How To Remove Super Glue From Plastic (Without Damage)

Super glue stuck on a plastic material that it shouldn’t be on is a common accident.

You might be worried because plastic is such a delicate material prone to dissolve when in contact with some solvents.

While that is true, there are ways to successfully remove super glue from plastic without damaging the surface.

In this article, we will give you some tips on how to successfully remove super glue from any plastic surface effectively.

Identify The Damage


First, we need to look at the type, amount, and strength of the glue on the plastic material. Sometimes the glue isn’t as strong, or the amount of glue isn’t too large, which will make the removal easier.

Did The Super Glue Fully Cure?

super glue on a glass window

Cyanoacrylate adhesives or super glues are known as fast setting and curing adhesives. They have the fastest drying times of all adhesives available on the market, which makes them tough to remove sometimes.

A superglue sets in only 10-30 seconds, but in order to fully cure it might need up to 24 hours. That’s why it’s important to establish a timeline so that you can identify when the glue was applied.

If you figure out when the glue was applied, you’ll have an idea of how dry it is. If it didn’t stay on the plastic surface for too long, a simple hot and soapy water might be sufficient for cleaning.

If it, however, dried overnight, it will be much tougher to remove.

Amount Applied

If you overapplied the superglue, it will probably need much more time to cure and won’t require special solvents for removal.

The thinner the applied glue is, the faster it will cure and harder it is to remove.

The Type Of Super Glue

It’s important to factor in the type of glue that you used when the accidental gluing of the plastic occurred. Some super glues like Gorilla Glue or Krazy Glue are notorious for not sticking well to most plastics.

On the other hand, Loctite super glue is known as a superb plastic bonder and is much tougher to remove.

If you were lucky enough to have used super glue with lower plastic bonding properties, the removal would be easier.


Removing The Super Glue From Plastic


We will now go through methods of removal of superglue from plastic. We will start with easier and cheaper methods for weaker bonds and will move up to more drastic methods later.

Soap & Hot Water

soapy water

The good old hot water and soap combo can remove most of the stains in our households, so the first thing you try should be this.

Soak a cloth in warm and soapy water and place it on the dried glue. Wait for at least 2 hours and remove the cloth.

Try scrubbing the glue gently with your nail. If it started to dissolve, try scrubbing it carefully with a razor blade.

If the glue stayed dry, move on to the next super glue from plastic removal method.

Oil Or Vinegar

If the super glue residue is more stubborn, mineral oil or vinegar can help to dissolve the glue.

They won’t harm the plastic and are usually more aggressive and effective than hot water and soap.

Use a cloth the same way you did with hot water and soap. Put the cloth over the superglue residue and wait for 2 to 3 hours.

Again, try to scrub the dried glue gently with your nail and if it starts coming off, continue scrubbing the glue with a razor blade.

You can even try mixing the vinegar and mineral oil to form an even stronger natural solvent.

If this method didn’t work, there is still hope. Take a look at the next heavy-duty removal method that is more than 90% successful in removing super glue from plastic materials.

Industrial Degreaser

Many people don’t know this, but industrial cleaners and degreasers are extremely effective super glue removers.

They are especially good for removing super glue from almost any type of plastic material since they won’t dissolve it like other solvents.

The application is really easy, and with this removal method, you should see results much faster than with the ones previously mentioned.

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

After that, you should be able to wipe away the now tacky and easy to remove super glue. Wipe the spot where the removed glue was with alcohol.

The model that we had an extremely high success rate with is the Schaeffer Manufacturing 266 Citrol Cleaner and Industrial Degreaser.

We had been able to clean more than 95% of the most stubborn super glue stains from various plastic materials. This solvent didn’t damage the plastic residue and removed it completely.

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Since this degreaser is so strong, don’t forget to wear protective equipment and you’re golden!


What Not To Do


Acetone is used widely for super glue dried residue removal. It does work excellently on most surfaces, but not on plastic!

The acetone solvent properties are very harsh and will dissolve the plastic. You might end up removing the superglue, but you’ll probably destroy the plastic at the same time.

Never forcefully scrub and remove the dried super glue residue. If the glue doesn’t come off with gentle scrubbing by your nail, then it needs to be dissolved.

You can damage the plastic very easily by scrubbing it with a razor blade. Try soaking it in water or mineral oil before trying again.


Conclusion


By carefully following these tips you’ll be able to safely remove super glue from any plastic surface without damaging it.

Don’t forget to always be gentle and never try to force anything.