How to Remove Glue from Plastic

How to Remove Glue From Plastic – Cleaning Adhesives from Surfaces

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Removing glue from plastic may seem like a frustrating task, whether you are simply removing some spilled hot glue, or having to remove some frustrating glue residue left behind by a label. Some methods can make the process easier. The main goal is to break down or soften the glue while in no way damaging the plastic surface.



Types of Glue for Plastic

Plastic comes in an assortment of types, each with its properties. Certain of these properties ensure hardness and higher density, temperature resistance, water resistance, or tensile strength. Each type of plastic offers different applications. Some common examples of plastic that can be found in the home include textiles, car parts, furniture items, appliances, footwear, plumbing and electrical components, and many other items.

Glue is formulated to work on particular materials, such as wood glue. Many types of glue will successfully adhere to multiple surfaces, such as superglue. Yet superglue will not bond effectively to smooth, hard plastic. You would have to roughen up the surface first to ensure a strong bond. In addition, different materials can impact if the adhesion works, for example, the adhesion will work when gluing two plastic surfaces but will not work when gluing plastic to a metal surface.

If you are someone who enjoys DIY, it is likely that you already have a few adhesive options available. We recommend you consult the label instructions to determine the best glue for your project. Four options of adhesive are as follows:

  • Solvent cement
  • Multi-purpose glues
  • Cyanoacrylate adhesive (like superglue)
  • Epoxy

Best Way to Clean Glue from Plastic



How to Get Glue off Plastic

Now that you are aware that not all adhesives will bond with plastic, particularly the smooth, high-density plastic materials, it is time to take a better look at how to get glue off plastic. It happens all too often that one struggles to remove labels off a plastic surface. There is nothing more frustrating than removing sticky label pieces off in small chunks, only to have a sticky residue remaining.

If you are using an abrasive substance such as rubbing alcohol or a commercial remover, we recommend you first test out a little on the plastic surface. That way you can determine if it will cause any damage to the surface.

Removing Glue from Plastic


How to Get Glue off Plastic Vinyl

Vinyl is a very popular plastic material that is used frequently in the production of cars. You can also get vinyl windows and flooring in the home. What do you need to do to remove glue off plastic vinyl? You will require several items of equipment to remove glue from plastic vinyl, these are as follows:

  • Water
  • Cotton balls or paper towels
  • Acetone
  • Clean cloth

Using a plastic scraper, you can attempt to scrape off as much of the glue as possible, be careful to not damage the surface. Always test out a small portion of plastic before beginning.  When you are satisfied that no damage will occur, you can dispense some of the acetone onto either the paper towel or cotton ball. Dab the acetone onto the glue area and give it time to soften. Dab the glue away using a clean cloth. Repeat the process until you are happy that the glue has been completely removed. Finally use a cloth and some clean water and wipe the area and then allow the surface time to dry.


Using Household Products to Remove Glue

There are many ways in which you can learn how to remove glue from plastic using solutions that are simple to do as the methods consist of materials that can be found in the home. Using warm soapy water is one of the simplest methods, though it will require a little bit more patience. Take a clean cloth and moisten it with warm water that contains a small amount of dishwashing liquid and drape the cloth over the glue area.

Household Cleaning Glue from Plastic

If you want to keep the cloth damp for longer, you can tape a bit of plastic wrap or a plastic bag over the area as well. Leave the cloth (which is covered with the plastic cover) on the glue for roughly three hours. Try to not wipe the glue off with the cloth, rather pick it up, as you do not want to further spread the glue. Ensure the area is sufficiently dry when you are done.


Baking Soda and Vegetable Oil

Most of us have vegetable oil and baking soda in our kitchen, so this should be a simple method. Just combine equal quantities of the baking soda and oil, it does not matter which type of oil, all oils will work in the same way. Some examples of oils include coconut oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil. Mix them until you form a paste.

Clean Superglue with Baking Soda

The amount of paste you need to make is related to the size of the glue residue you need to remove. To make sufficient, for example, a label on a jar, 15ml of each ingredient would be enough. If you have a more stubborn residue mark, you can try using coconut oil as it has a higher fat content. Apply the paste directly to the glue and cover the whole area. You can apply the paste using a cloth if you do not want to apply it with your fingers.

Leave the paste on for roughly 30 minutes which will give the glue sufficient time to soften. You can then take a scouring sponge and scrub at the residue. Keep scrubbing until you notice the glue residue is lifting. Reapply the paste again if the residue is being stubborn and follow the same steps once more. Finally use some soap and warm water and wash the plastic surface, this will assist in removing the glue and any oily residue left behind.

Dishwashing soap is ideal as it is formulated to cut through greasy substances and oil. Rinse off the surface of the plastic and allow it time to dry.


Dish Soap Glue Remover


Using Vinegar to Remove Glue From Plastic

Apply some vinegar to a cloth and lay the cloth over the glue. Leave the cloth there for about 15 to 30 minutes and then clean the solution and the glue off. The glue will have been loosened so will come off with ease, but you can also use a toothbrush to scrape it off. Vinegar does not have a pleasant odor, so use some water and soap to clean the area again.

You can also fill a bowl with vinegar and soak the items with glue residue in the vinegar. Test out any adhesive remover or the vinegar on a small area of the plastic surface before soaking it. While we have already suggested baking soda and oil, you can also try vinegar and baking soda which when mixed will bubble.


Alternative Household Methods for Removing Glue From Plastic

When attempting to remove glue from plastic a milder method is to use some plain vegetable oil or moisturizer. Using either the oil or the moisturizer, cover the glue completely. Leave the glue covered for several minutes and then dab it off with a cloth. You can also try using make-up wipes, simply rub over the area using the wipe, leave, and then using either a paper towel or a cloth, clean. Often one will attempt to scrape the glue off using your nails, which while it may work, you run the risk of damaging the plastic surface. Alternatively, you could try to scrape it off using an old credit card, a spatula, a razor, or a snub knife. You can also attempt to freeze the glue, place the plastic item directly into the freezer or apply ice cubes in a bag over the area.

Remove Glue with Hairdryer

By freezing the glue, the glue will become hard, and this will make it easier to scrape off. Another option is to use a hairdryer to create heat, hold the hairdryer a distance away from the plastic so you do not damage the surface. You can also lightly steam the surface. Other items from the home that you can use to remove glue include mayonnaise and peanut butter. Both these products contain oil which does the job. Apply a layer of either mayonnaise or peanut butter onto the glue that you wish to remove and leave on for half an hour. Then wipe the substance away using a clean cloth.

Ice to Get Super Glue off Plastic

You can also attempt to remove the glue using a rubber eraser; however, this normally only works on residual or thin layers of glue. Use the eraser to wipe firmly over the glue.


How to Remove Glue From Plastic Using Alcohol and Acetone

Just like vinyl, you might want to try using rubbing alcohol or acetone to remove the glue from the plastic surface. You could potentially damage the surface, as these are relatively abrasive substances. Apply some acetone to a paper towel or cotton ball. Then dab at the glue residue until it softens. Do not rub but rather dab with a clean cloth to remove.

How to Get Super Glue off Plastic

How to get superglue off plastic? One method that is milder than the above options is referred to as a de-bonding agent that contains a nitromethane component. While it is not as harsh as acetone, you will still need to take care when using it on plastic. You can find the product in most stores, or online.


Commercial Adhesive Remover

There are products available that have been specifically designed to remove glue from plastic. An example is Goo Gone which has been specifically formulated to remove glue residue from surfaces. Just follow the instructions, apply the Goo Gone, and wipe or scrape it off. You get other products that have greater versatility and can be used to remove other substances like dirt, grease. One such product is WD-40 which is a cleaning product and lubricant that is normally used as a rust dissolver and solvent. Spray the WD-40 onto the glue you want to remove, leave it to sit for a couple of minutes, and then use a cloth to clean it and the glue residue off.


PVC Glue Remover

Your average Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) glue and superglue are not the same. PVC glue (also known as a solvent cement glue) does not just form a bond, it forms a chemical reaction that fuses two pieces of PVC material to create a permanent bond. You cannot use PVC glue remover; you will need to cut the section out that is causing problems.

PVC Glue Remover

To achieve a smooth edge, you will need to sand them down and clean away any dust. Connect a new pipe and fitting, prime the fitting and pipe using PVC primer, and then you can apply the PVC cement. Connect the components and allow them time to dry and bond.



Tips and Tricks How to Remove Glue From Plastic

Sometimes when you are using ‘do-it-yourself’ solutions for problems such as removing glue from plastic surfaces, you can end up making the problem even worse. For example, utilizing a strong solvent adhesive remover on soft plastic ends up damaging the plastic in the process. We suggest you follow some tips and tricks to avoid further damaging the plastic surface.

  • Always test out strong adhesives, such as acetone, first to ensure you do not cause further damage.
  • When removing glue do not wipe the softened glue, rather blot. You will only spread the glue around further by wiping.
  • If you are using acetone, do not leave it on the surface for a long period.
  • Always consult the product labels of adhesive removers before using them to confirm that they can be used on plastic.
  • Using an abrasive tool or scourer to remove glue from plastic will damage the plastic and leave scratches.
  • If you are not worried about the plastic surface you can attempt to remove the glue using sandpaper.


Tutorial on How to Remove Glue

We hope this article has assisted you in being able to remove a variety of glues from plastic surfaces. If you need to know about PVC glue remover, or simply have spilled some hot glue on a vinyl surface, you now are equipped with the knowledge to remove the glue accordingly.



Frequently Asked Questions


Can WD-40 Be Used to Remove Glue From Plastic?

Yes, you can turn to WD-40 for an adhesive remover. Just spray a small amount onto a cloth and wipe the area, or you can spray it directly onto the glue residue. The glue residue will come off relatively quickly. Keep in mind you will achieve the same result by just using simple vegetable oil.


Is Goo Gone a Good Option to Remove Glue From Plastic?

Good Gone is a great product that has been specifically designed to remove sticky residue and glue and it can be used on plastic without causing any damage to the surface. However, we recommend that you test the product out on a small section of the plastic piece before using it. this is just to ensure that the product will in no way damage the specific plastic.


How Do You Remove Superglue From Plastic?

There are several different methods of how to remove superglue from plastic, such as basic at-home methods like using oil or scraping the glue off, to applying a commercial adhesive remover. Since there are many types of adhesives and plastics, not all methods will be successful every time. You should begin with the easiest method of using soapy warm water, and if that does not work, try another method.


How Do You Remove PVC Glue?

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is not like standard glue, as it is used exclusively to fuse PVC components. The ‘glue’ or solvent cement creates a chemical reaction that melts PVC parts and creates a permanent fuse, making it impossible to remove. To remove PVC glue the section will have to be cut out and replaced.


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