How to remove super glue

If you've spilt super glue on your clothes or carpet, don't worry! It can be removed with these useful tips on how to remove super glue.

Updated 24 June 2019

How to remove super glue from clothes, wood  , fabric

Need to remove superglue? It can be a very sticky situation! This article will describe some strategies you can use to remove superglue from different surfaces and materials.

Whether it happens when you’re doing odd jobs around the house, or when you’re helping your kids with their latest school project, the chances are that at some point, superglue will end up somewhere it shouldn’t be. The following guide provides essential advice on removing super glue from various household surfaces safely.

In all the cases below, you may wish to purchase superglue remover instead, in which case it is vital that you check which surfaces it can be used upon and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, the guides below explain how to remove super glue from fabric, wood, glass, metal, and plastic below with alternatives:

When removing super glue from fabric, it’s important to launder it on a cool cycle: heat will set the glue stain, making it even more difficult to get rid of.

Removing Super Glue from Fabric

  1. Should you spill superglue onto fabric, the first thing to remember is not to panic. Don’t immediately start trying to remove the glue, as there is a good chance that you may inadvertently spread it, causing more damage. Allow it to dry first, so that you can then concentrate on a contained area.
  2. Once dry, you can begin working to remove the super glue using a clean cloth or a cotton bud dipped in acetone-based nail polish remover; acetone contains the properties that will combat the glue. Remember to test any cleaning product in a small area first.
  3. After you’ve treated the affected area, use a dry cloth or a toothbrush to rub the loosened glue off. This process can be repeated as many times as is necessary. If the glue remains stubborn to shift, an emery board or a fine piece of sandpaper could be used – but great care needs to be taken to treat just the glue, and not to ruin the fabric itself in the process.
  4. Once the glue has been removed, rub a drop of liquid laundry detergent (we like Persil Small&Mighty) directly onto the stain, and then wash according to the instructions on the garment label.
  5. If the stain remains after the wash, don’t put the fabric in the dryer – this will set the stain. At this stage, it is best to seek professional advice.

Remember: If you want to try removing super glue with acetone, it’s a good idea to test it on a small area first in case it damages or discolours the fabric. 

Removing Super Glue from Wood

Wood-based surfaces commonly suffer superglue spillages in DIY accidents. In these cases, acetone-based products are again ideal to remove super glue.

  1. Use masking tape to isolate the affected area.
  2. Take an acetone-dampened cloth or swab and apply it to the glue. Remember to test this product on a small area first. Try to avoid contact with the wood itself, which is liable to stain. You should then be able to wipe away the glue.
  3. If any superglue remains, use fine sandpaper to file it away.

How to Remove Super Glue from Glass or Metal

Acetone works best in these situations too:

  1. Use a cloth or cotton bud dipped in the acetone, blotting the glue until it begins to soften (blotting, rather than wiping, keeps the glue localised).
  2. Use a clean cloth to wipe the loosened glue away.
  3. Wipe the area clean with a cloth dipped in clean water, and then dry.

How to Remove Super Glue from Plastic

Plastic surfaces are more problematic, as acetone can ruin the plastic. In these cases:

  1. Make a solution of soap and water and saturate a cloth or paper towel with it.
  2. Lay the cloth on the glue and leave it to set for several hours. The cloth must be kept moist.
  3. This should soften the glue enough that a clean cloth can then be used to blot the glue away.
  4. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth, and then dry.

For more tips on how to remove glue from surfaces, check out this article on glue removal.

Disaster averted: your belongings should now be super glue free!

Originally published 19 July 2018