How to Remove Super Glue from Plastic
People often superglue their glasses together to keep them usable just a little bit longer, which is a great idea in theory. However, there is always that person who ends up gluing the wrong pieces together and needs to undo the mistake. Removing superglue from plastic can be tricky because many times the substances you use to separate the glue can also blemish your glued items. Cleaning bonding agents can be especially difficult if your plastic is has paint or veneer on its surface.
Removing adhesive from plastic is tough, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few solutions to separate superglue from whatever plastic surface it may be stuck to.
TIP: Soak your item in warm soapy water before making use of any chemicals; it can help undo some of the weaker superglue bonding the items together. Using soapy warm water can help loosen the superglue to give you a better chance of not hurting the plastic with too much harsh chemicals.
No matter the size of the job, acetone will get it done better than anything else. However, it is a harsh unbinding agent, so you if you want to keep the integrity of the item, you have to be careful. Acetone is recommended for use on plastic that can withstand a harsh unbinding agent, particularly because it is a paint thinner So, if you're planning on un-gluing something that has no paint or veneer on it, this can work well.
You can find acetone easily just about anywhere. Most people have it in their homes in the form of nail polish remover. You can even find scented acetone products, so after you've un-glued the plastic items form each other, they won't have a harsh, leftover chemical scent.
Start by diluting the acetone with water and trying to unbind the glue, just a little bit of acetone will go a long way. Do not soak the item in acetone, because that will take off the paint of the item you are trying to de-glue.
Nitromethane component is a de-bonding agent that you can find at most hobby shops. This is another way to de-glue your plastic. This is a less harsh de-binder than acetone, so if you are planning on handling something fragile, like eye glasses, you may want to use this instead of acetone. It will be less likely to cause issues for something that is delicate.
It is often marketed as a de-glue solution, and it is unlikely that you'll find it in household items. It is often sold in small little tubes, but a little bit goes a long way.
It can be used the same way as acetone; simply get a cloth and rub a nitromethane component onto it. Try and use a diluted version first so that you can do as little damage to the item that you are trying to un-glue as possible.
There are some other ways for pulling apart superglued plastic items that don't require chemicals, just a bit of elbow grease.
One option is to use a razor blade. This is often best for people who have used excess superglue and now have a mess underneath what they were trying to bond together. Just use the razor blade and run it along and underneath the excess glue so that you can lift it from the item that you are trying to clean. You can also use a plastic razor blade if you are worrying about cutting yourself. This is a little more blunted than the metal razor, but it can work as well.
You could also use a product called "Goo Gone," which removes sticky leftover adhesives. While it is meant for removing the messy adhesive left on your surface after peeling off a sticker or tape, it can loosen up superglue, making it easier to scrape with a blade. It is also gentle enough to leave your plastic surface undamaged.