How to Remove Super Glue: 7 Successful Methods

how to remove super glue

Super glue is a handy, easy-to-use adhesive found in most toolboxes and crafting carts, but it’s also very annoying if you misplace it. This quick-acting concoction has an uncanny knack for adhering to undesirable surfaces like skin, clothes, or wood floors.

If you’ve found yourself in a sticky situation, and want to know how to remove super glue, here are 7 successful methods to help you.

What Is Super Glue?

What Is Super Glue

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Cyanoacrylate glue, better known as “superglue,” is a popular fast-acting adhesive often used for crafts, repairs, and auto-maintenance.

Named for its primary ingredient, the acrylic monomer cyanoacrylate, the glue works after exposure to moisture, causes its acrylic monomers to form tight bonds (a chemical reaction called curing). Curing happens quickly, converting the glue to a plastic state almost instantaneously and therefore connecting different surfaces.

How to Remove Super Glue

Although superglue bonds on undesired items can be unnerving, there’s no need for panic. Acetone, found in most nail polish removers, often successfully breaks down superglue bonds from numerous surfaces. Don’t have acetone at your disposal? There are many easy alternative fixes to superglue accidents using other everyday household items.

1. From Skin

If the glue hasn’t hardened, lather the affected area with warm water and (hand or dish) soap, using proper handwashing techniques. Gently massage a greasy product such as petroleum jelly or vegetable oil into the affected skin for stronger bonds.

If neither of these methods works for your situation, sparingly apply an acetone-based product such as nail polish remover. Once the acetone has broken the bond, carefully wash your hands and use a heavy moisturizer to avoid dry, damaged skin.

2. From Plastic

Either soak the area with vegetable oil or firmly cover it with a damp cloth for a couple of hours. Afterward, dab the area with acetone and wipe the remnants away with a wet cloth. You can substitute diluted vinegar or dish soap for vegetable oil and rubbing alcohol or a de-bonding agent like nitromethane component for acetone.

3. From Metal

Blot the area with acetone, denatured alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to break the bond and wipe away the residue. Alternatively, soak the metal in a 2:1 water and white vinegar mixture for half an hour. Once the glue has loosened, carefully scrape the remanents off with a scraper such as a putty knife.

4. From Glass

Hold an acetone-soaked cloth to the glue for several minutes so that it can soften the adhesive. Once the residue is pliable, use a scraper or sharp edge and slowly remove it. If acetone isn’t accessible, try a mixture of 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp dish soap with a microfiber cloth.

5. From Fabric

For dry-clean or delicate fabrics, seek out a professional dry cleaner. Otherwise, to avoid further damaging your fabric, first conduct a colorfastness test by placing a small amount of acetone or rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area and blot with a paper towel after a few minutes.

If the fabric coloring is unaffected, the solvent should be safe to use. Taking a q-tip, gently wipe away the glue with your solvent, starting at the outer edge of the stain and working inwards, and let it sit for about half an hour before washing the garment as usual.

6. From Wood

Using a cloth soaked in acetone-based nail polish, loosen the glue and proceed to rub it with 120-220-grit sandpaper cautiously. Olive oil, coconut oil, or white vinegar work as substitutes for acetone. Test the solvent of your choice on the wood before use to avoid potential staining.

7. From Leather

For light stains, carefully take a dull edge, and after peeling away the looser glue, sponge the remaining adhesive with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Periodically dry and check your progress.

Approach hardier stains by delicately patting them with acetone, rubbing alcohol, or vinegar before washing them with warm soapy water. As with other fabrics, apply a small amount of your de-bonding agent to conduct a colorfastness test first to circumvent additional problems.

When to Seek Medical Help

Typically, superglue mishaps are easily treatable at home. Nevertheless, a small percentage of people form an allergic reaction called dermatitis, which causes a rash to appear in the area a couple of days after the incident.

Those that experience dermatitis should see a doctor. If superglue is ingested or applied to the face around the eyes, mouth, or nose, visit the emergency room or immediately contact poison control.

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