Sharon asked: How do I remove glue from a copper pipe? I am a dollhouse miniaturist. I received a miniature espresso machine made from copper pipe fittings which arrived in pieces. I know how to re-glue it, but need to remove the old glues without marring the surfaces. Can you help me?
Copper is a highly reactive metal, which means it is rather easily affected by acids and strong cleansers. To remove glue from copper, avoid the fancy new cleaners and stick to a proven method that will not harm or discolor the pipe. Here’s what you need to do.
You Will Need:
- Lacquer thinner (“Green” ones work as well)
- Clean rag
- Eye protection
- Rubber gloves
Steps to Remove the Glue:
- Before you begin, wear eye protection and rubber gloves to limit the exposure to chemicals.
- Soak a portion of the rag with the lacquer thinner and work it over the glue. If the glue is thick or stubborn, you may need to wrap the pipe with the soaked rag or submerge the pipe in a bowl or bucket with the thinner. Allow time for the lacquer to work.
- Once you begin seeing improvement (the glue softens and/or begins to come loose), continue to work the rag over the glue, wiping or rubbing gently.
- When the glue has been removed, follow manufacturer’s directions for cleanup and disposal of lacquer thinner.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Lacquer thinner will remove most adhesives and contact cements.
- If you need something that scrubs more effectively than a rag, an old, soft toothbrush or green Scotch pad should do the trick without marring the pipe.
- Follow all label directions for face and body protection, ventilation, storage and disposal.