How to remove glue from fabric and save your clothes

If you have been wondering how to remove glue from fabric, please read on. We’ll show you how to remove several types of adhesives and provide some tips for success. 

What removes glue from fabric?

If you’re a DIYer, you have probably gotten glue on an article of clothing at some point. It isn’t very pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw the item away. Most of the time, you can get glue off fabric by following the directions in this article.

Sometimes you can remove dried glue from fabric by simply peeling it away. You should have an easy time if it hasn’t sunk into the material.

Of course, that is not always the case. If the glue has penetrated the fibres, a few more steps will be needed. You will have to soften or dissolve the glue on the fabric so that it can be wiped away. This is accomplished in one of several ways, as we’ll discuss below. 

No matter which method you use, try not to rush through it. Take your time and use care so as not to damage the material. The results will be well worth it.

Make sure that the adhesive is completely dry before attempting to remove it from the fabric

How to get glue off fabric step by step

Since there are many types of adhesives, there are also several methods to get the glue out of the fabric. We’ll give some guidelines, but sometimes it is a matter of trying a few methods until you find the one that works.

Super glues are great for repairs around the house, but some brands tend to drip. If you get a drop or two of super glue on your clothing, it’s best to let it dry because if you try to wipe it away, it will get pressed into the fibres and become more difficult to remove.

What removes glue from fabric? Save your shirt with the right approach

Once the super glue is dry, scrape with a dull knife or a similar metal edge to remove the dried glue from the fabric. Use acetone to soften the residue that remains, if the material will allow (see box below). Here is how it’s done:

Using a cotton swab, apply the acetone carefully to the glue.

Leave the swab in contact with the glue for several minutes.

Once the glue has softened, scrub it away with a cotton ball or a clean cloth.

Repeat if needed and apply acetone to the other side of the fabric if it has bled through.

Apply some laundry detergent to the area, allow to soak for a bit, then launder as usual.

This very effective method of getting super glue off fabric will also work for many other types of adhesives.

How to remove hot glue from fabric

Getting hot glue off fabric requires a slightly different approach. One very effective method is to put the item in the freezer overnight. After the glue is completely frozen, you may be able to scrape it away with a dull-edged knife or similar tool. It may even come off with just your fingernail.

If this method fails to remove the hot glue from the fabric, try acetone as in the instructions above.

Other types of glue may respond well to white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or even just water. In each case, the procedure is very similar. First, soak the glued area with the solvent you choose, then attempt to scrape or scrub it away carefully. 

When using acetone, vinegar, or any other solvent to loosen and remove dried glue from fabrics, always test a small and inconspicuous spot to ensure the chemical or solvent will not damage or fade the colour of the cloth.

Dissolve glue on fabric the easy way

Occasionally, you may have a tough time getting glue off fabric or you may want a shortcut. You can get great results with a good universal glue remover – like Loctite Glue Remover. This handy product quickly removes glue from fabrics, stained surfaces, and even bonded fingers. 

An even better solution is to avoid getting glue on fabrics in the first place. That’s where Loctite Super Glue Control comes in. Strong and versatile, this powerful adhesive dries quickly to a transparent bond in just minutes. Its precise dispenser puts the glue exactly where you want it. It works great for metal, porcelain, rubber, leather, plastics, and non-porous surfaces like fabric.