How to Remove a Rubber Adhesive

Rubber adhesive can be made out of different materials, of which polyurethane, styrene, silicone and neoprene are common examples. Efficient in bonding surfaces, these adhesives can be quite stubborn to remove from surfaces where they are unwanted. Here are several solutions you can use to remove them from many types of surfaces.

Tools and Materials

  • Cotton
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Acetone
  • Lighter fluid
  • Commercial adhesive solvents
  • Rag
  • Soap and water
  • Putty knife or paint scraper
  • Scouring pad
  • Rubber gloves
  • Respirator

Step 1 – Scrape Large Portions of the Adhesive

Try removing rubber adhesive the old-fashioned way before using any other modern yet harsher method. Scrape off large portions of the adhesive using a putty knife or a paint scraper. Take off as much adhesive as possible, leaving only a small portion for chemicals to remove if necessary.

Step 2 – Use Soap and Water

Before using harsh chemicals that can cause harm, try a simplistic method using soap and water. Wash the affected surface clean with soap and water. Allow the soapy water to sit for a while, about 10 minutes. As the adhesive becomes loose, wipe it off with a damp cloth. If the surface is not too sensitive to scratching, use a scouring pad instead of a piece of cloth or a rag.

Step 3 – Use Mild Chemicals

If mild soap and water do not work, use vinegar or rubbing alcohol. The alcohol should have a concentration of 70 percent for it to work more effectively. Pour the solvent onto the affected surface and wait for it to dissolve the adhesive for about 10 minutes or so. Wipe the adhesive off the surface, using a piece of cloth or rag or a ball of cotton. As an alternative, use acetone if available. Acetone can dissolve nail polish easily and should therefore work as well.

Step 4 – Proceed to Using Stronger Chemicals

When using stronger solvents, wear gloves and a respirator for protection. In addition, provide good ventilation inside the working area to allow the fumes to escape the room freely or bring the affected surface outdoors if possible.

One of the possible solvents that can easily remove adhesive from surfaces is lighter fluid. To ensure that the solvent does not damage the affected surface as well, test it first on an inconspicuous area. Wait for a few minutes and check if the solvent has caused some damage. If not, then it is safe to use. Pour the solvent onto the adhesive, leave for a few minutes and then wipe it off, using a cloth or a cotton ball.

Look for other solvents available at home that can be used as alternatives. These include kerosene, paint thinner and turpentine. Just make sure to test the solvent on a small surface before using it.

You can also try commercial products designed to dissolve adhesive. These products come in either brush-on or spray types. Apply the solvent on the affected areas and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rubbing the adhesive off with a rag.