How to Remove Industrial Adhesives from Windows without Scratching

drop of Superglue emerging from the tube
What You'll Need
Plastic scraper
Acetone and industrial rubbing alcohol
Dry cleaning cloths
Plastic scrubbing pad

Removing industrial adhesives from glass is possible with the right products. Industrial adhesives can be used on glass in a number of situations: stickers and decals, to secure a windshield in place, and to affix a pane of glass in a window. Frequently, it is necessary to remove adhesive for aesthetic purposes or for replacement of seals on windshields or casings on windows. With care, the glass will remain intact and scratch-free. Here you will find the information needed to remove the adhesive safely and effectively.

Step 1 - Remove Surround Material

You will want to first remove as much material as you can from the glass without any chemicals. Using the plastic scraper (an auto window scraper works well) or dry plastic scrub pad, scrape and scrub away as much material as possible. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to stickers or decals. You can also use the plastic scraper to loosen casings or seals from around windows or windshields. Make sure that if there are any fasteners, such as nails on a window casing, that they are removed before attempting to loosen the casing. If possible, remove any casings or seals. If they continue to remain in place due to adhesive, do not attempt to remove them at this point.

Step 2 - Remove Adhesive

washing a window

Again, using the plastic scraper, scrape or chisel away as much of the adhesive as possible. Often, if the adhesive is very old it may be hard and dried up, and might be able to just be chiseled or scraped away. It is much more efficient and will reduce the time involved if you can remove as much as possible this way, as opposed to using a chemical to dissolve it. Typically, to dissolve an adhesive it takes a significant amount of time for the chemicals to work through the adhesive. It usually will not take as long with a little bit of elbow grease.

Step 3 - Apply Solvent

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent solvent of adhesives and will frequently take care of many different types of adhesives. It is safe to use on many surfaces too. Add rubbing alcohol liberally to a dry cleaning cloth and apply to the area of adhesive. Let the cloth sit on the area with adhesive for fifteen minutes or so to dissolve the adhesive. The adhesive will become glue-like in consistency. If the alcohol does not work, use the acetone. Keep in mind that acetone will dissolve or soften many surrounding materials, such as paint, so read the label carefully to make sure it is appropriate and does not wind up on a surface that will be damaged.

Step 4 - Finish Removal and Clean

Alternate Step 2 and Step 3 until almost all of the adhesive is gone. You can use a standard glass cleaner to clear up any remaining residue.