How to remove glue from clothing

How to Remove Glue and Superglue From Clothes

Glues are excellent at sticking things together and fixing broken items. Unfortunately, when they come into contact with clothes, they can prove troublesome to remove.

Luckily, we’ve found that with quick action and a few handy items most glues can be safely removed. Whether you’re gummed up with PVA or stuck down with superglue, these tips will save your clothes and prevent you from having to make costly replacements.

How to remove water-based glue from clothes

As a parent or caregiver of a school-going child, you know that most arts and crafts projects rely heavily on PVA glue. From making those colourful handmade cards to fixing parts of their DIY toys, the opportunities for your little one to mess up with the sticky stuff are seemingly endless.

But that also means one thing: removing glue stains from school uniforms, home clothes, and carpets. The good thing about it though is that it’s pretty easy to remove water-based glues from fabrics.

What you’ll need

  • Coldwater
  • Bowl or tub
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Regular laundry detergent
  • Blunt object/scrapper (dull knife or an unused store card)

Step 1: Flood with water

For starters, if the glue is still wet, remove as much of it as possible by flooding the affected part with cold water. This is most effective if you turn the glued garment over and pour the water onto the stain from the back of the fabric.

Step 2: Scrape

If the glue has already dried, use a blunt object to scrape off as much as you can. Take care not to tear the fabric.

Step 3: Apply detergent

Apply a small amount of your desired laundry detergent to the stained area. Carefully rub it in with microfibre cloth. Soak your garment in cold water and leave it for 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Wash

Wash the garment in cool or warm water to remove the final residue.

Step 5: Repeat

If the stain is still there, repeat steps 2-4. In most cases though, all you need is to run your clothes through the washer one more time to get the work done.

What gets super glue out of clothes?

When you want to fix broken items at home, superglue is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This adhesive has an extremely strong hold which begs the question, is it possible to remove its stains from clothes?

Yes, by using acetone. This is a key ingredient in most nail polish removers and one of the few chemicals that’s known to dissolve super glue.

Also known as propane or dimethyl ketone, acetone is a highly flammable, naturally-occurring colourless liquid with a characteristic sweet scent. It can be found in many stain removers today.

Apart from removing superglue from clothes, acetone can also help with the following:

  • Removing lipstick from clothes.
  • Removing oil-based paint stains from carpets
  • Cleaning wax from wool garments
  • Removing gum from clothes

You can buy acetone either in its pure form or in products like nail polish removers. Some of the places to find it include cosmetic shops, hardware and craft shops, supermarkets, and online stores such as Amazon.

How to remove super glue from clothes

Superglue stains on fabric can be tougher to remove compared to their water-based counterparts. But there’s no need to panic if spills happen – we have a quick fix for you.

What you’ll need

  • Cotton buds
  • Acetone-based solvent (nail polish remover)
  • Scraper
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Water

Step 1: Allow the glue to dry

Allow the superglue to dry on its own before attempting to remove it from your fabric.

Step 2: Remove excess glue

Place your cloth on a hard surface and scrape off the glue using a blunt object such as the edge of a spoon or your fingernail. Do not expect to remove as much residue as you would when dealing with water-based glues.

Step 3: Test your garment

Before using acetone on your garment, test to see if the solution has the potential to discolour it. Soak a cotton bud with 100 percent acetone and apply it on an inconspicuous area of your cloth like the seam or hem. Should you notice any disintegration or discolouration, disregard the rest of this tutorial and take your garment to a professional dry cleaner.

Step 4: Apply solvent

If no discolouration occurs, it’s time to apply the acetone-based solvent to the stained area. Dip a cotton swab in the chemical and use it to wipe the stain gently. Ideally, it takes about 10-15 minutes for superglue to soften, but this can vary depending on the amount of glue or the type of fabric.

Step 5: Scrape

Once the stain softens, scrape it off again the same way you did during step one. However, avoid using your fingernail if you’re wearing nail polish as acetone may dissolve the polish and stain your clothes.

Step 6: Wash

The final step should be a cycle in the washing machine. For the best results, use a powerful laundry detergent to eliminate any remaining residue. Rinse your cloth and let it air dry where possible. You can also pat it dry with a towel or use a dryer if you’re in a hurry.

The do’s and don’ts of glue removal


  • Consult a cleaning professional if the fabric affected by the glue stain is delicate. These include silk, sheers, and lace materials.
  • Test your garment for colour fastness by applying your preferred remover on a small, inconspicuous part before using it on the actual stain.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear like aprons to avoid getting superglue stains. The easiest way to treat these kinds of stains is prevention.
  • Contact the glue manufacturer for further directions if these tips fail you.


  • Don’t attempt to remove super glue from your clothing before it’s completely dry.
  • Don’t try to rush the drying process using high heat. Doing so will set the stain and make it even more difficult to remove.
  • Don’t try using the methods described here on clothes designated as ‘dry-clean only’. Consult a cleaning professional for those.


Removing glue and superglue from clothes doesn’t have to be a difficult or impossible task. All you need is a bit more time on laundry day and some tips to get rid of the stains. To recap, here’s everything it takes:

  1. Gather the right tools and products needed for effective glue stain removal.
  2. Be patient, when dealing with superglue allow stains to dry before attempting to remove them.
  3. Take the necessary precautions to avoid discolouring or tearing the fabric.
  4. Apply water or acetone to soften the glue.
  5. Remove any glue residue with a scraper.
  6. Wash your clothes thoroughly and let them air dry where possible.