How to Remove Adhesive from Glass: Dos and Don'ts

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-30
What You'll Need
Paper towel
Glass cleaner
Single-edge razor blade

It can be incredibly annoying to peel off a price sticker from a piece of glass and find an adhesive mark left on the surface. Not to mention, there are other types of adhesive that can also stick to glass, such as, if children prefer to apply their sticker collections onto mirrors instead of inside their stickers books. Luckily, removing glue can be relatively simple.

Step 1 - Clean the Glass

Spray glass cleaner onto the surface of the glass and clean it thoroughly with a paper towel. Then, let it dry fully before proceeding.

Step 2 - Wipe with Solvent

Take your solvent of choice, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, acetone, or even engine penetrating oil, and soak a paper towel in it. Place it one the adhesive residue to allow it to soften. Leave it in place for several minutes before you remove the towel.

Use a single-edged razor blade and gently scrape off the adhesive. You might need to repeat the procedure with the solvent two or three times before you can remove it all. To finish, use glass cleaner again and dry with a clean paper towel. The glass should shine brilliantly afterward.

Step 3 - Things you Shouldn't Do

There’s a technique for removing adhesive, and it includes knowing things you shouldn’t do. If you’re working an area that’s part of a picture frame or a mirror, you need to make sure you don’t scrape or use solvent on any unaffected areas or you could damage the decorative surrounds.

You also need to be sure you only use a single-sided razor blade for safety's sake. However, if you do buy a double-sided blade, find a holder into which you can slide the blade for your own safety.

Don’t use solvent near an open flame and don’t smoke when using these materials. Solvents are flammable and the last thing you want to deal with is a fire. Also, don’t work in a small, unventilated room. Again, this is for your own safety because solvents can emit highly toxic fumes.

Step 4 - Things you Should Do

When you’re using a razor blade to remove adhesive, always make the stroke face away from you. If you don’t, it’s always possible that the blade could slip and you could end up injuring yourself.

If there are other materials present around the glass you're cleaning, such as a picture frame, you can make life easier for yourself by using masking tape on the surrounding area. Not only does it stop solvent from seeping onto something other than the glass, it also stops you from accidentally nicking them with the razor blade.

Always give solvent time to soak into the adhesive. Generally, this should happen in a few minutes but on the first pass, you might want give yourself at least 15 minutes to be sure the adhesive has been soaked all the way through by the solvent. This might seem like a long time but it will mean less effort to remove the adhesive afterwards.

Following these steps and tips should make the process of removing adhesive from your glass surfaces relatively painless.