How to Remove Gorilla Glue From Plastic

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.

Removal Procedure

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Wipe the glue away with the solvent-dampened rag.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Chris Deziel

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.