How To Remove PVA Glue (From Wood, Clothes, And Plastic)

PVA glue is extremely popular for its affordable price and effective bonding on wood, paper, and fabric.

Since it’s so widely used, many accidents happen with it, and many times we find that we glued something that shouldn’t have been glued. How do we remove it when that happens?

Don’t panic, as PVA glue is one of the easiest adhesives to remove. Much easier than dissolving super glue.

In this article, we will look at the best ways to remove PVA glue from different materials like wood and fabric.

Identify The Glue

bottle of glue

Before trying to remove the PVA glue, we first need to find out what kind of glue are we up against. We also need to figure out did the glue fully cure or not.

If you used non-waterproof crafting PVA glue like Elmer’s school or all-purpose glue, you’re in luck. You will most likely remove this glue easier than the other types of PVA glue.

If you, on the other, have used a waterproof PVA wood glue like Titebond 3, you’ll have to work a bit harder to remove that glue residue. Don’t worry, there are ways. Just be prepared to spend a bit more time on the removal.

After you have figured out what type of glue are you up against, try to establish the time when the glue was applied.

If 24 hours didn’t pass from the application time, you will remove the glue much easier. If more than a day has passed, you’ll have to work harder and go with more extreme methods of removal.

Removing The PVA Glue

Now that we’ve identified the type of glue and the drying time, let’s figure out a way to remove it.

Warm Water & Soap

soapy water

Most of the PVA adhesives are water-based and are designed to be easily removed with water, so this should be your first try.

  • Pour hot water and soap into a container and mix them.
  • Soak a cloth into the mixture and start gently wiping the PVA glue residue.
  • Apply more soapy water if the glue doesn’t start to dissolve.

If this doesn’t work, move on to the next step.

White Spirit

White spirit can be pretty good at dissolving PVA glue, even the Titebond heavy-duty stuff. It’s the best method for removing PVA glue from wood.

  • Soak the dried PVA glue in the White Spirit solvent and leave it for about 5 minutes.
  • Use a second cloth and soak it in hot and soapy water.
  • Remove the dried PVA glue residue with the cloth.
  • After removing the residue, wipe the affected area with White Spirit.

Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

White Vinegar

White vinegar has about 5 to 10% acetic acid that helps dissolve many of today’s strongest adhesives.

  • Soak a cloth with White Vinegar and start wiping the glue residue
  • When you see the glue dissolve, apply more until there is no residue left

If none of the inexpensive home cleaners helped, move on to the next step.


Acetone can remove even the most stubborn dried glue residue, but only when the right one is used. The regular nail polish remover doesn’t cut it. You have to get 100% pure acetone to be able to remove the cured PVA residue successfully.

This one from Amazon works very well!

Pronto 100% Pure Acetone - Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover - For Natural, Gel, Acrylic, Sculptured Nails (8 FL. OZ.)
  • 🌟 PROFESSIONAL NAIL POLISH REMOVER: Our acetone 100 percent gel remover is formulated to gently remove nail polish, glitter or nail glue from your nails. Our formula acts quickly and effectively, removing even the toughest polish. Get your favorite 8 Fl Oz Bottle of acetone and leave your hands ready for the next manicure!

Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

All you need to do is try wiping the residue off with an acetone-soaked cloth. Be patient, you should see the PVA glue dissolving after a few minutes.

Note: Never use acetone to remove glue from plastic. It will dissolve the plastic and destroy the material.


Steam is the best way to remove PVA glue from clothes or any fabric.

Boil some water in a kettle or similar tool.

When the water starts boiling, put the part of the fabric that is stained over the steam.

Wait until the PVA glue dissolves and gets a syrup-like consistency.

Scratch the dissolved glue off of the clothes easily.

HiLIFE Steamer for Clothes, Portable Handheld Design, 240ml Big Capacity, 700W, Strong Penetrating Steam, Removes Wrinkle, for Home, Office and Travel(ONLY FOR 120V) (Blue)
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Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If All Else Fails

If you cannot remove the stain, and you’ve tried every method that we recommended, it’s time to use an Industrial Degreaser. This is a heavy-duty remover that should only be used when no other means of removal work.

The degreaser that we found works the best for removing PVA glue is the Schaeffer Degreaser.

Schaeffer Manufacturing 266 Citrol Cleaner and Industrial Degreaser (3 pack)

Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We’ve had a 95% success rate in removing dried PVA glue, no matter the type, strength, or material. It doesn’t damage the surface where the glue residue is and removes it succesfully.

All you need to do is to spray the PVA glue residue and leave it on for a maximum of 10 but no less than 5 minutes.

You should then be able to wipe away the now tacky and easy to remove PVA glue. Wipe the spot where the removed glue was with alcohol.

This amazing degreaser is available on Amazon Here!

It can remove PVA glue from plastic, wood, and fabric with ease!


Removing PVA glue doesn’t have to be hard if you identify the type of glue and use an effective method of removal.

We are certain that you will be able to remove the PVA glue residue by following all of the removal methods in this guide.

Make sure to do it right and not damage the material you’re removing the glue from, and you’re golden!