Super glue is wonderful at sticking things together, whether purposeful or not. Thankfully, in most cases, acetone is the magic substance that unsticks super glue from other objects. You can find it in common household products like paint thinners and nail-polish remover. When using acetone to remove super glue, how you apply it depends on what surface it’s stuck to. Before using this product on your super-glued surfaces, make sure you know how your surface material will react.
Warning: When using a product with acetone in it to unstick super glue, wear the proper safety gear to avoid coming into contact with the agent, and always work in a well-ventilated area. Although nail polish remover is safe for skin exposure up to 500 ppm, you should wear gloves if you will be using it for long periods of time. If you use something other than nail-polisher remove that has acetone in it, follow the safety precautions provided on the bottle and beware of other ingredients that could react with or damage your super-glued surfaces.
If you're trying to remove glue from a painted surface, be careful to apply the acetone to only the glue itself. Keep in mind what surface is underneath the paint, and think about whether that surface falls into the below categories. If necessary, use cotton balls or swabs to make small, controlled applications of the solvent to the glue as opposed to blotting or wiping motions that could spread the acetone onto the paint.
Applied improperly, acetone can also eat away your painted surface. Before using this method, you should have some fresh paint on hand for touch-ups. Gently wipe off any residues on the painted surface with a damp cloth and let dry before applying the new paint.
Wood is porous and absorbent, so acetone can slowly absorb into the wood and cause staining or discoloration. However, if your wood surface is already finished or sealed, there is a smaller chance this will happen. Like the paint surface, use as little acetone as possible on wood to remove the glue. Sometimes, small, repeated applications of acetone does the trick.
Unless you plan on painting the wood surface after removing the adhesive, use acetone with this surface at your own risk. If you plan on painting the wood surface afterward, you may freely use the acetone and even use a razor or paint scraper if need be.
Acetone is fine to use on most plastics. However, do not use acetone on a plastic electric surface, as it is highly flammable. The exception is if your electronic is completely turned off and not directly exposed, like a keyboard or remote control. In this case, use a minute amount on a cotton swab to apply the liquid and rub gently. Then, dry off any residue with a clean rag.
Metal, Glass, and Other Surfaces
You can apply acetone more liberally with metal and glass surfaces. Depending on your surface, you could also carefully use a razor edge to scrape off any hard-to-rid pieces. Beware of using acetone on glass surfaces that have coatings, like a car window, or using acetone on laminate surfaces, as the other chemicals in the acetone-containing product can corrode the coatings and sealants away.