How to Remove Dried Glue From Plastic Surfaces

The reasons are numerous why you might find dried glue stuck to plastic surfaces, such as plastic cups or children’s toys. The glue might be residue left behind from a price sticker, glue that flaked off during an art project or even glue from fixing something in your home. If you have this problem, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to remove dried glue from those surfaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair dryer
  • Cotton balls
  • Oil
  • Paper towels
  • Dish detergent

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Set a hair dryer to low and aim it at the plastic surface for five to 10 minutes. This doesn’t always work, but if there’s only a small amount of dried glue, you might get lucky. Give the hair dryer enough time to melt the glue and then rub off the rest with your hand.

Soak a cotton ball in vegetable oil, or any type of oil that you have on hand. Eucalyptus oil works great, but so do some beauty products that contain oil such as Skin So Soft. The oil breaks down the dried glue and helps it slide off easily.

Apply the cotton ball to the surface of the plastic and rub it around to coat the entire spot. You’ll also want to apply a liberal coating to the edges of the dried glue, which lets it soak underneath the glue. Let this sit for at least an hour and overnight if you have the time.

Remove as much of the oil from the plastic as possible with paper towels. Rub the plastic roughly with the towels and the glue should slide right off. If you notice that any pieces are still stuck to the plastic, apply a little pressure with the edge of your fingernail to gently lift it off.

Wash the item using warm, soapy water and dishwashing detergent. It’s helpful to use detergent with grease cutting abilities since this removes any traces of the oil left behind. Once the item dries, you’ll find no trace of the dried glue or oil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try using a product specifically designed to remove adhesive such as Goo Gone. Alternatively you can use hand sanitizer. Just apply the hand sanitizer directly to the plastic until it coats the glue and then scrape it off with your fingernail or a small butter knife.
  • If you have dried super glue or a super adhesive glue on the plastic surface, apply a coating of nail polish remover with acetone or rubbing alcohol, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. In the morning, scrape off the rest of the glue with a small knife or nail file.


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