Superglue is super stuff, until you get some on your clothing or your favorite tablecloth, then it can be a super headache. Glues like Krazy Glue and Super Glue bond almost instantly so even if you act fast, chances are, the glue will have dried onto your fabric before you’ve had a chance to remove it. If superglue gets onto fabric, try these tips for removal:
What You Will Need
- Folded square of paper towel or Q-tip
- Acetone-based nail polish remover
- Very fine sand paper or emery board
- Liquid laundry detergent
- Washing machine
- Lighter fluid (optional)
Removing the Glue
- The glue should be dry before attempting to remove it.
- Wet the paper towel square or Q-tip with acetone-based nail polish remover (make sure the nail polish remover is acetone-based or this will not work).
- Test the fabric in a small, inconspicuous area to make sure the nail polish remover will not damage or discolor the material.
- Dab the glue spot with the towel or Q-tip soaked with the nail polish remover, letting the towel or Q-tip sit on the spot for a minute or two.
- Briskly rub the spot with the toothbrush until some glue flakes off.
- Depending upon the amount of glue on the fabric, steps 4 and 5 may have to be repeated as superglue will come off in layers.
- If the glue has soaked through to the opposite side of the fabric, you may have to repeat steps 4 and 5 for both sides of the material.
- After repeating the dab and scrub procedure several times, if the spot remains, gently rub the spot with the very fine sand paper or emery board. Be careful not to rub too vigorously or you may damage or tear the fabric.
- Pour a couple of drops laundry detergent directly onto the area where the glue residue was and rub the detergent into the fabric using your thumb and forefinger.
- Wash the fabric or garment in your washing machine as per the directions on the label.
- When the wash cycle has finished, check the fabric carefully for any remaining stain. If the stain remains, DO NOT place it in the dryer, as the heat from the dryer will set the stain and it will be virtually impossible to remove.
- If the stain remains, you may want to try dabbing a little bit of lighter fluid on the stain and rubbing with the toothbrush again, as described in steps 4 and 5 above, then wash as usual. REMEMBER to always check a small inconspicuous area of the garment with the lighter fluid to make sure it will not cause damage or discoloration to the material. ALSO, exercise caution when using lighter fluid as it is highly flammable and can be poisonous. Exercise lighter fluid safety to prevent any mishaps. Do not use around open flame, or on any material that is prone to static electricity.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Unlike most stains, it is best to wait until the glue is dry before attempting to remove. Otherwise, the material you are using for removal (i.e. paper towel or Q-tip) will stick to the spot, making the situation worse.
- NEVER try any of the above cleaning methods on clothing or fabric that is designated as dry clean only, as these should be cleaned only by a professional dry cleaner.
- If the fabric that has the glue stain is extremely delicate (such as silk), even if it is designated as washable, you may want to seek the advice of a cleaning professional before attempting removal of the stain.
- Many hardware and craft stores sell superglue solvent, which may be used to remove glue from fabric. Keep in mind, however, that these solvents are quite strong, and may not be suitable for use on certain materials. Check the label of the solvent first for precautions and directions, and always check a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first before treating the stain.
- Other products sold in hardware and/or craft stores, such as Goo Gone and Z-7 Debonder, may be helpful in removing a stubborn glue stain. Again, these products may be too harsh for use on some fabrics, and you should always read all labels and directions carefully, testing a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first, before using any such product on a stain.
- If these cleaning tips fail, the manufacturer of the glue you are using may have a website or phone number to call for additional assistance and advice. Check the package for information.
- The best way to treat a superglue stain is to avoid getting one to begin with. Always read and follow all labels and instructions before using any superglue product, and be sure to protect your work area and wear old clothes or a work apron.