If you have ever glued your fingers to your shirt with super glue during a DIY project, you know how hard it is to get glue out of clothes! Even children’s glue like Elmer’s glue and glitter glue can stick to clothing and make a big mess. Fortunately, you can learn how to get glue out of clothes using a few simple methods that will rescue your clothing from these sticky substances!
The best way to get many types of glue out of clothes is to apply a nail polish remover containing acetone. Other home remedies include:
- Baking soda and coconut oil.
- Applying white vinegar.
- Using ice cubes to freeze and crack the glue.
For some stains, commercial removers or Goo Gone will do the trick.
In this article, you will learn nine different methods for removing glue from clothes. You will find tips for how best to treat the most popular kinds of glue, including super glue and glitter glue. Finally, you will learn helpful strategies for avoiding glue stains in the future!
How to Get Glue Out of Clothes in 10 Easy Ways
Different types of glue respond to different treatments, but once you know these nine simple methods, you can handle most types of adhesives with no problem!
That said, fresh glue often comes up more easily than dried-on glue. This is especially true for any water-soluble adhesives like Elmer’s. For any fresh glue spill, you should carefully scrape away as much of the sticky substance as you can while it is still wet, without smearing it out over more of your clothes!
When you do find a dried-on glue stain on your clothes or your kid’s favorite school shirt, don’t worry! Give one of these methods a try.
Water does a great job on any type of PVA adhesives like school and glitter glue stains. Often you can just soak one of these stains in cold water for eight hours and peel away the dissolving substance!
The trick here is that you cannot use hot water. Heat could change the chemical structure of the proteins inside these types of fixatives, making them harder and even more difficult to remove!
You can also use water to help with many of the other methods described in this article. For example, one of the best ways to remove glitter glue is to soak the stain in cold water for eight hours and then use bleach to remove the color stain left by the colorful glitter!
2. Acetone Nail Polish RemoverAcetone is the main ingredient in most kinds of nail polish remover, and this chemical often works well to soften chemical-based glues. You can use this on solidified hot glue, super glue, and nail glue.
The risk of using acetone on your clothing is that, in some cases, acetone itself can damage the fabric. Try placing a tiny drop of acetone on the seam allowance inside the clothing. Watch this for a few minutes, keeping an eye out for any discoloring of the fabric. Rinse it away and let it dry.
If the test site does not display any damage, you can safely use acetone on the stain!
To apply acetone to dried glue:
- Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover.
- Dab at the stain. Try to move the cotton ball from the outside of the stain to the inside. This will keep you from accidentally moving any glue to unstained parts of the fabric.
- When you see glue coming away on the cotton ball, dispose of it and get a new cotton ball.
- Repeat this process until most of the stain is gone.
- Finally, rub some straight laundry detergent into the stained area. Then place the clothing in your washer and wash it as usual, but do not put it in the dryer.
3. Ice Cubes/FreezerSometimes dramatically chilling glue will allow you to more easily peel it away from the fabric. For small items, you can accomplish this by putting them in a Ziploc bag and stashing them in your freezer for a few hours. For carpets or upholstery, you can put ice cubes in a Ziploc bag and then place the bag on top of the stain to help it harden and crack.
You can try this method on many types of glue, including really tough commercial adhesives like super glue. The glue may not instantly peel away, but once frozen, you can usually break it off a chunk at a time without destroying the fabric.
That said, this method helps get the three-dimensional blobs of glue off, but it does not deal with any staining left on the fabric afterward. You may need to follow this method up with a stain remover.
4. Rubbing AlcoholRubbing alcohol acts as a remarkably effective stain remover and can also act as a solvent on some types of glue. This means that isopropyl alcohol can dissolve or soften many types of adhesives. You can try this method on hardened hot glue, super glue, and even gorilla glue!
Rubbing alcohol also does an amazing job of getting sticker or tape residue off clothing. Like acetone, it can damage some types of material, though. You will want to perform a test on an inconspicuous part of the garment before trying this method.
To use the rubbing alcohol method:
- Saturate a cotton ball or clean rag in rubbing alcohol. Hold this over the stain for a moment.
- Soak the cotton ball again and dab at the stain, moving from the outside toward the middle of the stain.
- Use a blunt knife or spoon to pry at the glue as it softens, peeling it away from the fabric.
- Keep applying alcohol as necessary to peel away more flakes.
- Once you have all the glue off, rinse the alcohol out of the fabric with cool water.
- Wash the clothing as usual in your washing machine. Then let it air dry instead of putting it in the dryer!
5. VinegarDistilled white vinegar has powerful stain removing properties and can also act as a solvent on certain types of glue. It can work miracles on rubber cement and sometimes even superglue, especially when mixing it with dish soap!
The great thing about this method is that it also works well on carpets.
- First, remove as much glue as you can from the carpet or fabric. Often a blunt knife works well for this task. If it seems too stuck, just go ahead to the next step.
- Stir up a concoction of two tablespoons vinegar, one cup warm water, and one teaspoon dish soap.
- Soak a clean rag in this solution and lay it over the stain for five minutes.
- Gently scrub the stain with the rag. Soak it in the solution again as necessary.
You can also use this method as a stain remover after using the freezer method, or if a stain remains after using acetone!
6. Baking Soda and Coconut OilMixing coconut oil and baking soda creates an effective homemade type of Goo-Gone. This works incredibly well on the adhesive that backs tape and stickers, and even duct tape! You can also apply it to many types of hardened glue, especially if you just have a thin crackly remnant left on your clothing.
- Mix half a cup of baking soda and one-fourth a cup of coconut oil. If you only want a tiny amount, you just need to combine two parts baking soda with one part coconut oil. This should make a smooth, oily paste.
- Soak the garment in cool water and remove as much of the label, tape, or glue as possible.
- Next, smear the coconut oil paste over the sticky area. Rub it in well with your fingers. If you don’t like the messy feel, wear gloves!
- You should feel bits of the stain coming away as you massage the oil into the fabric.
- Once you can’t see any remaining glue, tape, or sticker, go ahead and rinse this part of the garment.
- Finally, either handwash the stained section using dish soap or put it in the laundry. You will want to get the oil back out of the clothing so it does not leave another kind of stain!
7. Laundry DetergentLaundry detergent does a great job breaking down and removing unwanted elements from clothing. Sometimes, this can include glue of various types!
One important thing to remember when using laundry detergent is that while washing your clothes will help get adhesive stains out, putting your clothes in the dryer could cause the fixative to set permanently. Try to air-dry your clothes when you don’t know for sure if you have successfully gotten a stain out!
While washing a garment in your washing machine with laundry detergent often does get adhesives out, you can also try applying detergent directly to a stubborn stain. This works especially well as a follow-up treatment to most of the other methods in this article, as it can remove any discoloring or lingering stain once the bulk of the stain is gone!
The heat of an iron can help remove solidified hot glue from clothing. Please use this method with caution, though, as an iron will make many other kinds of glue stains much worse! For example, you do not want to iron Elmer’s glue or super glue.
That said, you can effectively use this method if you get a blob of hot glue stuck in your favorite sweater.
- Spread a clean, absorbent cloth over the gluey area.
- Heat your iron and press this area. You should see the glue melting and soaking into the cloth.
- Lift the cloth away and put a new, dry section over the stain.
- Repeat this process until you do not see any hot glue left on your garment!
9. Commercial RemoverSometimes using a commercial glue remover designed specifically to handle a certain type of adhesive does give the best results. For instance, if you know you have a big Gorilla Glue project coming up, you may want to purchase a Gorilla Glue remover at the same time as a precaution.
However, most commercial removers do contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure you read the directions on the container before using these products.
Another thing to keep in mind is that quite often, the chemicals used in these removers will do your clothing even more damage than the glue! Some products may stain or even dissolve fabric.
All of that goes to say that if you have the time, you may want to try a more natural DIY method on your stain first. If that fails, haul out the big guns and apply a commercial product. You can find heavy-duty commercial removers at places like Home Depot or Lowes.
10. Goo GoneGoo Gone is technically a commercial glue remover, but it is prevalent in so many homes that it gets its own section! Plus, this particular gunk remover is non-toxic and uses enzymes derived from citrus for its strong adhesive removing properties.
Using this product is as easy as squirting a dollop of Goo Gone onto a clean rag and dabbing at the stain until it dissolves and comes away on the cloth!
You can try this one pretty much any adhesive stain, but it may not always work on really tough commercial glues like super glue.
How to Remove Adhesive From Clothing
Now that you have nine methods for removing glue in your toolbox, you can check out an overview of some of the most common types of glue stains. This will give you an at-a-glance way to decide which method to use.
|Type of Glue||Best Solution|
|PVA||Soak in cold water, wash with laundry detergent|
|Hot Glue||Melt with an iron|
|Glitter Glue||Treat with cold water and bleach|
|Nail||Apply acetone and then wash as usual|
|Fabric||Use the white vinegar or rubbing alcohol method|
|Rubber Cement||Apply the white vinegar method|
|Hair||Use a commercial remover for best results|
|e6000||Acetone applied with a stiff brush|
|Super Glue||Apply the acetone or rubbing alcohol methods|
PVA glue is your basic school or craft glue such as Elmer’s. PVA stands for polyvinyl acetate. When wet, this kind of adhesive will dissolve in water.
Quite often, even partially dried PVA stains will come out in your washing machine. Make sure you don’t let a PVA stain slip past you into the dryer, though, because heat will cause this kind of adhesive to set and harden into plasticky lumps embedded in your clothes.
To remove a PVA stain, try the water soak method first. Often simply soaking the stain in cold water will soften it enough that you can peel the glue away. Then all you need to do is launder the garment as usual!
Hot glue is made out of a polymer or plastic. It does not respond to water but will melt easily when exposed to heat. For this reason, you can often use the iron method to remove hot glue stains from clothing.
You can also use Goo Gone or acetone to safely remove dried-on hot glue. You can apply acetone on a fresh stain, but Goo Gone will work better if you let the stain harden or freeze the glue briefly. This will also make peeling away most of the glue super easy!
Most types of glitter glue contain a mix of clear PVA glue and brightly dyed bits of metallic glitter. Most craft products designed for children clean up pretty easily and often come with a washable guarantee. Glitter glue does not meet that standard.
While technically a PVA glue that can dissolve in water, it often leaves dye stains behind even after getting the adhesive part out of your clothing.
To get glitter glue out of clothes, you have to mix and match many techniques from earlier in this article.
- First, scrape away any bits that will peel off easily.
- Next, soak the stained area for eight hours in cold water. At this point, hopefully, you can remove most of the glue from the fabric’s surface.
- Soak the garment again in a solution of oxygen bleach and water. Read the bleach package to determine how much you can safely add to the mix. Let the garment sit in this solution for thirty minutes.
- Finally, wash the garment in your washing machine with regular laundry detergent.
Nail glue contains an acrylic resin that sets super fast and acts very much like a superglue. This powerful stuff is used to keep artificial nails attached to your hands after you visit your manicurist!
Of course, if you like to fix your own nails, you may occasionally find yourself cleaning up nail glue from your clothing.
The best way to get nail glue out of your clothes is to let the adhesive dry rather than smearing it all around by trying to wipe it up wet. Then use the acetone method. Acetone should dissolve the chemical gue enough for your to scrape chunks off the fabric.
After that, you will want to wash the clothing to get the smelly acetone out of it!
Fabric glues are usually a type of PVA glue that adheres well to fabric. They often come with special features such as washability or flexibility, so you can use them in place of sewing stitches in a garment.
This does mean that getting fabric glue out of your clothes can prove quite tricky! Your best bet is to use either the white vinegar or rubbing alcohol method. Water and laundry detergent will not soften this adhesive, and heat will only make it worse!
Rubber cement is a type of silicone that has a viscous, sticky quality while wet and firm hold when dry.
Because of the plasticky nature of this type of adhesive, removing a stain works best if you can pry away most of the solid cement before you try applying a cleaning solution to the fabric.
After the cement removal:
- Try the white vinegar and dish soap solution.
- Simply soak a rag in this and let it rest on the stained fabric for a few minutes.
- Gently scrub at the stain, and watch it come away on the cleaning cloth!
Hair glue is technically something called keratin polymer glue, which sticks well to strands of hair and lets you put in realistic-looking hair extensions.
You can find DIY ideas to make your own remover. That said, you are talking about your hair here! In this case, you may want to just buy a commercial product designed specifically for removing hair glue.
Brands like Salon Pro, Donna Bella, and Hair Queen offer commercial removers for hair extension glue.
E6000 glue contains a powerful epoxy made out of a type of rubber that can adhere to practically everything, including ceramic, glass, wood, and plastic. Many people consider it the equivalent of super glue for its strength of hold.
As you can imagine, getting this powerful stuff out of your clothes presents quite a challenge! This will take a bit of elbow grease, but you can often successfully use the acetone method. The only difference is that you will need a toothbrush or something similar to use as a scraper as you rub the acetone into the e6000 stain.
One of the most dreaded glue stains of all is undoubtedly superglue. It dries very fast and has an amazing hold, which of course, is where its name and extreme popularity come from!
Most of the time, the best way to get super glue out of jeans or any other type of fabric is to use the acetone method. Acetone should not damage deni, though it can negatively affect some other kinds of material.
If you do not want to risk using acetone, you can also try the rubbing alcohol method. Sometimes freezing superglue before trying to remove it also helps, as it may allow you to break off chunks of the adhesive from the fabric’s surface.
You should also know that you can buy many different kinds of adhesives that contain slightly different types of polymers, such as Loctite, Gorilla Glue, and the official Super Glue. In general, all of these adhesives will respond to acetone, though.
How to Remove Dried Glue From Fabric
The best way to remove dried glue from fabric depends on the type of glue and the kind of fabric. All of the methods described in this article will work on dried glue, though you will want to pair the correct method with the type of glue you found in your clothes! For example, the acetone method will work on dried super glue.
That said, you do also need to consider the type of fabric in your clothing. If the care label inside your garment says “dry clean only,” you should not try any of the methods listed here. Instead, you should point out the stain to a professional dry cleaner and ask if they can remove it.
Also, you should always test a new cleaner or chemical solution on a hidden part of a garment before applying it in large amounts. This way, you can find out if the product will damage the material in your clothing or not.
How to Get Glue Out of Carpet
The first step in getting any kind of glue out of the carpet is to figure out what kind of adhesive it is. You can’t treat it if you don’t know what method to use!
Secondly, you need to allow the glue to dry, even if that feels counterintuitive! You can break or peel away dry glue, while wet glue will just ooze more deeply into the fibers of the carpet as you try to wipe it up.
Finally, you do have to adjust techniques a bit when dealing with a carpet. You can’t chuck it in your washing machine, for example! Instead of using a water soak, you have to soak a clean rag and drape that over the stain.
Other than that, you can use the methods described in this article to deal with glue stains on the carpet as you would glue stains in clothes. For example, you can still use acetone on superglue and iron to melt and soak up hot glue.
How to Remove Super Glue From Fabric Sofa
In some cases, you can use either rubbing alcohol or acetone to remove super glue from a fabric sofa. In all honesty, though, acetone may damage the material of many upholstery fabrics. This means that you will likely find it difficult to get super glue out of your couch.
Before you give up, you should try the rubbing alcohol method! Since you cannot wash the sofa after applying the rubbing alcohol, make sure you soak a rag in clean water and dab at the stained area as a way to rinse it out as much as possible.
How to Prevent Glue Stains
Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you can save yourself a lot of time scrubbing your laundry by considering a few ways to prevent glue stains.
- A creative mess is sometimes necessary, but can you give your little ones stickers or tape instead of a bottle of glue? Kid crafts tend to explode all over as many small hands get involved, so why not simplify a bit?
- For your crafting, will your project fit inside a box? This way, you can avoid dripping glue on your work area.
- If you like to use glue often in your projects, why not consider wearing a crafting smock or apron? This way, you can wipe your sticky hands on your clothes without worrying about the stains!
- Last but not least, when you need to get out the glue, do yourself a favor and move into an uncarpeted room before you take the top off the bottle!
Most school and craft glue come out of clothes after soaking in water and laundering laundry detergent. Other types of glue come out of clothes when treated with acetone, rubbing alcohol, or a vinegar solution. Applying extreme heat or cold can also help remove some adhesives from clothing.
In some cases, commercial removers may offer a safer alternative, such as when removing hair glue from hair extensions. Strong glues such as e6000 and superglue will often come out of clothing when treated with a combination of acetone and laundry detergent.
Have you ever successfully gotten glue out of your clothing? What method did you use? Leave a comment below to let us know!