Things You'll Need
Don't be afraid to try acetone-based nail-polish remover before buying more expensive adhesive-removal solvents. Polymers, such as those in most nail polishes, are used in many adhesives and may be dissolved with nail-polish remover.
Store solvents where they cannot be accessed by children. Work in a well-ventilated area. Protect your skin from contact with solvents.
Removing old glue from a porcelain piece, such as a figurine or teacup, can be a matter of trial and error. Unless you are the person who initially applied the glue, you cannot be sure of the type of glue that was used. Fortunately, commercially available adhesive-removal solvents are made to perform well on a variety of glue types. Once you apply the adhesive-removal solvent, you usually have to give it a little time to penetrate the glue. You can then remove the glue with a rag or a brush. This is a simple process that you can complete in minutes.
Scrape off as much glue as possible with a razor blade. Hold the blade nearly parallel to the surface when scraping to prevent scratching the piece. By removing glue with a blade, the adhesive-removal solvent will be able to penetrate residual glue, making it easier to remove.
Wet a cotton swab with water. Rub the swab on the glue, then wait 30 seconds. If the glue becomes tacky, it is water-based, and you can dissolve and remove it with water. If the glue remains hard, you will have to remove it with a specialized solvent.
Test the adhesive-removal solvent on an inconspicuous area of the porcelain piece. Dip a cotton swab in the solvent and apply it on a very small area to make sure it doesn't remove paint from the piece. According to the manufacturer's directions, you may have to wait before wiping the solvent from the piece. Wipe the solvent with a clean rag. If you are satisfied that the solvent will not damage the piece, you can use it to remove the glue.
Apply solvent to the glued surface with the corner of a rag or a swab. Wait for the solvent to penetrate and soften the glue according to the manufacturer's directions. If a film of glue remains on the porcelain, you may have to remove it in layers. Reapply the solvent, wait and wipe.
Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.