Super glue really is one of those miracle inventions you've heard tell about, a real lightning-in-a-bottle type thing. Until something goes wrong and you need to know how to remove super glue from plastic, it's pretty great.
Once things get a little out of hand with the super glue and things start to get stuck together the wrong way, it turned into a mess. But it is possible to learn how to remove super glue from plastic without causing a lot of damage, though it may take you a few tries before it all actually works out.
Super Glue Accidents
It's a pretty common story that begins when someone pulls out a tube of super glue. You go to fix a pair of glasses, a hair clip, fill in the blank.
Next thing you know, the glue is everywhere except for where it needs to be. And that's a problem because super glue gets hard and strong and doesn't want to give up.
Removing super glue from plastic can be tricky because many times, the substances you use to separate the glue can also blemish your glued items. Cleaning bonding agents can be especially difficult if your plastic has paint or veneer on its surface.
Removing adhesive from plastic is tough, but it’s not impossible. With the right solvent and a little work, lots of plastic items can be salvaged and the glue can be removed without too much struggle.
Remove Super Glue from Plastic
Super glue is a pretty amazing invention but it's not indestructible...even when it totally seems like it is. It can be removed and sometimes, it can even be removed without causing damage to whatever you're removing it from.
Work slowly and carefully and start out with less damaging methods first. You may need to try multiple methods to remove the glue but most of the time, it can be done without damaging the plastic or at least causing minimal damage.
Before you start working on dissolving and removing the glue, soak the item (or the part with glue on it) in warm, soapy water. Ordinary liquid soap, such as dishwasher soap or hand soap, works fine for this.
Let that soak for about 30 minutes to soften the glue and weaken its bond before you get down to the business of removing it. This is an essential first step to take when you’re learning how to remove glue from plastic.
Gently rub the glue off the plastic while it is still underwater using your hands, then rinse the item under warm water. This might be enough to remove some of the glue.
The rest of the residue can be dealt with using various common household solvents.
Before you start working with chemicals, protect yourself and the surrounding area. Put down some old towels where you plan to work.
Cover the entire work area and somewhat beyond it as well to guard against splashes. Once you and your work area are protected, you're ready to work on removing the glue.
Several solvents and common household formulas do work beautifully as super glue remover options. Chances are, you have many or all of these solvents in your household right now.
Vegetable oil won't damage plastic but it can soften superglue. Get a clean cloth wet with the oil and liberally rub it all over the glue.
Wait about five minutes for the oil to sink in and soften the glue and then clean off the oil with soapy water. This should soften and remove some of the glue.
If any glue residue remains, it can be scraped away with a soft plastic edge, like a putty knife. Work carefully when doing this so that you aren't causing any damage to the plastic.
Vinegar is a naturally acidic substance that can dissolve glue. Soak the glue thoroughly with the vinegar to get started.
If possible, soak the entire area affected by glue completely in white vinegar for about 10 minutes. Remove the item from the vinegar and rinse it under clean water.
Some of the glue will come off under the water. Gently try to scrape the remaining glue away with a soft edge, like a spatula or an old credit card, to remove the glue.
Undiluted acetone is incredibly strong and can do damage to plastics and other materials. Most people have nail polish remover that contains acetone in their homes.
Keep your gloves on your hands while you unscrew the nail polish remover, place the cotton ball on top of the bottle, and flip it over to soak the cotton ball. Carefully dab the glue you want to remove.
Place the nail polish remover on and all around the superglue quite liberally. Wait a few minutes and then clean off the glue with a clean, damp cloth.
You might need to repeat the process a couple of times to get all the glue residue removed.
You can do the exact same thing with standard rubbing alcohol, the kind you probably already have around the house. Rubbing alcohol will dry extremely quickly, so apply it to the glue a couple of times before you use a damp, clean cloth to try to clean the glue off the plastic item.
Both rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover can be used as super glue remover but also can remove color from plastic or otherwise damage it. That's not your goal, so be sure to spot-test an unseen part of the plastic first to see if any damage results.
Once the glue has been softened, it might not be completely gone. You don't want to try to get aggressive with the acetone or the alcohol to compensate and try to forcibly remove the glue this way.
But you can use a putty knife or even a razor blade to gently scrape the glue. Hold the tool at a 45-degree angle and apply it to the glue to remove it from the plastic item you want to clean.
Run it along and underneath the excess glue so that you can lift it from the item that you are trying to clean. You can use a plastic razor blade if you are worrying about cutting yourself.
How to Remove Super Glue from Plastic
Super glue is designed to create a permanent bond. It works extremely well and it is used for all kinds of tasks and in all sorts of industries.
Super glue can even be used in place of stitches to close human skin in the event of an emergency injury. So this is clearly some seriously good stuff.
The glue does what it was designed to do but it wasn't exactly designed to be removed easily...or even at all. So when you need to get rid of glue, that takes a bit more work and effort but it is possible to do.
Try a couple of different methods to see what will work for your plastic item and with enough care and work, you will learn how to remove super glue from plastic.
Remove Super Glue from Plastic FAQs
What dissolves super glue fast?
Hardened, dried super glue is very strong stuff and there really aren't many chemical formulas that will dissolve it quickly. However, several formulas can soften and help to dissolve the glue slowly over the course of several minutes.
White vinegar, vegetable oil, nail polish remover, and rubbing alcohol all dissolve glue if left to sit on the glue for several minutes. Some of these substances can be more damaging to plastic than others, so always test an unseen spot on the plastic before you use one of these options to remove super glue.
What dissolves super glue but not plastic?
So, what removes super glue from plastic? You have several options, maybe one or two fewer if you’re hoping to preserve the plastic under the glue.
Acetone is an excellent super glue remover but it may also cause damage to plastic. Vegetable oil and white vinegar are far less harmful to plastic and can be effective at getting rid of super glue.
How do you remove dried Gorilla super glue from plastic?
Gorilla super glue is a specific brand of glue. To remove it, start by dabbing rubbing alcohol on the glue, wait a few moments, and gently scrape the glue off with a putty knife or razor knife but practice extreme caution to avoid doing damage to the plastic.
Does acetone damage plastic?
There are a lot of different types of plastic, as you're aware. You've seen the thin, flexible, lightweight plastic wrap and you've also seen very hard and strong plastic, like the stuff that's used in your cell phone.
In other words, acetone can cause damage to some types of plastic. The finish of the plastic may get damaged and the plastic itself may even be affected.
Other types of plastic, however, might stand up to acetone with no trouble. To know for sure, you're going to need to spot-test a little acetone on the plastic you're planning to clean.
There are other options when you’re trying to figure out how to remove glue from plastic, so acetone doesn’t have to be your first choice.
How to get super glue off plastic?
There are multiple methods for removing super glue from plastic. Various common household chemicals soften super glue and sometimes, they can remove it completely once you wipe off the plastic and the solvent you used.
You can also scrape off the plastic gently after softening it with soap and water or a common formula.
How to remove super glue from plastic without acetone?
Instead of acetone, try white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to remove super glue from plastic. These materials have a way of softening super glue so it can be removed more easily.
Will rubbing alcohol remove glue from plastic?
Rubbing alcohol can soften and dissolve super glue, making it much easier to wipe off of plastic items. Sometimes, alcohol may affect the finish on a plastic item.
Test the plastic with a little alcohol before you use it in earnest to remove super glue to see if it will damage the finish.
Does hand sanitizer remove glue?
Hand sanitizer contains high amounts of alcohol in it, so you can use it on super glue to soften and remove the glue. Like rubbing alcohol, the sanitizer will dry very quickly after it is applied so you might want to apply it several times before you go to work on removing the super glue.
You’ll need to know how to clean super glue after you’ve put hand sanitizer or olive oil or another formula all over it. Use warm, soapy water to remove glue after it’s been softened with a solvent and remove the rest of the solvent from the plastic.
What destroys super glue?
Acetone, commonly found in nail polish remover, is strong enough to remove and dissolve super glue. However, this is a strong chemical that will also cause a burning sensation on skin and may even damage some plastics and plastic finishes.
It's better to start out with less harsh chemicals and formulas and see if these will be effective before you move on to using stronger acetone.
Will nail polish remover remove super glue from plastic?
Nail polish remover that contains acetone can be used to remove super glue from plastic, but if you're not careful it can damage the plastic underneath. Most nail polish removers do contain acetone, so it might not be a good choice for cleaning delicate objects.
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