Super glue is a quick fix for any broken bits and pieces of plastic, but what happens when you have a spill? If you get a little over-enthusiastic with your gluing, you might have a mess on your hands that you’re not sure how to clean up. Knowing how to dissolve super glue from plastic can save a beloved crafting project, a cherished memento, or even your entire day.
Removing super glue from plastic is tough but not impossible. With a little dedication, hard work, and the right materials, you might just be able to remove it.
Removing super glue from plastic involves scraping and applying chemicals. Certain solvents and temperatures work to melt the glue and separate the objects your glue is holding together. Before using any chemicals or sharp objects, you should soak the object in warm, soapy water to soften it up.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the process of removing super glue from plastic including safety tips and best practices for the chemicals and tools we’ll be using.
Removing Super Glue from Plastic
We all know super glue is very tough, and if you’ve followed our recommendations for the best super glue for plastic, it’ll be almost impossible to remove. But don’t worry, because there are a few tips and tricks you could use to learn how to remove super glue from plastic in a pinch.
You might have to roam around some stores in search of the right ingredients to get this work done, but it’s well worth it because these methods are absolute day-savers. If you’re careful and precise, your efforts will likely pay off.
It’s important to note that, unlike metal, plastic is a bit less tolerant to chemical methods for removing super glue. Try the soap and water technique we explain first before moving to more serious tactics.
Tools to remove super glue from plastic
Here’s a list of tools you’ll need to remove super glue from plastic. We’re going to talk about each of the methods in turn, but this is a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to tackle that tricky glue. We’ve included a couple of links for you to pick them up easily over at Amazon.
- Cotton balls
- Razors or X-acto knife
- Plastic wrap
- Dish soap
- Glue remover
- Rubbing alcohol
Check out this great video for a demonstration of how each item is used while we explain how to remove super glue from plastic.
Soap and water
Soaking your item with warm, soapy water is the best first step to removing super glue from plastic.
- Fill a bowl with warm water and dish soap.
- Submerge the item if possible. Otherwise, grab and prepare your cloth and plastic wrap.
- Soak the cloth in the mixture, then wrap it around the glue.
- Hold it in place with the plastic wrap and let it sit for at least three hours.
The glue should soften, making removal easier.
Sometimes, this can be all it takes to remove super glue from plastic, but often you’ll need to try other techniques.
Using a razor or X-acto knife to remove super glue from plastic
For excess glue, you want to consider scraping it away with a sharp edge.
Using a knife, carefully chisel off excess glue. This can be done before soaking the glue in warm, soapy water or afterward. Be very careful not to hurt yourself when doing this. Try not to damage the plastic – or yourself! Consider wearing thick, protective gloves, and always scrape away from yourself.
Acetone or Isopropyl Alcohol
Acetone is a chemical paint thinner and remover found in hardware stores, but it can also be found in drugstores as nail polish remover. 100% acetone is a strong chemical, and a little bit of it can go a long way to removing super glue from plastic.
Acetone can damage the color of any plastic object, especially if you’ve spray painted it yourself, so to be safe, it’s best to dilute it with some water. Soaking a plastic object in acetone directly is not recommended.
Isopropyl alcohol is a bit more gentle, but you should use a cotton ball to apply chemicals to your super glue, rubbing to remove.
Glue remover, also known by the chemical name nitromethane, is an obvious choice to try to remove super glue from plastic. Brands include Goo Gone, 3M, and Elmer’s.
To remove super glue from plastic using glue remover, follow the instructions on the package. Generally, you will apply the remover using a cloth and allow it to sit for five minutes. Then, you’ll wipe the glue remover off and use warm, soapy water to rinse any excess chemicals left behind.
While acetone can be very harsh and may damage smaller, flimsier plastic objects, nitromethane is formulated to remove glue. So, it’s a far safer choice, especially if the glue you want to remove is somewhere important like the interior of your car or on a pair of headphones. However, as with any chemical, be careful and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Safely removing super glue from plastic
Of course, we want to discuss some safety tips with you. You’re working with sharp objects and chemicals, so in addition to a little common sense, follow these basic guidelines along with any instructions on the product labels.
- Work in well-lit, ventilated areas
- Wipe off chemical residue as soon as possible
- Wear hand and eye protection at all times
- Wash hands after use
- Store chemicals properly
- Be careful with sharp edges
If you cut yourself, take immediate steps to sanitize and dress the wound.
Dissolve super glue from plastic FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about how to remove super glue from plastic.
Does WD-40 remove super glue?
WD-40 is a great choice to try and remove super glue. Simply spray it on and wipe it right off. Use a few applications.
Can vinegar remove super glue from plastic?
Because vinegar is acidic, it will eventually remove super glue from plastic by dissolving the bond. You’ll need to soak your item in vinegar, then scrape the glue away.
Does acetone hurt plastic?
Acetone can be damaging to plastic, so use caution and watch for any signs of distress on your item.
How to remove super glue from plastic – final thoughts
Now that you know a little about how to remove super glue from plastic, it’s time to get out there and tackle all the projects that have built up on your to-do list.
These tips aren’t just for crafting. These techniques to remove super glue can be used on so many surfaces. With a little know-how, you’ll easily get those items looking brand new.