Superglue is one of the handiest inventions of our time. It can do anything from reattaching the handle of a broken coffee cup to replacing the gemstones in costume jewelry and always comes through in a pinch. However, superglue's greatest strength (no pun intended) is also the worst part about using it—it sticks to absolutely everything. While this is great when you’re trying to piece together your grandmother’s shattered Christmas ornament, it’s not great when the glue ends up in the wrong spot, especially on plastic.
If you find yourself with an unintentional super glue job, it can be easy to panic, but don’t. There are ways to remove superglue from plastic surfaces so that minimal damage is done. Read on to find out how to remove superglue from plastic.
Precautions to Take When Removing Super Glue
Remember, superglue is not kid-friendly and should always be used with the utmost caution, especially around the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. Superglue also grips tightly to surfaces, running the risk of removing the finish on your plastic when you clean it off.
Equipment / Tools
- 5 cotton balls or cotton rounds
- 1 old rag or towel
- 1 pair rubber or disposable gloves
- 1 bottle acetone
How to Remove Superglue From Plastic
Protect the Surrounding Area
To remove the superglue, you’ll need to use acetone, a solvent that quickly and easily breaks down various substances—even the most stubborn ones. To avoid damaging the surfaces in your home, grab an old towel or rag and lay it down over the area you’ll be using to treat your glue mess.
Acetone is extremely strong, flammable, and strips the color out of virtually everything (which is why it’s the active ingredient in most standard nail polish removers).
Put on Personal Protective Equipment
Acetone is also extremely drying to the skin and will remove everything from the finish on your table to your manicure, if you have one. Protect your hands with a pair of rubber or disposable gloves. Once you’ve covered your space and yourself, you’re ready to start treating the glue.
Soak Cotton in Acetone
Grab a cotton ball or round and soak it in acetone. You can hold the cotton against the top of the acetone bottle, plugging the opening, quickly flip the bottle over to soak the cotton, and flip it back. This will minimize the contact the acetone has with your skin or your treatment area.
Acetone dries very quickly, so you’ll want to get the cotton adequately soaked and may need to use more than one ball or round, depending on how much glue you need to remove.
Dab the Superglue
Using your soaked cotton pad, dab at the superglue and allow the acetone to do its work. Continue to resoak and dab, gently wiping away the excess glue as it dissolves. You may need to use an additional cloth, rag or cotton pad to wipe away any stickiness.
Use More Acetone if Necessary
Following these steps and you're still stuck? Be sure you have adequate protection around the item you’re trying to de-glue, and pour a very small amount of acetone directly on to the spot. It should only take a few seconds for the solvent to do its work. Be mindful of acetone soaking through any towels or other protective equipment you have set up.
Additional Tips For Removing Super Glue From Plastic
- Can't get your hands on pure acetone? No problem. There are several other solvents you can use to dissolve super glue. Nail polish remover comes with a substantial amount of acetone in it and works great in a pinch. You can also try white vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
- WD-40 Multi-Use Product is also great for removing super glue from plastic. Spray WD-40 directly on to the glue and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, rub the excess stickiness away with a damp cloth.