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How to Remove Super Glue From Any Surface + the Freezer Hack That Works in Minutes

Super glue can perform magical feats when it comes to repairing items in your home. But it can also leave you in a bit of a bind if you accidentally get some on your skin, clothes or other surfaces you didn’t intend to glue. That’s why we rounded up the tips experts swear by for how to remove super glue safely — no matter what sticky situation you’ve found yourself in.

What is super glue?

Also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, super glue was invented — accidentally, as many great things are — by a man named Harry Coover in 1942 while he was researching plastics for use in the war movement. It gets its name because of how strongly it can adhere to things. It also dries incredibly fast — within seconds, although it takes 24 hours to fully “cure” — and works on pretty much anything, aside from certain plastics and glass.

Note: Super glue is not considered food safe and shouldn’t be used to repair anything you cook or eat with; it’s also not dishwasher- or microwave-safe.

And the same chemical reaction that allows super glue to securely bond to the surfaces you’re seeking to repair will also occur with materials it accidentally comes into contact with, such as your fingers. “This is one reason I always advise using gloves when applying super glue,” says Forrest McCall, co-owner of home improvement site, Mama Needs a Project. “It’s very easy to get on your fingers when applying it, and it dries so quickly you can wind up with glued-together flipper hands before you even realize what happened.”

How to remove super glue from fingers or skin

If you did manage to spill some of the sticky stuff while trying to repair a household item, here’s how to get the glue gone for good.

How to Remove Super Glue: Close up of woman washing her hands
Getty

If you forgot to wear gloves — or got glue elsewhere on your body — the good news is it’s much easier to remove than TV sitcoms would have you believe.

“As quickly as you can, soak the skin in warm, soapy water — a few squirts of Dawn dish soap works best — for about 10-15 minutes,” suggests McCall. “After that, you should be able to painlessly peel the glue away without irritating the skin beneath.”

If you spilled a lot of glue or it’s being stubborn, you can also take a cotton swab, soak it in nail polish remover, then rub that over the spot until the glue breaks down.

“Acetone is highly effective for this, but it can also dry your skin out, so when you’re done be sure to wash the area with soap and water, then apply some moisturizer,” adds McCall.

How to remove super glue from your hair

In 2021, Tessica Brown became TikTok-famous after accidentally spraying her whole head with Gorilla Glue instead of her usual hair spray, resulting in an impenetrable seal around her entire scalp that required a four-hour medical procedure by a plastic surgeon to repair.

See more, including what the doctor used to remove the glue, here:

So, step one is definitely to avoid covering your entire head in any type of cyanoacrylate adhesive — Gorilla, super or otherwise. Luckily, smaller accidents won’t require a visit to your local ER. You can simply work a small amount of coconut, vegetable or olive oil into the spot, massaging it into the hair until the bond of the glue loosens, then wash your hair with your typical shampoo and conditioner.

How to remove super glue from eyeglasses

While super glue doesn’t work well on glass, many people use it to try to repair cracked or broken frames and wind up accidentally staining their lenses. If that’s the case for you, try this method, which uses toothpaste, dish soap, rubbing alcohol and water:

How to remove super glue from plastic

When it comes to plastics, avoid using acetone, as it can discolor or damage the surface, warns Kelly Salas, who handles cleaning and property services for Sierra Vista Maintenance Company. “Instead, if you can, soak the plastic in a mixture of dish soap and warm water for about 15 minutes. If you can’t submerge whatever you spilled on, pour some dish soap straight over the stain, then lay a clean wash cloth dampened in warm water over the spot and leave for about an hour. When the time is up, the glue should easily wipe away.”

Another option that won’t damage plastic? WD-40 — spray it directly over the stain, leave for 15 minutes, then wipe away using a clean cloth.

It’s also important to note that super glue does not stick well to certain plastics, including polyethylene or polypropylene, both of which are used to make products like disposable water bottles, plastic bags, plasticware, tools and automotive parts. So if you’re looking to glue something plastic, it’s recommended to check which type it is first — you can typically figure that out by looking for a little triangle with a number on it somewhere on the plastic item. The number will indicate the type, which you can check against the list here.

How to remove super glue from fabric and carpets

“In the construction industry, we’re very familiar with the pros and cons of using super glue,” laughs general contractor Justin White of OverheadDoors.com. “And I’ve definitely gotten the stuff on my fair share of clothing. I’ve learned the best trick is to put the item in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes — or if it’s on a rug or something too large for your freezer, put some ice cubes over the spot. This makes the glue brittle and when the time is up, you can just scrape it off using a butter knife or credit card, leaving the material underneath untouched.”

In a pinch, using a cottonball soaked in acetone can work on fabric and carpets, as well, but always do a spot test before trying this method, since nail polish remover can also remove fabric dyes and even damage the fabric itself in some cases.

How to remove super glue from plastic, wood or metal

“When it comes to hard surfaces like metal or wood, a dab of straight acetone on a cotton swab can work wonders to quickly and completely remove super glue,” says Eliana Coca of E.C. House Cleaning in Massachusetts. “Just be cautious if the surface has any kind of protective seal or finish on it, since the acetone might remove that, as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the acetone, just be prepared to re-apply new finish once the glue is gone.”


For tips on how to remove other sticky substances, click through the links below!

Laundry Pros Reveal the Best Ways to Get Slime Out of Clothes — Even If It’s Caked On!

Got Gum Stuck on Your Clothes? Here’s Why You Should Grab the Peanut Butter!

Cleaning Pro: The Step Most People Forget When Trying to Remove Stickers From Glass

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