Super glue can be quite handy. You can use it to fix just about anything without worrying about it breaking again — once the glue touches a surface, it’s there to stay.
Get it on the wrong surface, however, and you’ve got a problem, especially if the said surface is plastic.
How to Remove Super Glue From Plastic
As someone who loves DIY projects, I often end up having to remove stray drops of glue. I’ve tried everything from peeling, scratching, and scraping the glue off to thinning and dissolving it.
Here’s what I’ve found works best, summed up as seven useful tips on how to remove super glue from plastic.
1. Scrape It Off
Before bringing out the dissolver and acetone, I usually try just scraping the glue off. This approach is best when dealing with plastic that has a coating easily damaged by harsh chemicals.
Use your nails, a butter knife, or a razor blade to lift the edge of the glue stain. Then, arm yourself with some patience and start rolling it off. Removing the glue this way may take some time, but it’s your best bet if you want to keep the item intact.
2. Sand It Away
If you’re wondering how to remove super glue from plastic and maintaining surface integrity isn’t a top priority, using sandpaper is a sound option. Any fine grit sandpaper will do — just use light circular motions to sand the glue patch away.
3. Soak It in Water
While relatively gentle, the previous method can still damage more delicate objects. When dealing with particularly fragile surfaces, it’s best to soften the glue first. Just dip a towel in warm water and apply it over the glue patch. Let it soak for a couple of hours, and the glue should be soft enough to remove.
4. Use Vinegar or Vegetable Oil
We’ve tried scraping the glue off, peeling it off, and soaking it in water, but it won’t budge. What now? If nothing has worked so far and you’re still wondering how to remove super glue from plastic, don’t panic — there are a few more things we could do.
Before resorting to harsh chemicals like acetone and various commercial glue removers, it’s worth trying to soften the glue with something milder — vinegar, for example. So brace yourself for the smell and soak a small piece of cloth (or a cotton pad) in diluted vinegar.
Use kitchen foil to seal the area and wait a few hours for the glue to soften. Then, try clearing it away with a damp cloth.
5. Dissolve It in Acetone
Sometimes, no amount of elbow grease will be enough to remove a glue stain. In such cases, we’ll need something stronger than water or vinegar to break down the glue.
Acetone, for example, is easily accessible in the form of nail polish remover and can act as a powerful unbinding agent. Use an acetone-soaked cotton ball to blot the glue off. This method can easily damage items with a veneer, so proceed with caution.
6. Use Rubbing Alcohol
While not as powerful as acetone, rubbing alcohol can also get the job done. Use a soft cloth or a cotton ball to apply it to the glue stain, let it soak for a couple of minutes, and start blotting away.
7. Substitute Rubbing Alcohol for Nitromethane
Nitromethane is a milder but still powerful alternative to both rubbing alcohol and acetone. You can find it in most hardware stores in the form of a de-gluer. So for all of you wondering how to remove super glue from plastic that has some sort of coating, this is your best option.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Acetone and rubbing alcohol can be highly effective unbinding agents — so effective, in fact, that they can start breaking down, not just the glue, but the item itself. That is why I’d recommend doing a patch test first.
Pick your dissolver of choice and apply a tiny drop on a less visible area of the object you’re trying to “deglue.” Wait a few hours and examine the spot. If the surface is intact and there’s no discoloration, congratulations — you’re good to go!
Super glue is meant to last, which makes getting rid of it tricky business. I’m speaking from experience — I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to “deglue” various items throughout my journey as a DIY lover. So keep the above tips in mind, and you’ll never find yourself asking how to remove super glue from plastic again.