Cleaning, Repairs

How to remove superglue from skin, plastic, fabric, metal, wood etc

how to remove superglue (1)

What are the best ways for how to remove superglue? We outline the different ways to remove superglue from skin, plastic, fabrics, metal, wood and surfaces. Just glued your hands together? Our guide will show you how to get super glue off fingers fast!

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With superglue, broken corners or the like can be glued back on in no time. But what if the glue ends up where it doesn’t belong?

In addition to its fixed adhesive properties, superglue scores above all with the fact that different materials can be glued together. Plastic, wood and metal are only to be mentioned as individual examples. Since superglue bonds with the respective material in a flash due to the humidity in the air, gluing accidents are difficult to remedy at first glance. With a bit of know-how and the right tools, this project is not too difficult. Here you will find practical tips for removing superglue.

Which substances are suitable?

Depending on the material from which superglue is to be removed, various aids are available. Although acetone and 2-butanone can be used to remove unwanted superglue quite reliably, these chemicals should not be your first choice. While acetone was contained in almost all nail polish removers just a few years ago, it is now almost exclusively available in pharmacies or online shops. On the other hand, numerous home remedies are considered healthier and, above all, cheaper alternatives. These all aim to dissolve the chemical cyanoacrylate, which superglue is made of, into its constituent parts.

The following table shows which tools can be used to remove adhesive residues from certain materials:

Cooking oildress
Soapy water / detergentskin
acetoneWood (treated), skin, work surfaces, metal, plastic
waterWith fresh contamination, plastic
heatHeat-resistant materials
petroleumWood (untreated)
Fats (vegetable oil / petroleum jelly / margarine)skin
Olive oil / coconut oilWood

Tip: Special superglue removers are available in hardware stores or online shops. In order to be able to achieve the desired result, the recommended application of the manufacturer must be observed:

How to remove superglue properly

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Before you start removing the superglue, the first question that arises is the nature of the material concerned. Good chances of residue-free removal of adhesive residues exist on …

  • Skin
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Fabrics / textiles
  • Work surfaces

Tip: It usually only takes a few seconds for superglue to harden completely. If the glue stain is still very fresh, it can be removed with just water, regardless of the material.

To avoid damaging the material itself, you should always proceed with extreme caution. In addition, not every agent is suitable for every material. For example, only heat-resistant materials can be treated in the oven with a strong heat effect between 80 and 150 degrees. The high temperature causes cracks in the adhesive, which loosens it in no time.

Tip: You can also use the residual heat from the oven for this – for example after you’ve baked a cake.

You can find out below how to remove superglue from the materials already mentioned.

Remove superglue from the skin

Superglue is generally not dangerous for skin and hair. Since the skin is permanently in the renewal process anyway, adhesive residues usually dissolve within a few days. It is not always possible to wait until then. This is especially the case when the fingers are affected by the adhesions.

Fats such as vegetable oil, petroleum jelly or margarine, for example, are ideally suited to effectively remove superglue. In order for this to work, the respective fat must first linger on the glue residue for a while.

If superglue sticks to the hands, a boisterous bath in soapy water or washing-up liquid is primarily recommended. This causes the skin to swell and the formation of more or less severe wrinkles. As a result, the superglue almost dissolves itself.

The universal product acetone is also suitable for the skin, but should be consulted as a last resort, as this often has a strong degreasing effect. If not using acetone is not an option, it should only be used in extremely small quantities. As a result of the removal process, it is advisable to cream the treated area of ​​skin with an ointment containing dexpanthenol.

Remove superglue residue from plastic

With a little luck, superglue can be removed from plastic with a damp cloth. This is placed directly on the respective surface so that it cannot slip. After a few minutes, the surface can be completely cleaned by wiping it off.

If cleaning with water is unsuccessful, it is advisable to moisten the bond with vegetable oil or diluted vinegar. After a certain duration of action, cleaning with just water is sufficient in this case too.

Acetone promises quick removal of unwanted adhesive residues from plastic. Under certain circumstances, alcohol can also help dissolve superglue.

Remove superglue from fabrics and other textiles:

The acetone trick to dissolve superglue residues also works with fabrics and textiles. However, particular caution is required here in order to avoid possible consequential damage. This means that the adhesive stain should be treated with stain remover as soon as the adhesive begins to peel off. In the washing machine, it should be possible to completely remove the remaining adhesions at low temperatures.

As long as the respective textiles are heat-resistant, cleaning is usually almost problem-free. Soaking the fabric in hot water at 80 degrees Celsius may be sufficient. For this, however, soaking for a longer period of time must be observed.

The cold is also a way of removing superglue from textiles such as clothing. On the one hand, washing out with cold water is successful, on the other hand, the freezer compartment proves to be an effective method. After several hours in the freezer, the glue usually comes off the fabric by itself.

In addition, cooking oil is also suitable for removing superglue from textiles. The oil gets through the fiber under the glue so that it comes off with ease. For a reliable result, it is advisable to soak the fabric in oil for several hours. The superglue can then be removed by rubbing. This method is not necessarily the first choice for expensive clothing.

Remove superglue from wood

Superglue can even be removed from wooden surfaces using acetone. Since wood is generally classified as sensitive, this method should first be tried on an inconspicuous place. In order not to leave any permanent damage when applying, a certain amount of tact is required. After complete removal, it is advisable to wipe the area with a damp cloth and, if necessary, polish with olive oil or beeswax.

Both olive oil and coconut oil are suitable as home remedies. After all adhesive residues have been completely removed, it is advisable to work on the affected area with fine sandpaper.

If the wood in question is untreated, petroleum can also be removed. With the help of a damp cloth, the adhesive can be rubbed with the liquid without any problems.

Tip: Petroleum residues can then be rinsed off with warm soapy water.

Remove superglue from metal

Nail polish remover containing acetone is particularly recommended for removing adhesive residues on metal. In addition to the solution itself, all you need is a rag on which you put some nail polish remover. Then dab the glue residue. After a short reaction time, the adhesive should come off. It is then sufficient to wipe the affected area with a wet cloth and then rub dry.

If, on the other hand, you would like to forego the use of chemicals entirely, you can alternatively remove superglue with a solution of water and white vinegar. After mixing the two liquids in a 2: 1 ratio, soak the affected metal with it for about 30 minutes. The remaining residue can then be removed with a coarse cloth or fine sandpaper.

Tip:  Vinegar is a versatile home remedy and can also help with limescale stains

Remove superglue from work surfaces

If you are bothered by a superglue stain on the work surface, it can also be removed with the help of acetone. In order to exclude consequential damage to the material in advance, it is advisable to first apply a little acetone to an inconspicuous area. Possible changes to the material can be seen after about 10 minutes. If everything remains unchanged, the stain is removed further as described in the “Metal” section.


As practical and versatile as the uses of superglue are, any gluing accidents are just as uncomfortable. However, there is no reason to despair, as there are numerous ways to remove adhesions without leaving any residue. From chemical substances to common home remedies, everything is included. Depending on the material concerned, a suitable solvent can be found quickly.