How to Remove Rhinestones From Fabric

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Unwanted rhinestones can be removed from clothing.
Unwanted rhinestones can be removed from clothing. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Rhinestones on fabric are a fashion choice you either love or hate. If you find yourself prone to the latter, chances are you'll find yourself wanting to remove the offending fake gems from an otherwise acceptable garment or cloth item at some point. Rhinestones are attached to fabric in one of three common ways, each of which requires a slightly different technique for successful removal with minimal damage to the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Super glue solvent or non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Seem ripper

Loosen glued-on rhinestones using super glue solvent or non-acetone nail polish remover. If you can pry off the stones with your fingers, pull them away, then use solvent to gently remove the traces of glue left on the fabric. If the stones are securely attached, apply a dot of solvent to the edge of the rhinestone all around its edge, then wait several minutes (or according to instructions) for the glue to break down before gently pulling the stone away.

Use fine needle-nosed pliers to remove rhinestones that are attached with metal fixtures. Examine the metal closure to find the tiny metal “arms” that hook through the fabric from the inside to bend over the rhinestones on the outside of the garment. Grip these with the tip of the pliers and bend them open to release the stone. Gently ease the metal fixture out of the fabric, avoiding snagging the prongs on the material. Wash the garment to tighten the fibers and minimize the appearance of holes from the metal pieces.

Detach sewn-on rhinestones using a seam ripper. Examine each rhinestone to see where it's stitched in place. Make sure the same threads aren't used to attach essential structural parts of the garment (if they are, you'll need to resew those lines before or after, either by hand or with a machine). On the wrong side of the fabric, insert the sharp point of the seam ripper into one or more stitches and push the bladed edge in the crook of the seam ripper through the thread. Gently remove the cut threads with your fingers and the rhinestone will come off.

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