Remove Super Glue from anything (your skin, fingers, clothes, wood, metal)


We’ve all accidentally spilled a few drops (or more) of super glue on our carpet, glass, wood, and so on. Some surfaces present a genuine challenge, while others can be cleaned up in under a few minutes. 

So, you want to know how to remove super glue? By only using a few tools and materials that most people already have, you’ll be able to make the surface look like new very quickly. These materials range from acetone to cotton swabs, and most are common to have around the house.

The rest of this article will discuss some essential topics related to cleaning super glue:

  • Removing super glue from easy surfaces
  • Removing super glue from tougher surfaces
  • Removing super glue from seemingly impossible surfaces
  • Do you have to use acetone to remove super glue?

Removing Super Glue from Fingers, Hands, Skin & Hair

Getting super glue on skin or hair is not as bad as you might think. You can use common things you have in your kitchen or bathroom to remove it.

1. Place in hot, soapy water

Use the sink & soap

Or a bowl with hot, soapy water. Make sure it is not too hot so it does not burn you.

Keep it below 106 degrees so you don’t burn your hands.

  • Soak your hand or skin in the hot soapy water for a few minutes (5 minutes)

2. Pry apart skin – gently

Try to pry apart the stuck skin with your hand or with an object…easily. Don’t force it or your skin could tear. The goal is to try to see if prying will work.

If not…move on to nail polish remover.

3. Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover should do the trick to remove superglue from your hand or skin and even your hair. The active ingreedeant that removes the glue is acetone.

  • Acetone is a solvent that can easily dissolve glue but the chemical is dangerous if used improperly.
  • Don’t use it on a cut or open wound. Don’t drink or inhale the fumes.
  • Don’t get it near your mouth, eyes or mouth. Do not drink it, It is poisonous.

Use a cotton swab to soak up the nail polish remover and then apply it to the stuck skin. It should begin to dissolve the superglue so you can open your hand or get it off your skin.

Apply more. The cotton swab may not work if there is a lot of glue. In this instance you can pour the nail polish remover in a bowl and place your hand or skin in there. This may not always be easy – if the superglue is on your arm, chest or other body parts.

Rinse & wash your hands & skin immediately afterwards.

The only problem with this treatment is that it can take around 10 to 15 minutes to remove all of the little bits of dried glue.

4. Lemon juice

Natural fix – lemon juice is acidic enough to gently break up the superglue without hurting your skin.

Be careful of any open wounds and keep it away from your nose and eyes since it will irritate them if you get enough in there. Ouch!

Apply. Use the same method above with the cotton ball. Soak the cotton ball and rub the superglued hand, skin or on your hair.

Your hand should become unstuck after a few minutes. 5-10 minutes it should be off.

Wash immediately afterwards to remove the lemon juice so it does not irritate your skin.

Removing Super Glue from Easy Surfaces

When you drop super glue on anything, it might feel like the end of the world. It’s time to replace the window, granite counters, and so on. Right? 

Actually, no. 

You can clean almost any surface from super glue quickly without having to do any repairs whatsoever. All you need is acetone, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, and nail polish.

Here’s a list of the four easiest surfaces to remove super glue from:

Glass 

Cleaning super glue from glass is honestly quite easy. 

Super glue solidifies very quickly, especially when the surface that it’s on is cold. Everyone knows that the temperature of glass tends to go with the weather, making it a challenging task to remove super glue on cold days. However, you can clean super glue from glass without an issue if you follow these steps:

  1. Start by applying rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab and dab it all over the super glue. This will loosen up the glue from the glass. Many people prefer to take a razor or a box cutter to chip away at the dried glue while the rubbing alcohol does its work. If you want to do this, just make sure that you don’t scratch the glass.
  2. Once the super glue is loose, you can wipe it away with another cotton swab or an abrasive rag until it’s gone. This might take a few applications to eradicate the glue, but it’s much quicker than nearly any other solution.

Plastic 

Plastic is another tricky surface that’s isn’t too bad to deal with once you get the hang of it. 

Using acetone, you can soften the glue in no time. Here’s how:

  1. Apply a few drops of the liquid directly to the dried glue. 
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes, but make sure that the acetone doesn’t dry up.
  3. Finish cleaning the glue by lightly dabbing it with a dry cloth or another cotton swab. Acetone seemingly melts or liquefies super glue, making it much easier to clean. If you don’t have access to acetone at home, there are some alternative solutions at the end of this article.

Metal 

Metal is probably the easiest surface to remove super glue from in most cases. 

However, painted metal, such as on a car, is a different story. To remove super glue from an uncoated metal surface, follow the instructions for plastic removal solution. Acetone will eat away at the glue, but it won’t damage the uncoated metal.

Granite 

Granite is the final surface in the “easy” category for removing super glue. Real granite can be rather expensive, so you don’t want to replace a portion of it if you don’t have to. Fortunately, it’s incredibly simple to clean, especially if it’s a smooth surface.

All you have to do to clean super glue off of granite is to use acetone or nail polish remover. 

If you choose to use nail polish remover, you might have to do a few additional rounds. It’s not as concentrated as pure acetone, but it’ll still get the job done in a pinch. Blot the area with a dry rag until the superglue is completely gone.

Surfaces That Are Harder to Clean

The previous surfaces might be simple to deal with, but not everything can be treated so quickly. 

For example, wood, leather, and even our bodies tend to present a bigger problem when it comes to super glue. Kids can super glue their fingers together or even accidentally drop it in their hair. 

Have no fear, though. The treatments for these troubling accidents are all listed below.

Wood 

Wood is very porous, which means that super glue can quickly seep to its core. Here’s how you can clean glue from wood:

  1. You can deal with the problem faster if you start wiping it away as soon as possible. 
  2. If you notice a spill, take a paper towel and blot away as much of the liquid super glue as possible. Make sure that you don’t smear it around.
  3. Immediately pour acetone onto the wood and let it liquefy the super glue. 
  4. After about 10 seconds, wipe it away with another paper towel or cotton swab. Again, you should avoid smearing it around too much. Circular motions and blotting are all you need to do to remove the super glue.

Leather 

Leather is easy to remove super glue from, but it’s hard because it can leave a stain if done improperly. Here’s the proper way to do it:

  1. Use nail polish remover instead of acetone for this type of mess. As mentioned previously, acetone is stronger. The diluted nail polish remover will prevent the staining of the leather.
  2. Dab the surface with a cotton swab soaked in the solution. 
  3. Use a hand towel to wipe away the leather, but do this gently. Aggressive scrubbing can rip old leather right away from the surface. This might take a bit longer than other treatments because you need to ensure that the leather doesn’t rip.

Difficult Super Glue Cleaning Procedures

Cars, painted benchtops, electronics, and kitchenware are all much harder than the previous surfaces. However, you can still take on any of these challenges by making this home remedy for tough stains:

  1. Mix a few drops of dish soap, hand lotion, and warm water. 
  2. Rub this solution over the dried glue and let it dry. 
  3. Wipe it down using a damp rag in circular motions. 
  4. You can then apply acetone if you wish, although it’s a bit more aggressive than this gentle solution.

It’ll probably take several applications because the lotion, soap, and water aren’t as strong. However, the dried glue will eventually loosen and give way. You can then remove it with a soft cloth and shine it up with regular cleaner for the given surface.

Do You Have to Use Acetone to Remove Super Glue?

Although acetone is one of the best treatments for almost any super glue stain, it’s not entirely necessary to get the job done.

The mixture mentioned above is a great way to loosen and remove super glue from nearly any surface. If you don’t have acetone, you can also try nail polish since it has the same effect.

In any situation, you should treat a super glue stain as soon as you notice that it happens. Even though it dries quickly, you’ll have a small window in which it can be wiped away or loosened much quicker. 

Final Thoughts

To recap, here are the key points from this article:

  • It’s easy to remove super glue from glass, plastic, metal, and granite. Home remedies should clean things up immediately. 
  • It’s harder to remove super glue from wood, leather, skin, and hair. You might need to put a bit of effort into cleaning these surfaces. 
  • It’s challenging to remove super glue from car exteriors, painted benchtops, electronics, and kitchenware. It’s still possible to remove glue from these surfaces, but it’ll take quite a few rounds of cleaning. 
  • You don’t need acetone to remove super glue. A homemade mixture using dish soap, hand lotion, and water will work almost as well. 

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D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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