How to Remove Super Glue

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Razor blades, screwdriver, or knife
Mineral spirits
Acetone, denatured alcohol, or lighter fluid
Rag
Toothbrush
Fabric stain remover

Super glue does a “super” job of gluing objects together, even those things you may not want adhered. When it comes to removing the Super Glue brand of glue, or other powerful adhesives like Gorilla Glue, there are many factors to take into account—mainly what the glue is attached to.

1. Glass

If your super oops is on glass, wait for it to dry, then use the edge of a razor to gently scrape it off. Keep the blade as flat as possible to avoid scratching the glass, and move slowly across the surface. When the glue comes loose, use a standard glass cleaner to clean the area.

2. Fingers

One of the most common places where Super Glue removal is required is on the hands. Sometimes this process is as easy as peeling a bit off the tip of your fingers. Again, wait until the glue dries. Since this is typically only a few seconds, that’s not a problem.

Try grabbing the edge of the glue layer using other fingers or tweezers. Pull the glue away from your skin. If it's still tightly adhered, try soaking your hands in warm water for 30 to 60 seconds to loosen the glue and try peeling again.

superglue applicator touching fingers

Typically Super Glue isn’t too difficult to remove from your hands, but if you have a larger patch of skin covered with the adhesive, try softening it with mineral spirits. If that doesn’t do the trick, move onto acetone. This is most commonly found in nail polish remover, although you may have it around in the pure form.

Apply a drizzle of acetone directly to the glue and allow it to sit for a few minutes. The glue should begin to lift from the surface. At this point, you can continue to let it peel off on its own or gently rub the area with an emery board. Wash your hands thoroughly to remove all acetone from your skin.

3. Metal

Acetone applied using a rag is often the most efficient means of removing Super Glue from metal surfaces. Saturate the cloth and hold it on the glue until it dissolves. Then wipe the surface to make sure all remnants are gone.

acetone solvent

If you don’t have acetone, you can employ the same technique using denatured alcohol or lighter fluid instead. You can use the razor blade method, but be warned that metal scratches easily, so it’s not recommended for finishes you don’t want scratched.

4. Plastic

When Super Glue adheres to plastic, you again may be able to scrape it off with a razor or the tip of a screwdriver or knife. For the best results, soak a soft cloth in soapy water and apply the rag to the glue on the plastic surface, leaving it to soak and soften for a few hours. Then blot the surface to remove the glue.

If this doesn’t work, you can use rubbing alcohol or acetone, but note that either can damage the surface of the plastic. Test in an inconspicuous spot if you’re concerned. Then blot and dab the glue with a soaked rag or cotton ball to remove the adhesive.

5. Fabric

Perhaps one of the most challenging surfaces from which to remove Super Glue is fabric clothing, linens, or upholstery. Again, acetone is the best solution. Begin by rinsing the item with water. Then use an old toothbrush to rub at the glue spot. This will help loosen the material. Next, use the toothbrush to apply acetone, either in its pure form or using nail polish remover with acetone.

acetone nail polish remover on a small rag

Note that pure acetone is more likely to discolor synthetic fabrics. Once the glue is removed, spot treat with a fabric stain remover and wash normally (in the case of clothes).

6. Wood

Your wood table, bookcase, or patio furniture may be the least forgiving surface when it comes to removing Super Glue. Again, acetone is your best option, but it could damage the wood’s finish. You can also scrape, again being careful not to scratch the wood’s surface. Another option is to sand away the glue spots, which will require a follow up in the form of new stain or paint to protect the wood.