How to Remove Strong Adhesive from Plastics


Lee asked: How do I get strong adhesive off of UPVC windows? I have previously put Velcro on the UPVC window frames, and on removal, I cannot get the strong adhesive off the frame.

With such a wide variety of adhesives available, removing them can take multiple attempts until you find a product that will loosen it. There are a variety of commercial adhesive removers available at hardware and home improvement stores. Consult your local store for additional options that may be available for you. Here are some products to get you started along with application and removal procedures.

You Will Need:

  • Choose one:
    • Goo Gone
    • WD-40
    • Hand sanitizer (with alcohol)
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton swabs
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Soft cloths
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Steps to Remove the Adhesive:

  1. There are a variety of adhesive removers that are safe to use on plastic. However, prolonged exposure to the remover can affect the surface, leaving a dull, filmy look. Always test a small area prior to cleaning the affected area. This will help to ensure your results are desirable.
  2. Choose one of the removal products above or visit your hardware or home improvement store for commercial removers.
  3. Moisten a cotton swab with the product and dab it onto the adhesive area.
  4. Moisten the area well. If the product dries quickly, fold a paper towel or soft cloth to the size of the adhesive spot.
  5. Moisten the folded towel with the removal product.
  6. Lay the towel over the adhesive and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Tape the edges down. This will hold the cloth in place as well as keep it from evaporating.
  8. Allow it to set on the adhesive for several minutes. Remove a corner of the tape and lift the cloth slightly to see if the adhesive is loosening or softening. If it is, remove the cloth/paper towel, plastic wrap and tape.
  9. Once the adhesive has softened, wipe it away with a soft cloth.
  10. Repeat until the adhesive is removed.
  11. Once removed, clean the surface as normal to remove any residue from the removal product.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Some removers can remove or damage the finish of some plastic pieces. Test a small area first to ensure there are no adverse effects.
  • Check the label of your chosen removal product to ensure it’s safe to use on plastic surfaces.
  • Never scrub adhesive off of plastic surfaces with an abrasive cloth or scrubbing pad. The abrasive surface will create small scratches on the plastic surface and result in a dulled, cloudy area.
  • If the adhesive won’t come loose with a soft cloth, try blotting it with the remover and working it gently with your fingers (wearing rubber gloves will help protect your hands). Continue applying more remover and rubbing the adhesive until it loosens and can be wiped away.


  1. Awesome! Nail polish remover worked beautifully, thank you so much!

  2. Awesomeness – thanks guys!

  3. Lexi T. says:

    Makeup remover cloths work wonders!

  4. I tried nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and WD-40, and the WD-40 worked perfectly (much better than the others) on some adhesive that was on the bottom of my mouse.

  5. Bluescoot says:

    I attached a Scala rider system to my motorcycle helmet with the included super adhesive patch and now need to get it off without damaging the finish on the helmet. There is to place to test products so I need to know what will work before I start or I will screw up the helmet. Any suggestions.

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