How to Remove Adhesive From Clothes

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Throw a stained garment in the washer only after removing as much adhesive as possible.
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Adhesives can present a challenge when they inadvertently end up on a pair of jeans or your favorite blouse. Removing adhesive is usually possible -- but don't wait too long. Remove as much of the glue as possible before laundering the garment. If the garment isn't machine washable, take it to a professional cleaner.


White Craft Glue

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White craft glue or "school glue" is a protein-based adhesive that is usually relatively easy to remove by soaking the washable garment in a mild solution consisting of liquid dish detergent, ammonia and tepid water. As a general rule, a few drops of dish detergent is sufficient, with about a tablespoon of ammonia for every quart of water. Soak the garment for about 15 minutes, then rub the back of the fabric to loosen the glue and soak for an additional 15 minutes before rinsing. If the glue is stubborn, soak it for several hours.

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Epoxy and Contact Adhesives

Epoxies are often impossible to remove because they can permanently alter the fabric, but dry cleaning solvent may be worth a try. Lay the fabric face down on a thick layer of paper towels, then apply the solvent to the back of the stain and let it penetrate the fabric for a minute. Rinse thoroughly, then rub the area with heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder immediately, according to the garment's care label. The same technique is used to remove contact adhesives, generally used to bond surfaces such as a laminated countertop, furniture veneers or model airplanes. Solvents are highly toxic and should be used in a well-ventilated room. Wear gloves to protect your hands.


Instant-Stick Glue

A regular liquid or aerosol pretreatment laundry stain remover is the first technique to try if fast-bonding glue is stuck on your clothing. Saturate the area thoroughly and let it penetrate for a minute, then launder the garment by hand or in the machine, following the garment's care label. If the glue is still present, repeat the first step, then rub the spot with heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder the garment again. Place the garment in the dryer, if recommended on the care label, only after you're sure the adhesive-removal technique is successful.


Adhesive Tape, Stickers and Labels

Sometimes, tape, stickers and labels are relatively easy to remove by rubbing the sticky area with your fingers. If this doesn't work, rub the area with an ice cube to solidify the adhesive, then scrape the residue carefully with the dull edge of a table knife. If the adhesive is stubborn, sponge the area with dry-cleaning solvent and rinse thoroughly. When most of the sticky residue is gone, rub the remaining stain with heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder according to the garment care tag.



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