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How to Remove Superglue from Plastic and Vinyl

Susan asked: How do you remove superglue from a car’s interior? The surfaces are hard plastic and vinyl. Superglue was used to put decorative trim on the interior side panels of the car door and around the air conditioning vents of the car. We were able to get some off, but some is left. The interior is black.

Removing superglue from plastic surfaces can be a bit tricky because dried superglue is plastic, thus the removers are designed to eat through plastic. Unfortunately, if the surface is plastic, it can be damaged as well by these removers. There are other ways to loosen superglue, but they take time. However, it is often worth it to keep from causing more damage. Here’s what you need to do.

Removing Superglue from Plastic Surfaces

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cloths
  • Bowl or bucket

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Begin by mixing water and soap in a bowl or bucket.
  2. Moisten a soft cloth or paper towels with the water and soap.
  3. Lay the wet cloth over the glue and allow it to set for several hours. The idea is to keep the glue very moist for a good amount of time. If it is drying up before the glue has a chance to soften, place the wet cloth on the glue and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Tape around the edges to seal it.
  4. After at least 3-4 hours of soaking, remove the plastic covering and wet, soapy cloth.
  5. Blot at the softened glue with a clean cloth to remove the glue that has softened.
  6. Repeat until all of the glue is removed.
  7. This method can take a while to work, but it will remove the glue without damaging the plastic surface.
  8. A second method is to use rubbing alcohol.
  9. Moisten a cotton ball and gently blot at the glue that you want to remove.
  10. When the glue softens, use a clean cloth to blot it away.
  11. When all of the glue is removed, wipe the area clean with a cloth moistened with clean water.
  12. Dry completely.

Removing Superglue from Vinyl Surfaces

You Will Need:

  • Acetone
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Begin by moistening a cotton ball or paper towel with pure acetone, available at hardware stores or some beauty supply stores. Blot the glue with the paper acetone piece until it starts to soften.
  2. When the glue softens, blot it with a clean cloth to remove.
  3. Continue until all of the glue is removed.
  4. Wipe down the area with clean water and a clean cloth to remove any remaining acetone.
  5. Dry completely.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Acetone can affect the finishes and coloring of some surfaces. Always test a small, hidden area first to ensure there are no adverse effects.
  • If the surface is not of concern, fine grit sand paper can be used to sand away the glue. Sand it away with small, circular motions.
  • Remove the acetone promptly to avoid any damage to the surface.
  • It is best to blot at the glue when trying to remove it. Wiping softened glue will spread it out leaving a larger area to be cleaned.
  • Be careful when using rubbing alcohol or acetone on any plastic pieces with print. They can remove the print easily from the surface.
  • Though it is not recommended, some have had success using acetone on plastic items as well. The key appears to be removing it promptly so it does not have enough time to affect the plastic. Again, this is not recommended, but as a last resort, it may be worth a try.
  • Commercial superglue removers are also available at most hardware and home improvement stores.

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Comments

How do you remove super glue from sunglasses?

Rain in Texas says

I recently spent $500 on my first pair of eyeglasses polymers. Of course I got super glue on them because I do not know what I am doing eyeglass-handling wise. I’m afraid to try rubbing alcohol or toothpaste because of the expensive lens and the lack of warranty on this particular lens, therefore, what is the safest guaranteed way regardless of how long it takes? I need a miracle y’all.

Please, what about superglue on my phone? Can you send me any tips on what to do? It’s a present from my husband!

Julie,
You can try using heat. First, turn off the phone and remove the battery. Then, point a hair dryer at the glue, holding it several inches away. When the glue gets warm, it will soften and you can scrape it off with a plastic scraper or a credit card. Good luck!

I got super glue on my glass lenses and I don’t know whether they are glass or plastic lenses. What methods should I use to remove the super glue without damaging the actual lens?

Ella,
Treat your lenses as though they are plastic, as it is the plastic lenses that can be damaged from the cleaning solutions. For plastic lenses, use rubbing alcohol. For glass lenses, you would use acetone. However, acetone can damage plastic lenses, so if you think there is any possibility that your lenses are plastic, don’t use acetone. You can always try testing a solution on a small spot first to look for any adverse reaction before attempting to clean the glue off.

Hi. I’m a licensed nail tech. I just got superglue on my Mazda RX8 trying to glue a little light back on. Glue went everywhere, even though I was using control glue. I tried soap and water, and also rubbing alcohol, to no avail. In desperation, I decided to try acetone. Worked beautifully. Don’t use professional strength acetone; rather, buy a brand from Dollar General. These products are much weaker and less abrasive. Don’t let it stay on the plastic bumper very long and wipe it off quickly. It breaks up the glue so that you can use a fingernail and scrape it off without damage. Had to do it several quick times, but it works.

By acetone from Dollar General, do you mean things like nail polish remover that have acetone in them?

Glue got on my microwave door; it’s stainless steel and I need to know how to remove it from my microwave ASAP! Please help me! I love my microwave.

Jamie,
According to the article How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances, acetone can be used on stainless steel, and according to the article How to Clean Stainless Steel, rubbing alcohol is also safe to use. Just use a poultice as mentioned in the “Plastic Surfaces” section above – soak a cloth with the soapy water (or acetone or rubbing alcohol if you prefer) and use plastic wrap to hold the cloth against the microwave door until the glue softens.

Hi, my question is that how can I remove ruins of superglue on my car’s dashboard which happend one day ago? Could you help me please?

Erkmen,
If you aren’t sure what material your dashboard is, try searching online for your make and model. If you still aren’t sure which method is safest for your dashboard, test it in a small hidden area first, such as on a side edge of the glovebox door. Good luck!

I have been given the task of getting glue off of a hardsided hand bag. The bag is covered with strips of plastic that were glued to what looks like thin wall board. But now, the plastic is becoming unglued and curling up off its backing. I have been able to chip some glue off of the plastic, but if I keep this up, I will end up with a million pieces. The glue is clear and breaks like glass. What kind of glue it is–I don’t know. Any ideas? Anyone?
I have tried boiling it in water, nail polish, Goop, paint stripper, Go-goop, and alcohol.
My goal is to remove all the plastic, clean it all up and glue it all back down on to the hand bag and have it all look like new.
Any ideas of the type of glue to use to put it all back together?
Thanks to whomever can help me out.

There is some super glue on the dashboard of my car. Some sticker was pasted there with super glue. I don’t know to to clean that part. Can someone suggest some good solution for it? There are some spots of super glue. If someone knows then please let me know. Thanks.

I tried Goof Off to take super glue off of a shower wall and it did not work. Then, I remembered having seen some super glue remover in some of my stuff. It worked good, even as old as it was! I need to find out how to buy more of it.

OH boy, I tried to glue the trim back on with Gorilla Glue instead of my usual Elmer’s. The stuff got spread around and smudged on the control panel and made it look like crap. A quick dab of non-acetone nail polished did nothing except maybe to promise to ruin the plastic finish (and Goo Gone did little as well)… so after reading on HowToCleanStuff and eHow, I used this method for complete removal. Use Turkish towels to wipe with rubbing alcohol and then generously apply straight baby oil. Let go for awhile, like overnight. Repeat the process until the stuff if dissolved.

There is a hard substance like plastic or glue spilled on my backs away in my Nissan Altima. No one seems to know what it is and how it got there. I’m sick inside. Any tips on what to do?

I need a company that can remove vinyl glue on walls urgently. Please send me contact details

Need Help…
I was opening a superglue and it squirted onto my laptop screen and it left 5 small dots on it…
Is there anyway to take it off of the laptop screen? It’s a Dell E6540.

Muhammad,
Try using isopropyl alcohol, but test it in a small corner of the screen first to be sure it is safe. You may need to apply the alcohol on a small piece of paper towel and let it soak on the glue spots for a few minutes to soften them enough so they can be removed. Good luck!
Source: HowToCleanStuff – How to Remove Ink from LCD Screens
Source: Amazon – Dell Latitude E6540 LCD Screen LED 2F9KX HD 15.6″

How do I remove super glue from Formica countertops? It’s just a small spot and acetone doesn’t work.

Sharon,
Try using the soap and water poultice as described in the section Removing Super Glue from Plastic above. If that doesn’t work, try using rubbing alcohol.

I have a beanbag that someone put glue on the plastic zipper. Is there a way to remove the glue?

Pam,
You can try the methods here and just modify them to work a little better for your situation. For example, if the beanbag is fabric and the glue is only at the top area of the zipper, gather the area in a bunch and tie it with a hair tie so the glue is at the top of the bunch, then you can lay the beanbag on its side to put just that bunched area in a bowl of soapy water to soak. This will allow you to soak the glue without having the liquid get all over and into the beanbag. For a vinyl beanbag, you might be able to do something similar using a chip clip or binder clip to hold the glued area away from the beanbag. The same can be done to soak the glue in alcohol as well.
If the glue is all along the zipper instead of just at the top, the easiest method would be to cut out the zipper and sew in a new one as removing that much glue will be difficult at best.
Good luck!

How to Remove Superglue from Plastic and Vinyl Susan asked: How do you remove superglue from a car’s interior? The surfaces are hard plastic and vinyl. Superglue was used to put decorative trim