How to Remove Adhesive From Embroidered Patches

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Things You'll Need

  • Steam

  • Ice

  • Lighter fluid

  • Vegetable oil

  • Goo Gone

  • Laundry detergent

Iron-on embroidered patches are easy to attach to clothing, jerseys and uniforms. But what do you do when you want to replace the patch? When removed, iron-on patches leave an adhesive residue on the fabric, and unless you want to put another patch right on top of the old one, you'll need to remove the adhesive. Luckily, it is possible to do and restore your fabric to what it was before the embroidered patch.

Removing The Adhesive Residue

Step 1

Remove the embroidered patch with steam. The steam can be from a pot of boiling water, your iron, a teapot, or a steamer. Once the patch is steamed, it will peel right off.

Step 2

Ice the adhesive residue on the fabric to harden it, and scrape with the dull side of a knife to remove as much residue as possible. Repeat until scraping does not remove any more residue.

Step 3

Apply adhesive remover. Possible adhesive removers include lighter fluid, vegetable oil, and Goo Gone. Test a small spot of the fabric in an inconspicuous place with your adhesive remover before applying it to your adhesive residue to check for colorfastness. If it stains the fabric, or if some of the fabric color fades or bleeds, do not use that adhesive remover and try a more mild one (vegetable oil would be the mildest).

Step 4

Rub the adhesive remover into the fabric, and reapply as needed.

Step 5

Wash the fabric in cold water. Laundry detergents that have a degreasing agent (it will say so on the detergent) will work best.

Step 6

Look at the fabric to determine if the adhesive residue is completely removed. If residue remains, repeat steps 3 and 4, then wash again. Do not dry the fabric until all adhesive residue is gone.


If you choose to use lighter fluid as your adhesive remover, wash the fabric thoroughly before wearing. Be very cautious while using lighter fluid and read instructions and warnings on the lighter fluid container.


Heat will make your problem worse by setting the adhesive residue into your fabric. Once the patch is removed, avoid using any sort of heat while trying to remove the adhesive residue. This is why you should not dry the fabric until you are assured that all adhesive residue is completely removed.