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Adhesives are an important part of the DIY and industrial sectors of our lives. It is unavoidable in most cases unless screws and bolts are required instead. Even though there are adhesives that dry and cure transparently, there are some cases where too much glue was applied, or the surface it was applied to was too slippery so it ran down the side. Sometimes this goes unnoticed and dried glue dribbles are running down the side of your project, ruining the aesthetic. Alternatively, you may need to remove the adhesive used to make old wallpaper or floor vinyl stick. We will discuss the best adhesive remover for each task, from floor adhesive remover, wallpaper adhesive remover, and all the glue cleaners that we think are worthy of recommendation. Keep reading for some extensive knowledge of glue removers and the instructions on how to use these adhesive removers.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Adhesive Removers?
- 2 Things to Consider When Buying Your Adhesive Remover
- 3 Different Types of Adhesive Removers
- 4 Application Type
- 5 Best Adhesive Remover
- 6 Instructions for Using Adhesive Removers
- 7 Various Adhesive Residue Removal Methods
- 8 Glue Remover for Different Surfaces
- 9 Alternative Cleaning Methods
- 10 Best Application Methods for Adhesive Remover
- 11 Household Adhesive Removers
- 12 Tips to Follow When Applying Adhesive Remover
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Adhesive Removers?
The bond that adhesives create is often impenetrable and unbreakable. Where this is usually exactly what you expect when using glue, there is also the frustration when the glue gets somewhere where it is not meant to, or maybe you want to remove glue to fix something or improve it. Adhesive removers or glue removers will do exactly as their name suggests, they remove glue or other adhesives. Glue cleaners are formulas designed to take away spilled, or excess glue stains by dissolving them.
Not all glues are made the same and the same applies to their removers. Some are suitable for certain types of glue but might not work for others. These cleaners can also damage the surface you are cleaning the glue from, so make sure to read the label for what materials it is okay to use on. Glue cleaners tend to make the hardened glue into a more putty-like texture so that they can be peeled away easily.
Where Can I Apply Adhesive Remover?
You might never have thought to use a glue cleaner before this, but now that you are brought to light on this, where on earth should I use them? For your benefit, we have made a few suggestions of where this type of cleaning solution might be used.
Using Adhesive Removers at Home
If you have teenagers at home, you might understand the frustration when they stick their posters on their bedroom walls, using the most unnecessary method to keep them up that just end up leaving behind these tacky adhesive marks. Or maybe your toddler found the glue stick and decided it was the perfect medium for their latest kitchen wall masterpiece. These are both very good reasons why you might want to use the best adhesive remover at home, to keep it pristine.
Adhesive removers are quite nifty in that they can remove grease and grime, so they are not limited to removing glue stains. Messy fingerprints on your walls will be as easy as pie to remove. It also works in removing spilled candle wax or even shoe polish!
Adhesive removers are quite nifty in that they are not just limited to removing glue stains, they can also be used to remove grease and grime. Messy fingerprints can easily be cleaned from walls, and these products are even effective in removing spilled candle wax or even shoe polish!
Using Adhesive Removers at Work
You might be someone who works as an interior decorator or renovator and glue removers might be the most often used cleaning detergent that you use. Even offices can appreciate the use of adhesive removers when deep cleaning or caring for their equipment. If you are a teacher, you might have had some experience with a permanent marker or chalk messes but these removers managed to sort it out right away.
Things to Consider When Buying Your Adhesive Remover
As we have mentioned before, there are various types of glues that are used for certain things, but there will also be a specifically designed adhesive remover that goes along with it. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you purchase the wrong cleaner.
Glue Remover Price
The prices of adhesive removers are a concern for a lot of people, particularly these days. We are aware of the temptation to spend less and choose the cheaper option, but we don’t advise that. Less money in this case usually means less efficiency. Less is not more in every situation, and the more expensive ones might end up saving you money in the long run.
Type of Formulation
There are three different categories that glue removers can be classified into which will have different strengths and abilities. These three types are:
- Citrus adhesive removers
- Soy adhesive removers
- Solvent-based adhesive removers
Each of these is perfect for certain types of glues. The surface that you are cleaning will also be influenced by the cleaner you choose, so make sure that you use the appropriate one.
Type of Surface
Certain surfaces are more sensitive or porous than others. They will require specific adhesive removers that will not damage them. As we always suggest, make sure you read the label of every product you use because there will be specifications on the type of surfaces to use it on and which not to use it on.
Different Types of Adhesive Removers
Just like it is important to know what adhesive removers to use for which surface, you must also bear in mind that certain glues are extremely strong so even though you want to save your surface, you must use a remover that is strong enough for the glue.
Citrus-Based Adhesive Removers
Not only do these cleaners have this amazing aroma when you are using them, which is way better than the solvent fumes we have to admit, but they are also amazingly non-toxic and friendly to the environment. 80% of their formulas are extracts of citrus fruits, then the remaining 20% are fluoride, halogen, sulfur, and lastly chloride which are all-natural, non-chemical compounds.
Solvent-Based Adhesive Removers
Goof Off adhesive remover is a great example of this type of glue cleaner. This is a chemical cleaner that will release toxic fumes, so make sure you are working in a ventilated area, or outside. Some of the chemicals you will find in these glue cleaners are xylene, toluene, naphtha, ethylbenzene, and benzene. This should be your last report on removing the adhesive from your surface because of how toxic it is. First, try the other two types of adhesive removers before this one.
You can dilute the solvents with water to reduce the strength of the solution.
Soy-Based Adhesive Removers
You guessed it! This type of adhesive remover is made from soybeans. It might also be a plant-based cleaner but it does make a stranger solution than the citrus classification, making them more suitable for industrial use than at home. If you are looking for floor adhesive remover for that vinyl flooring that you hate so much, then this is the right one to look out for. After you are done cleaning the adhesive, make sure to wash away the cleaner with water.
Not only are there three classifications for the different types of adhesive removers, but there are also three different consistencies that they come in making it easier for certain tasks. These consistencies are liquid, in a paste, or wiping with a cloth. Keep reading to find out more about each method.
Liquid or Spray Type
If the glue you are trying to remove is over a large area, you will benefit from using a spray adhesive remover. You can make a cloth nice can full of the spray so that you can manually rub it over the infected area, thus giving more control, or you can simply spray the cleaner over the problem area
This might be a more tricky method for application, not to mention messy, but it does do the job nicely. This type of adhesive remover will come packaged in a tube making it hard to get into those tricky to get to places.
If you have a messy glue mark on your skin, left behind from some super glue spill or something similar, this adhesive remover will be easy on your skin. They come in wipes, and as a solution that you must dip a cloth into to wipe over your skin.
Best Adhesive Remover
Now that we have discussed the different forms that adhesive removers come in, from the three different classifications soy, citrus, or solvent-based, as well as the different consistencies they come in, we can start to look at some of our favorite adhesive removers available on the market, like Goof Off adhesive remover.
Not only are adhesive removers remarkable inventions because they can dissolve the bond that glues create, but They are also able to remove all greasy, grimy, and down-right annoying stains that are otherwise impossible to clean with your standard home cleaning detergents. Let us take a look at some of our top picks.
Top General Purpose Adhesive Remover: 3M Adhesive Cleaner
This is one of the more chemical solutions that we are going to recommend today. It is highly potent in its formula, making it able to remove grease, paint, rein, tree sap, wax spills from candles, and even tar (the after is truly phenomenal). This product comes in either a spray canister or a quart container. Because of its highly potent chemical make-up, make sure that you are adorned with the proper protective gear like a ventilation mask, eye mask, gloves, and also ensure there is appropriate ventilation in the workspace.
Ultimate Home Use Adhesive Remover: GOO GONE Adhesive Remover
Goo Gone falls into the citrus classification of adhesive remover. Not only does it effectively clean off any sticky mess in your home, left by your toddler armed with a glue stick, or your teenagers armed with their posters and tack, it also leaves behind the most pleasant of smells because of their 80% citrus in the formula.
This product works with most materials, but we do advise testing it out on a non-visible section so that no damage is at risk. If you are looking for an effective floor adhesive remover, this product will do the job perfectly and effectively.
Best Medical Grade Adhesive Remover: HOLLISTER Adapt Medical Adhesive Remover
If you have ever had a wound that was dressed with a bandage and then some dressing tape to keep the bandage in place then this stuff will seem a miracle to use. The stickiness that is leftover after you remove the tape can be quite annoying, gathering dust and dirt and making a dark mark on your skin. Hollister sting-free adhesive remover is kin on all kinds of wounds and sensitive skin. It will not burn too much on your wound, making the removal of the adhesive tape a less terrifying affair.
This product is efficient in removing adhesives from your skin without containing any alcohol, which explains why it does not sting. It is a silicone-based product and it is fast-acting. This means that when you apply it to your skin, it will not take much time for the solution to start dissolving the glue. If you are in need to redress your wound with fresh bandages, you will first need to clean off the remaining sticky residue from the previous dressing tape that was used. This product is perfect for that, and generally sensitive skin.
A Summary of the Best Adhesive Removers
Some of us are more visual than literate, and some just prefer a good summary to shorten the reading load. We have made a table that lists the best adhesive removers and whether they are toxic or not.
|Brand of Adhesive Remover||Non-toxic||Toxic|
|Krud Kutter adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|Goof Off adhesive remover||✘||✓|
|Rapid Tac adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|Desolve It adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|Duck Brand adhesive remover||✘||✓|
|Goo Gone adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|Brava Spray adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|3M adhesive remover||✘||✓|
|Custom Shop Series adhesive remover||✘||✓|
|Uni Solve Wipes adhesive remover||✓||✘|
|Elmer’s Sticky Out adhesive remover||✓||✘|
Instructions for Using Adhesive Removers
Learning about all the different brands of adhesive removers, at least the ones that we recommended, is just the first part of the puzzle. Now we will move onto the practical side of things by discussing how to use them. By understanding this you will put the surface area you are treating at less risk of damage from the product.
First, we need to understand the surface you are working with. Certain materials will be more sensitive to certain detergents. Take a look at the surface and make sure you are dealing with a surface that is disguised to look like wood but is concrete – it has been done. Make sure you always read the label of your products to ensure it is suitable for that specific surface material.
As we have mentioned before, and probably will again, it is crucial that before you pay for the product online, or in-store, that you read the label very carefully. There you will find out its compatibility with the material you are trying to remove the glue from. This will prevent any damages caused by unnecessary chemicals in the solvent-based adhesive removers. We suggest being environmentally friendly and choosing a non-toxic product unless you need stronger chemicals.
There is an element of preparation with every activity you might undertake. In this case, we mean to get all the tools and equipment ready for the job that must be done. This includes your protective gear like the eye mask, ventilation mask, and gloves. This is to protect you in the case that you use a chemical-based adhesive remover. Make sure that you have the cleaner at hand, a bucket of soapy water, and a cloth or a sponge.
Applying the Solvent
Various types of adhesive removers also come in various consistencies. The three different consistencies, paste form, liquid-spray form, and the wipe-on form will have different methods for applying them. The spray foam can be quite messy and overspray is easily done. The paste form can also be quite messy because it must be manually applied, but some prefer one over the other. The wipe-on method is best for adhesive stains on your skin.
First test out the solvent you chose on a hidden piece of the material and make sure it does not cause any damage. You can use the spray-on method as a wipe-on method by spraying the solution into a cloth and manually rubbing it over the problem area. This will also give you more control over where the solution goes.
This is not the same solution and soap and water that will not have any negative impacts if left to dry when you are done cleaning. The soap might leave a make, but that could also be washed off again. This is not the case for adhesive removers, where you need to ensure it is washed off thoroughly so that the solvents do not continue to eat away at the surface you are treating.
Various Adhesive Residue Removal Methods
As we have discussed, there are different types of adhesive remover consistencies, and naturally, there would be a specific method for applying or using these different consistencies, respectively. Sometimes, a little soapy water is not going to do the trick, and you need a little more elbow grease or a chemical solvent or two to get the job done. Let us take a look at some of the best methods that you can use.
Have you ever used a paint scraper to remove old paint and plaster from a wall? Well, essentially you could do the same with old adhesive spill stains. If the surface you are working on is wooden, and therefore more prone to damage with this method, then make sure you put the scrapper at a safe angle with each scrape, ensuring no damage befalls your item.
If you find that the adhesive spill is more stubborn than you thought, it must be Gorilla glue again, then a solvent-based adhesive remover will get the job done. The chemicals or solvents in the formula of these glue cleaners help to break down or dissolve the hardened glue. This will make the rock-like glue into a more putty-like texture that can be peeled off. Other options are not as chemically and will not leave such an impact on the environment.
Always read the instructions on how to use solvents, and leave the recommended amount of time for the decomposition to occur, before you start to wipe away the glue spill. If this type of cleaning solution does not work, then isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol can be your next resort.
Make sure that you clean all solvent-based cleaning detergent from the surface you are treating to prevent further damage.
This might sound like an interesting method, but it is simply referring to temperature. To use this method, one must put the surface that has the ugly stain on it under some intense heat, but be very careful if you attempt this with a glass surface. The glue will start to soften and turn gummy under the heat and you will be able to peel it off the surface easily.
Glue Remover for Different Surfaces
Now we can begin the discussion about the different surface materials that you might want to treat for glue spill stains. We have mentioned before that certain materials will react differently to certain cleaning supplies but we will now go into more detail on the topic. Regardless of what you learn in this section, we always suggest for you test out the solvent or solution on a hidden part of the item and see if it is going to cause damage or not.
Using Adhesive Remover on Wood
Wooden surfaces are one of the most porous materials available. Because of this, adhesive removers need to be kind on the surface, particularly if it is not treated. Make sure to read the label of the adhesive remover and make sure it will not cause and leave behind any damage.
Removing Adhesive From Metal
Metal is not as porous as wood, luckily, and the best cleaner for sticky glue stains or even hardened super glue stains would be isopropyl alcohol, which is otherwise known as 100% rubbing alcohol and is often used in cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment. Pour the isopropyl over the area, wait for a little bit and then start scraping it away with a scraper, or you can dip a cloth into the rubbing alcohol and rub it over the sticky stain until it is gone.
This method will involve toxic fumes, so ensure that you have enough ventilation in the room you are working in. Ideally, do this type of work outdoors.
Removing Adhesive From Plastic
Plastic can easily be damaged by using cleaning chemicals that are too strong for the structure to withstand. If you use strong chemicals on softer plastics, you might start to see some discoloration or even cracks start to form. Make sure that you use a less-harmful method like water and soap that is warmed to a certain degree. If the soap and water fail to remove the adhesive, then you can try a vinegar or bicarb solution instead.
Alternative Cleaning Methods
Maybe you do not have the time to get to the shops and buy the right cleaning solution, but that is not the end of the world, as there are some alternative cleaning methods you can use that are more easily accessible in most homes.
Using a Wet Cloth
Take a container and add some water and a small amount of household detergent, then wet a cloth or kitchen sponge with the solution. Now rub the surface with the wet cloth to remove the residue. Do not soak the wood too much, as it could result in the wood warping or swelling.
Chemical Solvent Adhesive Removers
Okay, we are aware that this is not the most environmentally friendly at all, but it is one of the items that is commonly found in most households between the first-aid kit and the work-shed outside. You can use the pouring and soaking method, finishing off with scraping the glue stain off. Or you can soak a cloth in the solvent and rub it off manually.
Both are effective application methods and both require ample amounts of ventilation and protective gear so that you do not damage your skin or lungs by breathing in too many fumes.
Have you noticed how soapy water that is warm is more effective than cold soapy water? Or how do clothes dry better when the sun is out and the weather is warm? The same applies to removing adhesive stains. If you put a hairdryer over it on the highest heat setting, it will start to loosen and soften the stickiness of it and you will be able to scrape it off.
Maybe you are not the type of home that has a glue remover in their pantry, but some do! We think it worth advising to keep some of these products at home because you never know when you might need to use them. We have mentioned some of our favorite glue removers that are available on the market.
Again, sandpaper is not something that every person has at home, particularly students or young adults in apartments with minimal space. Sandpaper is a versatile material that can be used for many things including the removal of adhesive stains. Once you have it, you can reuse the sandpaper a certain amount of times for whatever project comes to mind. If you choose this method, look out for sandpaper with a grit of 120 to 220.
Removing Adhesive from Fabric
This can be the most daunting task for most people because our clothes are very important to each of us. Some items might be more fragile and along with that, sentimental, which means trying to remove any glue marks from the fabric without damaging it is very important. Do not use too vigorous movements so that you do not tear the fabric or the seams of the garment. One method we can suggest is to soak the piece of clothing in diluted ammonia.
Take note that ammonia is very dangerous if used incorrectly. Or, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer – we all have some of that lying around our homes these days.
Removing Adhesive from Glass
The adhesive that has found its way onto glass can be very annoying because it steals away the transparency. Acetone Is a great and very effective solution that you can use to remove the sticky mess. Once applied, it will act fast, so you can rub an acetone-infused cloth over the stain and it will come right off.
Best Application Methods for Adhesive Remover
Now for the part where we discuss the actual application or use of the products that we have suggested. We have previously discussed the method for removing the glue, but not how each product can be applied in the three different types – liquid spray, paste-on, and wipe-on.
Soak and Wipe Application Method
This method is similar to how we described the isopropyl method. You can put on the cleaning solution, wait a few moments or minutes (depending on the label’s instructions per manufacturer), and then you can use a paper towel or a cloth to wipe away what has broken down.
Spraying Application Method
The spray-on method is very helpful when you are working with a large surface area. This might apply to removing wallpaper adhesive, or even vinyl flooring adhesive. This is quite an easy application as all that is required is holding the nozzle down and spraying the detergent over the sticky mess.
Scrape Application Method
Scraping can be one of the most effective methods for removing adhesive stains. We must warn you, that some surface materials are not as strong as others and that will leave behind some terrible marks if you are not careful with your movements.
Household Adhesive Removers
The world is evolving and so are humans and our understanding of this planet we call home. With this evolution, we have found that a lot of the products we have used in our recent past have had massive negative impacts on the environment. If you are concerned about this, you can always opt for some products that are generally found in most households. These can be just as effective in some cases as the more chemical-based solutions that are quite toxic to our world and or selves. Here are some of the alternatives that we find are the most effective.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which breaks down the bond of the glue. Apply a substantial amount of vinegar to the glue residue, and it should start to dissolve the glue straightaway. You should now be able to wipe or scrape the glue off and wash the surface clean. Our grandparents used vinegar for so many household remedies. Flies do not stand a chance with vinegar, and neither does that annoying adhesive stain. You can apply it using a similar method to the isopropyl soak, wait, then scrape technique.
If all other methods have failed you, maybe adding some oil to grease up the stickiness might do the trick. Pour a decent amount over the problem area and leave it for a few minutes before you wipe it away. You can begin wiping when you notice the glue and the oil blending.
This is one of the most bizarre options for removing adhesive marks that we have for you today, but surprisingly effective. If You are not a fan of peanut butter then you might not try this, but you would be missing out! The science behind this is almost the same as the oil method because the peanut butter starts to separate and the oil will emulsify with the glue.
Nail Polish Remover
If you are into nail art then you will be guaranteed to have acetone somewhere in your home. Acetone acts like a solvent-based adhesive cleaner and can quickly remove any glue stains.
Warm Soapy Water
This is guaranteed to be found in every American home. Turn your faucet on hot, or warm if you are sensitive, and add some soap. You can use any dishwashing liquid because it is effective in removing most dirt.
Tips to Follow When Applying Adhesive Remover
When applying your adhesive remover, there are some tips you can follow to make the job easier and safer. Following these tips can help save you some valuable time by not having to clean up extra spills, which could also damage your surface.
- Always make sure to have sufficient ventilation, so open up the windows in your workspace or make your workspace outside for the day, at least until you are not working with such strong chemicals.
- Try not to add too much of the adhesive cleaner at first, wasting product is not ideal – you can always add some more later if you need it.
- Always wear your protective gloves so that you do not cause skin sensitivities.
- Test the area before you apply the cleaning product to the whole space and risk it being damaged.
- Place some plastic or some newspaper over the floor whilst you are working with these strong chemicals. This will protect the surrounding area and the floor.
Adhesives are amongst the most useful and versatile tools to be invented, but it can also be very difficult to deal with when it ends up in the wrong place. Removing glue from a surface can be a difficult task, but at least now you have all the knowledge you need. Remember to follow the correct procedures as dictated by the product and method you have chosen. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Adhesive Removers Safe To Use?
Mostly these cleaning products are very safe to use, provided you adhere to appropriate protective measures. Wear gloves and ensure that your workspace is well ventilated.
Is it Safe to Use Glue Remover on Skin?
Certain products are designed to be safe for your skin, but also be extra careful if you know that your skin is extra sensitive.
How Do I Store Adhesive Removers?
Make sure that the lids are screwed on tightly so that the chemical-based solutions do not evaporate before they can be used. Make sure they are stored in a dark and cool space because sunlight and heat will ruin their efficacy.
Will My Fabric Discolor With Adhesive Removers?
Make sure you test a small hidden piece of the fabric before you try in o the visible sticky area where the glue spilled. That way you will know if there is a good or bad reaction. Also, make sure to read the label.
How do I Remove the Glue After the Adhesive Remover Has Worked?
Once your adhesive remover has worked and lifted the glue, a great way to remove it is by using a paint scraper or a wet cloth. It is always best to read the instructions on your packaging to ensure you are removing it correctly.