The old saw "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" never applied so well to anything as it does to super glue. As great as this adhesive is for sticking the things you break back together, it's often a bit too great at sticking the wrong things together and generally making a mess that's hard to clean up. When super glue gets on your faux or genuine leather, speed is the first line of defense since it's much easier to remove the liquid form than the dry -- although even when hardened, it will come off with patience and proper technique.
Things You'll Need
Plastic spoon, old credit card or craft sticks
Clean, white cloths
Toothbrush, scraper, blade or sandpaper as appropriate
Acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover
Soap and Water Method for Fresh Glue Spills
Scoop up as much of the wet glue as possible with a plastic spoon, old credit card or craft sticks -- anything you can toss in the trash as you remove the glue.
Work quickly and only until the glue begins to set, or you may have to unstick your tools as well.
Use a clean, white cloth, to avoid the possibility of dye staining your leather. Dampen it with warm, soapy water -- using ordinary dish detergent -- to carefully wipe off the remaining wet glue before it hardens. Try not to smear the glue beyond the original spill.
Rinse the cloth and wipe any soap film off the leather, then allow the spot to dry completely before checking to see if you missed any glue.
Soften the glue spot -- if any glue remains -- by applying a damp, soapy cloth directly over the spot for an hour or more, then scrape the spot with a spoon or plastic card -- or scrub with a toothbrush -- to remove the residue.
Repeat steps 2 through 4 as often as necessary until the glue stain is gone.
Apply an appropriate leather conditioner to the spot, according to package directions, after the spot is completely dry.
Acetone Method for Stubborn Glue Stains
Test an inconspicuous spot on your leather item -- inside a hem, under a fold or tuck in the upholstery or similar hard to see place -- by pouring a small amount of acetone on a clean, white cloth or dipping a cotton swab in the liquid, then dabbing that gently over the leather.
If full-strength acetone is unavailable, nail polish remover will work -- although more slowly since it is very much diluted. Just ensure the nail polish remover actually contains acetone, as some newer brands do not.
Before continuing, leave the test spot alone for 10 to 15 minutes to see if the acetone damages your leather. It the spot changes color or texture, you should not use acetone on the glue spot, but try the soap and water method instead. If it looks OK, proceed to the next step.
Dampen a corner of a clean, white cloth with acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover and gently dab at the glue spot, working from the edges of the spot to the center to prevent spreading it further.
Wait a few minutes for the acetone to evaporate to see if the glue is gone. Repeat if necessary until no residue from the glue remains.
Use another clean cloth to wash the spot with warm, soapy water, then rinse the cloth in clear water and wipe any remaining soap off the leather.
As an alternative to a damp cloth, smearing a thick film of dish detergent on the glue spot, and allowing that to stand for a few hours, will often soften the glue sufficiently for it to be scraped away.
Apply leather conditioner when the spot is completely dry.
Acetone can dry skin by removing the natural oils. Super Glue Corporation recommends washing your hands with soap and water, then applying a soothing hand lotion to help replenish lost oils and prevent dryness.