5 Tips for Removing Spray Adhesives

spray can

Spray adhesives are durable and useful, particularly in crafting and sewing. However, because this kind of glue is an aerosolized spray, it has a nasty tendency to spread out and get on more than just your intended surface.

Fortunately, there are some easy tips for removing spray adhesive from various surfaces without damaging your hard work.

1. Alcohol

On laminate, plastic, some metal, and many other finishes, isopropyl alcohol is a fix all. Pour a little bit on a clean rag and rub it over the affected area. The adhesive will start to peel off immediately, and the evidence of the mess will be gone in no time.

Pick up some isopropyl on Amazon.

However, this quick fix does not work for all surfaces. Isopropyl alcohol may damage the finish on wood or painted surfaces, so check the bottle first to be sure you don’t do more harm than good.

2. Clay

On smooth surfaces, particularly metal, a clay bar, such as the ones used in car detailing, can pick off the adhesive residue safely and without damaging your finish. Just run the clay bar over the area as your would if you were polishing the surface, and the adhesive will be picked up without any abrasion.

3. Nail Polish Remover

On extra stubborn glue stains, try a little nail polish remover. It’s made from the same chemicals as paint thinner, but it isn’t as strong or damaging. Plus, it’s likely you already have it in your home.

Apply it to a clean rag and wipe down the area. Let it sit and soften for a moment, and then wipe it off. The adhesive will come too.

Like isopropyl alcohol, you have to be aware of what sort of surface you are using it on. It will take the paint off walls and damage the finish on your car, so be sure to only use it on raw or unfinished surfaces.

4. Scraping

When all else fails, claw the heck out of stuck on glue spots. If the surface that's been marred with spray glue is sturdy enough to avoid scratching, use a razor to scrape the adhesive away. If you are concerned about the finish beneath the spray adhesive, use a less damaging plastic scraper. If you’re lucky, this time-tested method will do the trick for you.

5. Meet Your Maker

Most manufacturers of adhesives also make specific products designed to neutralize their adhesives. Check the fine print on the back of your spray can or go to the manufacturer’s website. It is likely that there is a removal product custom made for your problem.

Determining what sort of surface you need to remove the spray adhesive from is the most important step in figuring out how to remove the adhesive.

TIP: To avoid messy adhesive problems in the future, use painter's tape around the area you will be spraying. It will prevent messes and make clean up a breeze.

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