue, you need to let super glue dry before attempting to remove it. You can try scraping and scrubbing, but it might be harder to manage compared to water-based glue. Remember not to scrub delicate fabrics excessively so they don’t get worn out. If you find that removing super glue from clothes by scraping doesn’t work, move on to the next step.

If you’re torn on how to remove super glue from clothes, the magic word is acetone. Acetone, which can be found in most nail polish removers, is one of the few chemicals that can eat its way through super glue, making removing super glue from clothes a lot easier. Acetone can even remove super glue from skin, which is a helpful hint in case you accidentally spill it on your hand. Apply some acetone (nail polish remover) on a piece of cotton and gently wipe the stain. This process takes time because the acetone can only remove one layer of glue at a time, so you’ll have to be patient. The only downside is that acetone may be harmful to delicate fabrics, potentially causing discolouration, so it’s important to be careful when dealing with acetone – if you find that it’s affecting or damaging the fabric, stop immediately and consult a dry cleaner.

The final stage of removing any type of stain should be a cycle in the washing machine with a quality laundry detergent like OMO Liquid (or dry cleaning, if the garment is dry-clean-only). This will ensure that any remaining residue will be removed and you’ll be left with fresh, clean clothes. It’s always a good idea to check that the stain is gone one more time before drying so that it doesn’t set. If you see any remaining glue, just pop it back into the washing machine.

Now that you know how to remove super glue from clothes, it won’t be a big deal and you’ll be able to let the little ones to carry on with their creative projects carefree!

Safety Warning

Acetone should be kept away from children and pets.

  • Allow the glue to dry completely before attempting to remove.
  • Scrape and scrub off as many layers of glue as possible, being careful on delicate fabrics.
  • Soak in cold water overnight.
  • In the morning, remove the garment from the water and massage some liquid laundry detergent into the stain.
  • Place the garment in the washing machine and wash as normal using a warm setting.
  • Remember to check the care label on any garment before attempting to remove a stain.
  • Originally published