A polyurethane adhesive, traditional Gorilla Glue resembles expanding polyurethane foam in composition. If you've ever gotten any of this foam on your hands or clothing, you know how difficult it is to remove, and the same is true for Gorilla Glue. The Gorilla Glue Co. also manufactures Super Glue, more properly known as cyanoacrylate adhesive. The best way to remove either product from plastic is to use a sharp blade.
Removing Gorilla Glue
Polyurethane glue reacts with moisture in the air to expand and cure into a semi-hard consistency. Once the curing process is complete, you can't reverse it, and no solvent can dissolve the glue. If you can get to the glue before it cures, though, you should be able to wipe most of it away with a solvent.
Things You'll Need
Moisten a rag with acetone, alcohol or mineral spirits to remove fresh Gorilla Glue from plastic. Alcohol and mineral spirits are generally safe, but acetone dissolves some plastics; test the solvent on an inconspicuous area before using it.
Wipe the glue away with the solvent-dampened rag.
Do not try to wipe the glue off with water. Water speeds the curing process of polyurethane glue -- any residue you leave will quickly harden.
Remove cured Gorilla Glue from a hard plastic surface with a razor knife or chisel. In most cases, this isn't difficult to do -- polyurethane turns foamy when it cures and is relative easy to cut and break apart. You can also pick at the dried glue with your fingers or a pair of pliers, which is probably the best way to remove it from soft plastic.
Clean residue from the surface using a spray lubricant and an abrasive sponge. The lubricant weakens the glue bond, allowing you to rub the glue off more easily.
Removing Gorilla Super Glue
Cyanoacrylate glue has an important weakness -- acetone dissolves it. Unfortunately, acetone may also dissolve the plastic to which the glue is stuck, so it's important to conduct a test, especially if the plastic in question is polystyrene, from which plastic containers, disposable razors and other common items are made.
If it's safe to use acetone, dab it on the glue with a cotton swab, wait for it to work and rub the glue off with a rag. If it isn't safe, scrape off the glue with a razor knife, chisel or other implement appropriate for the surface in question.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.