Super Glue Removal Techniques

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Super glue can be removed with a solvent like acetone.
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As crafters and home repair DIYers know well, super glue lives up to its name. (Super Glue is technically a brand currently being used by the Original Super Glue Corporation, but the term "super glue" is also a catchall used to describe the cyanoacrylate adhesives that are sold under many brand names.) Once super glue dries, it's super hard to remove, which can be a problem when the glue lands somewhere it shouldn't. Don't fear – if anyone in your home wears nail polish, you probably already own the product that's most effective at removing super glue.

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Removing Super Glue From Skin

It's the rare person who can work with super glue without getting at least two fingertips stuck together. Once this strong adhesive dries, it can be surprisingly tough to get off your skin. Start with plain old soap and water. If washing the area doesn't remove the glue, try soaking the area in soapy water for a few minutes. Hold a soaped, wet washcloth over the area if soaking isn't possible.

Sometimes, soap and water aren't enough to budge dried super glue from skin. The next step is to try acetone or nail polish remover that contains acetone. Soak cotton balls with the liquid and hold the cotton over the area until the glue is soft enough that you can rub it away.

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Don't use acetone to remove super glue from your lips. Instead, try using a wet toothbrush to lightly brush salt across the lips. It's lightly abrasive and should help break up the glue. If super glue gets in your mouth, immediately rinse it with warm water. Call poison control if anyone ingests super glue. If you get super glue on your eyelid, try holding a warm, damp compress over the area to hopefully dissolve the glue and then rinse with warm water. Call your doctor for further guidance if any super glue got into the eye.

Removing Super Glue From Fabric

Acetone can be effective at removing super glue from fabric, but some fabrics will be damaged by the process. Use pure acetone or clear nail polish remover containing acetone; tinted nail polish remover may stain fabric. Test the acetone on a small, hidden patch of the fabric first to see if any discoloration occurs. If not, try using a cotton swab or clean toothbrush to precisely apply acetone to the glue. Once it's soft enough, you should be able to peel it away with your fingernails or a butter knife.

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Removing Super Glue From Hard Surfaces

It tends to be easier to remove super glue from metal, plastic or countertops than from soft surfaces. Start by covering the glue with cotton balls soaked with acetone. It should be softer after a minute or two. (While acetone generally won't damage unpainted metal, plastic or wood, it may remove paint from painted surfaces, so you may want to try alternatives first and only use acetone as a last resort.)

Next, work a putty knife or rubber scraper around the edges of the softened glue. It should peel away easily. Alternatively, use fine sandpaper to carefully sand down the glue. Repeat the acetone process if the glue isn't soft enough to budge and then scrape or sand it again.

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Using Alternatives to Acetone

Super glue users have experimented with any number of home remedies for removing this stubborn adhesive. They're worth trying if you're hoping to avoid using acetone or don't have any on hand. Oil can be effective at separating dried super glue from skin and other surfaces. Try olive oil, coconut oil or even softened butter in a pinch.

Vinegar may also soften dried glue on hard surfaces. Cover the area with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar and come back in a few hours to try scraping away the glue. Petroleum jelly, hand lotion and even lemon juice are other DIY super glue removers that may or may not solve your dilemma. Some people use WD-40 to remove super glue. Another option to try is an adhesive remover, like Goo Gone. If you're using it to remove super glue from skin, make sure to use a formulation specifically designed to remove bandages.

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