How to Remove Contact Cement

Lead Image
  • 3-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • $55-150
What You'll Need
Dry cleaning solvent
Mineral oil
Isopropyl alcohol
Mineral spirits or acetone
Clear detergent
Soft-bristled brush
Safety mask
Rubber gloves

Contact cement is used for various home or office improvement projects, small and large. It is an adhesive form that can glue two surfaces together very securely. It can even bond things together that other adhesives can't. However, accidents can happen and your contact cement can get onto the wrong surfaces. Below are the materials that you need along with instructions on how to remove it.

Removing Contact Cement on Soft Surfaces

Step 1 - Pull Away Dried Cement

You can remove the large strips of dried contact cement by pulling it from the area using your fingers or better yet, with a pair of pliers. Although this method seems to be crude, it is a good start. If you have a hard time starting out, use a hair dryer or heat gun to melt the cement a little before you start.

Step 2 - Use Solvents

Remove the remaining contact cement that you failed to get rid of in step one by dabbing a commercial dry cleaning solvent on it with a small sponge. Soak the adhesive with the solvent using light strokes in a circular motion until you removed as much as much as you can.

Step 3 - Follow Up with a Stain-removal Solution

Even if you are successful at getting rid of all the contact cement, there will be a stain left behind. You can make your own stain-removal solution to take care of it by mixing half a teaspoon of mineral oil with one cup of isopropyl alcohol in a bowl. Soak a paper towel in the liquid, and then press it into the stains. Begin with a modest amount, but use as much solution as you need until the stain is completely gone. Rinse the surface with cold water and allow the it to dry. If there is still any contact cement after all of this, repeat steps one through three until you are successful.

Removing Contact Cement on Hard Surfaces

Step 1 - Apply Mineral Spirits or Acetone to Tough Areas

You can use mineral spirits or acetone to remove stubborn contact cement residues on hard surfaces. All you have to do is soak a sponge with one of these chemicals, let it sit on top of the adhesive, and allow it to work for one hour. This method will soften the contact cement, making it easier to scrape off or wipe away.

Step 2 - Try a Home-made Spot Cleaner

You can make a spot-cleaning agent to remove dried contact cement by mixing 1/4 cup of glycerin, 1/4 cup of clear liquid detergent, and two cups of water in a capped bottle. Mix it well, and then apply it to the contact cement stain with soft-bristled brush used in a circular motion.

WARNING: Remember to always wear a safety mask and rubber or latex gloves when dealing with the various chemicals used in these methods. Mineral spirits and acetone both give off powerful fumes, so you should also work in a well-ventilated area to protect your lungs as much as possible.