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How to Remove Glue & Superglue from Clothes

Arts and crafts get a little messy? Glue is easy enough to get out of clothing when you follow this how-to! Read on to remove glue for good!


Reading Time: 5 minutes


If you’ve got kids, chances are they’ll be using a water-based glue in school to complete art projects and so on. This commonly used white glue is typically very safe and non-toxic. However, it is quite runny, and does have a tendency to get everywhere – kids spill it on themselves, dip their elbows in it, and even sit in puddles of it, leaving a nice sticky stain on the back of their trousers. Even adults can struggle to avoid a spill. Whether you have kids with stained clothing, or your own craft projects have left you with an undesirable stain, this article explaining how to remove super glue and water-based glue is for you. It’s very simple!

Removing glue stains is actually very simple – but it’s important to make sure you’ve gotten rid of the entire stain before allowing your garment to dry. Try using Omo Ultimate Liquid Detergent in the wash – its powerful formula means it can lift even dried-in 48-hour stains! Whenever possible, dry your clothes naturally: tumble dryers and radiators can help set glue stains further into the fabric.

How to Remove Glue from Fabric: Water-Based Glue

  1. Dry & Scrub

  2. Cold Water Soak

  3. Laundry Detergent

  4. Wash as Normal

Firstly, allow the glue to dry completely (it will go clear when it’s dried), and then use either a stiff-bristled brush or a blunt object like the end of a spoon to scrape off anything you can. You won’t get all the glue off, but you should be able to remove most of the top layers, leaving just the glue that’s attached itself to the fabric. It’s very important you do leave the glue to dry, as scrubbing at it whilst it is wet can just spread the sticky residue.

If there is a still a stain visible, you can try to soak it in cold water. As this type of glue is water-based, it responds very well to the flushing technique – just use water to flush out the sticky substance. Cover it in cold water (warm water can set the glue, making it more challenging to remove), and leave it completely submerged overnight. This should soften the glue enough to make it simple to remove the following day.

Remove the clothing from the cold water, and immediately apply a small amount of neat liquid laundry detergent. It’s best to use a product that has been specially designed to use as a pre-treatment – try Omo Liquid. No matter what product you use, check the label to ensure that it is compatible with your fabric and that you are using it properly. Work the detergent into the remaining glue, gently massaging it to make sure it penetrates deep into the fabric.

Now all you need to do is pop the clothing into the washing machine, preferably on a warm rather than hot setting (30 degrees is about right), and add your laundry detergent. You’ll have clean, non-sticky clothing in a jiffy.

Removing Super Glue from Clothes

If you want to know how to remove superglue from clothes, it’s important to note that the process is slightly different, as the product isn’t water-based. This means that flushing the spill with water isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you’ll need something a little stronger – but take particular care with delicate fabrics. Before attempting to remove super glue, remember to check the care label on your garment for washing guidelines ­– if in doubt over whether it’s safe to attempt yourself or not, consult a professional dry cleaner first.

Safety Warning

Keep acetone away from children

how to wash white clothes
  1. Dry & Scrub

  2. Use Acetone

  3. Wash as Normal

Once again, before removing super glue, you’ll want to let it dry. You can then try giving it a little bit of a scrub or scrape, although don’t expect to remove as much as you would when dealing with water-based glue. Don’t scrub delicate fabrics too much – if none of the glue is coming off, move onto the next step rather than wearing out the fabric with friction.

Acetone – found in some nail polish removers – is one of the only chemicals that can eat its way through super glue. It’s effective on fabrics, and has even been used to successfully remove super glue from skin, which is a handy hint if you ever find you’ve accidentally glued your fingers together. Apply the nail polish remover to a piece of cotton wool, and gently wipe your stain. This isn’t a quick process, as the acetone will only remove one layer of the glue at a time, so you’ll need to keep going. The downside of acetone is that it can be harmful to fabric, meaning some delicate materials may be discoloured. Always take care when dealing with acetone – test on an inside seam first! If the acetone does affect the fabric, stop immediately, and consider dry cleaning.

The final stage of removing any stain should always be a cycle in the washing machine with a good quality laundry detergent such as Omo Liquid (or dry cleaning for dry-clean-only fabrics), as this will ensure that any remaining residue is removed, leaving you with fresh and clean clothing. It’s always a good idea to check the stain has been removed before drying – if any glue remains, just pop it back in the washing machine.

Now you know how to remove super glue from clothes with the correct method, it’ll no longer be an ordeal, and likewise, water-based glues will become incredibly simple to shift. So the next time the kids come home with glue covered clothes, just give these tips a try.

  • Allow the glue to dry completely.

  • Scrape off as many layers of the glue as possible.

  • Soak in cold water overnight.

  • Remove from the water and massage liquid laundry detergent into the stain.

  • Place in the washing machine as normal and wash on a warm setting.

Originally published