How to remove glue from clothing

How to Remove Glue and Superglue From Clothes

Glues can be a lifesaver when it comes to fixing broken items or creating crafts, but when they accidentally come in contact with clothing, they can be a major headache to remove.

Don’t panic though, with a bit of quick action and the right tools, you can safely and effectively remove most types of glue stains. From PVA to superglue, these tips will help you save your clothes and avoid expensive replacements.

How to remove water-based glue from clothes

As a parent or caregiver of a school-going child, you know that most arts and crafts projects rely heavily on PVA glue. From making those colourful handmade cards to fixing parts of their DIY toys, the opportunities for your little one to mess up with the sticky stuff are seemingly endless.

But that also means one thing: removing glue stains from school uniforms, home clothes, and carpets. The good thing about it though is that it’s pretty easy to remove water-based glues from fabrics.

What you’ll need

  • Coldwater
  • Bowl or tub
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Regular laundry detergent
  • Blunt object/scrapper (dull knife or an unused store card)

Step 1: Flood with water

For starters, if the glue is still wet, remove as much of it as possible by flooding the affected part with cold water. This is most effective if you turn the glued garment over and pour the water onto the stain from the back of the fabric.

Step 2: Scrape

If the glue has already dried, use a blunt object to scrape off as much as you can. Take care not to tear the fabric.

Step 3: Apply detergent

Apply a small amount of your desired laundry detergent to the stained area. Carefully rub it in with microfibre cloth. Soak your garment in cold water and leave it for 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Wash

Wash the garment in cool or warm water to remove the final residue.

Step 5: Repeat

If the stain is still there, repeat steps 2-4. In most cases though, all you need is to run your clothes through the washer one more time to get the work done.

What gets super glue out of clothes?

When you want to fix broken items at home, superglue is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This adhesive has an extremely strong hold which begs the question, is it possible to remove its stains from clothes?

Yes, by using acetone. This is a key ingredient in most nail polish removers and one of the few chemicals that’s known to dissolve super glue.

Also known as propane or dimethyl ketone, acetone is a highly flammable, naturally-occurring colourless liquid with a characteristic sweet scent. It can be found in many stain removers today.

Apart from removing superglue from clothes, acetone can also help with the following:

  • Removing lipstick from clothes.
  • Removing oil-based paint stains from carpets
  • Cleaning wax from wool garments
  • Removing gum from clothes

You can buy acetone either in its pure form or in products like nail polish removers. Some of the places to find it include cosmetic shops, hardware and craft shops, supermarkets, and online stores such as Amazon.

How to remove super glue from clothes

Superglue stains on fabric can be tougher to remove compared to their water-based counterparts. But there’s no need to panic if spills happen – we have a quick fix for you.

What you’ll need

  • Cotton buds
  • Acetone-based solvent (nail polish remover)
  • Scraper
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Water

Step 1: Allow the glue to dry

Allow the superglue to dry on its own before attempting to remove it from your fabric.

Step 2: Remove excess glue

Place your cloth on a hard surface and scrape off the glue using a blunt object such as the edge of a spoon or your fingernail. Do not expect to remove as much residue as you would when dealing with water-based glues.

Step 3: Test your garment

Before using acetone on your garment, test to see if the solution has the potential to discolour it. Soak a cotton bud with 100 percent acetone and apply it on an inconspicuous area of your cloth like the seam or hem. Should you notice any disintegration or discolouration, disregard the rest of this tutorial and take your garment to a professional dry cleaner.

Step 4: Apply solvent

If no discolouration occurs, it’s time to apply the acetone-based solvent to the stained area. Dip a cotton swab in the chemical and use it to wipe the stain gently. Ideally, it takes about 10-15 minutes for superglue to soften, but this can vary depending on the amount of glue or the type of fabric.

Step 5: Scrape

Once the stain softens, scrape it off again the same way you did during step one. However, avoid using your fingernail if you’re wearing nail polish as acetone may dissolve the polish and stain your clothes.

Step 6: Wash

The final step should be a cycle in the washing machine. For the best results, use a powerful laundry detergent to eliminate any remaining residue. Rinse your cloth and let it air dry where possible. You can also pat it dry with a towel or use a dryer if you’re in a hurry.

The do’s and don’ts of glue removal


  • Consult a cleaning professional if the fabric affected by the glue stain is delicate. These include silk, sheers, and lace materials.
  • Test your garment for colour fastness by applying your preferred remover on a small, inconspicuous part before using it on the actual stain.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear like aprons to avoid getting superglue stains. The easiest way to treat these kinds of stains is prevention.
  • Contact the glue manufacturer for further directions if these tips fail you.


  • Don’t attempt to remove super glue from your clothing before it’s completely dry.
  • Don’t try to rush the drying process using high heat. Doing so will set the stain and make it even more difficult to remove.
  • Don’t try using the methods described here on clothes designated as ‘dry-clean only’. Consult a cleaning professional for those.


Removing glue and superglue from clothes doesn’t have to be a difficult or impossible task. All you need is a bit more time on laundry day and some tips to get rid of the stains. To recap, here’s everything it takes:

  1. Gather the right tools and products needed for effective glue stain removal.
  2. Be patient, when dealing with superglue allow stains to dry before attempting to remove them.
  3. Take the necessary precautions to avoid discolouring or tearing the fabric.
  4. Apply water or acetone to soften the glue.
  5. Remove any glue residue with a scraper.
  6. Wash your clothes thoroughly and let them air dry where possible.

Q: What materials do I need to remove glue and superglue from clothes?

A: You will need a few basic materials, such as acetone, rubbing alcohol, dish soap, a plastic scraper or spoon, a toothbrush, and a clean cloth.

Q: Can I remove glue and superglue from any type of fabric?

A: The methods for removing glue and superglue may vary depending on the fabric type. Some fabrics, such as silk and leather, may require special care. It’s always best to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area first before treating the entire stain.

Q: How do I remove glue and superglue from clothes?

A: Depending on the type of glue, there are a few different methods you can try. For most glues, start by scraping off any excess glue with a plastic scraper or spoon. Then, apply a solution of acetone or rubbing alcohol to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing with a toothbrush. Rinse with cold water and repeat as needed. For superglue, soaking the fabric in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes may help loosen the glue before using acetone.

Q: What should I do if the glue stain is still visible?

A: If the stain is still visible after using the above methods, try repeating the process or using a stain remover. Avoid using hot water or a dryer as this may set the stain and make it more difficult to remove.

Q: Can I prevent glue and superglue stains from happening?

A: To prevent glue and superglue stains, it’s best to wear old clothes or an apron when working with these materials. You can also use protective gloves or place a protective layer of paper or plastic over your work surface.

Q: Is it safe to use acetone or rubbing alcohol on clothes?

A: Acetone and rubbing alcohol can be used to remove glue and superglue stains from clothes, but they can also damage some fabrics. It’s important to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area first before treating the entire stain. You should also avoid using acetone or rubbing alcohol on delicate fabrics like silk and leather.

Q: Can I use vinegar to remove glue and superglue stains from clothes?

A: While vinegar is a natural cleaning agent, it may not be strong enough to remove tough glue and superglue stains. Acetone or rubbing alcohol are generally more effective, but you can try using vinegar as a last resort.

Q: Can I use a washing machine to remove glue and superglue stains from clothes?

A: It’s best to avoid using a washing machine to remove glue and superglue stains from clothes. The heat and agitation of the washing machine can set the stain and make it more difficult to remove. Handwashing and gentle scrubbing are usually the most effective methods for removing glue and superglue stains from clothes.

Q: Can I use a hair dryer to dry the fabric after removing the glue?

A: It’s best to avoid using a hair dryer to dry the fabric after removing glue and superglue stains. The heat from the hair dryer can set the stain and make it more difficult to remove. Air drying or using a clean cloth to blot the fabric dry are safer options.

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