How to Get Glue off of Pictures

Compiling your photographs into albums allows you to organize them and group events and holidays in one place for future generations to look at. Often, especially in older albums, the photos are held in place with glue, making it difficult to remove them if you want to reorganize an album or simply put photos into a newer one. Getting the glue off the photos must be done carefully to prevent damaging them, particularly if the glue is on the front of the photo. Several methods work for loosening glue, and you may have to use more than one method to effectively remove all the adhesive from your photos.

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Safely removing glue from old photos preserves them for future family members.

Step 1

Scrape the glue gently with your fingernail. This method is the least damaging to your photos, and trying it first may eliminate the need for any of the other methods.

Step 2

Aim a blow-dryer at the photo. Use a low heat setting, which is safer for your pictures. Slowly move the blow-dryer back and forth over the glue. The heat should help loosen it, allowing you to gently wipe it off with a dry paper towel.

Step 3

Place the pictures in a freezer bag and freeze them for several minutes. This is an effective way to harden the glue, which allows you to chip it off with your fingernail. Be careful if the glue is on the front of the photo because some of the picture may lift with the glue.

Step 4

Soak the pictures in lukewarm water for several minutes. This method poses the risk of ruining the pictures and should be used if other techniques don't work. This method works well for photos that won't come off the album page as well. Don't touch the front of the wet photos because it could result in smears to the ink. This method may cause your photos to curl. Once they are dry, place them between two heavy books to flatten them.

Step 5

Apply adhesive solvent to the glue. This method should be a last resort because the risk to your photos is high. Many types of adhesive solvents are available -- some that are sold for use on photos. Follow the directions on the package for the best results.