Super glue comes in handy for making repairs but isn't so convenient when it drips or spills. While it's easy to apply, super glue can be a headache to remove from skin, fabric and other surfaces. Fortunately, all isn't lost and you can remove super glue from your surfaces with a few household products.
Nitromethane, a solvent found in most hobby shops, is the recommended product for removing super glue from plastic. Put a small amount of the debonding agent on a cotton swab or piece of cloth and blot until no glue remains. Wash the item with soap and water to remove any remaining residue. If the item is fragile, try testing a small amount of the debonding agent on a hidden area or a similar product.
Acetone, a solvent found in nail polish remover, can dissolve super glue from almost any surface. Even so, it's important to note that acetone can damage or stain certain surfaces. When using acetone to remove super glue from wood, it's best to start out slow. Dampen a cotton swab with a small amount of acetone and gently wipe the stained area until no more glue remains. Make sure there isn't so much acetone on the swab that it causes drips that can stain your wood. When no more glue remains, wipe the affected area with a damp cloth.
Acetone can stain certain fabrics. Before using acetone to remove super glue from clothing, do a test on a hidden area. If there's no discoloration, apply a small amount of acetone to the glue stain using a cotton swab or cloth. Dab lightly until there's no more glue and launder the item as usual. If some glue remains before laundering, apply a pretreatment stain spray and let it sit for a few minutes before laundering.
If you don't want to take a chance using acetone on fabric, you can try to scrape the stain off. Wait until the glue dries completely and scrape off as much as possible using a blunt item like a butter knife or spoon. When there's no more glue, you can launder as usual.
If a stain still exists after taking the item out of the wash, don't put it in the dryer. The heat can cause a stain to set. Pretreat it with a stain solution and launder again.
To remove super glue from glass, soak the stain in warm water until it's soft and loosens from the glass. You can use a damp cloth to lift the glue off the glass followed by glass cleaner to remove any remaining residue. Acetone can cause damage to glass and isn't recommended for this type of surface.
If you have super glue on your skin, don't pull it off because it can tear the skin. Instead, dab the affected area with a cotton ball soaked with acetone. When there's no more glue, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
If you don't have acetone, soak the area in warm water until the glue is soft. Use a finger to roll the softened glue until it comes off the affected area. Once you remove all the glue, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Before using super glue, read all safety precautions on the package. Only use super glue in a well-ventilated area and avoid getting it on the skin. If super glue drips on a table, counter, your skin or another surface, it doesn't have to mean the surface is a lost cause. With some patience and elbow grease, you can restore the surface back to its original state.
Deb Ng is a freelance writer and published author with over 17 years of experience in creating content for the web. Prior to her freelance career, she worked for over 12 years in traditional (print) publishing. In her spare time, Deb is an avid gardener who loves nothing more than bringing flowers and vegetables to life. She doesn't have as much time to spend outside as she'd like, however, because she's also assisting her husband with the DIY projects needed to complete their family home. See Deb's gardening and home improvement articles at LoveToKnow, Wisegeek, and Alloy.