How to Remove Glue From Plastic – Best Removal Methods

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Whatever the situation, whether you messed glue or sitting with some sticky residue from a label on a newly bought item, removing glue from plastic does not have to be a frustrating struggle. There are some approaches you can use to make things easier. The main objective is to soften or break down the glue without damaging the plastic surface. So, let us now have a look at various methods and discover how to remove glue from plastic.



Types of Glue for Plastic

There are various kinds of plastics, all modified in some way to presenting with certain features. Some of these properties provide higher density and hardness, water resistance, temperature resistance, or tensile strength. Each type of plastic, therefore, has different applications. Some of the more common examples of plastics around the house include furniture items, textiles, footwear, plumbing and electrical components, appliances, car parts amongst others.

How to Get Glue Off Plastic

Glue is manufactured to work with specific materials, for example, wood glue. Many of the adhesive options can work on multiple surfaces, like superglue. However, superglue does not work effectively on hard smooth plastics. You will need to scuff the surface first for it to form a stronger bond. Also, different materials can play a role as some adhesives work fine on two plastic surfaces, but if it is gluing plastic to a metal surface, it will not work well. If you like to do things around the house yourself, you most probably have a few adhesive options readily available.  So, it is best to read the label instructions to find the best glue for your purposes. Below are four types of adhesives:

  • Cyanoacrylate adhesive like superglue
  • Multi-purpose glues 
  • Epoxy
  • Solvent cement



How to Get Glue off Plastic

Now that you understand that not all adhesives will work on plastics, especially the high-density smooth plastic materials, it is time to look closer at how to get glue off plastic. I think one of the most common scenarios is that of trying to get labels off a plastic surface. There is nothing more annoying than pulling sticky label pieces off in tiny chunks, only to be left with a sticky residue. Below we will be dealing with this issue and more.

If you are using a commercial remover or a substance like rubbing alcohol, it might be best to test out a little on the plastic surface, just to make sure it will not cause any surface damage.


How to Get Glue off Plastic Vinyl

Vinyl is a popular plastic material that is often used in the manufacture of cars. You also get vinyl flooring and windows around the house. So, how do you go about removing glue from plastic vinyl surfaces?

How to Get Super Glue Off Plastic Quickly

To remove glue from plastic vinyl, you will need several pieces of equipment. Here is a brief list of some of the important things you will need:

  • Paper towels or cotton balls
  • Clean cloth
  • Acetone
  • Water

You can try scraping most of the glue off with a plastic scraper, just be careful not to damage the surface. Again, test out a small unobtrusive section before you begin. Once satisfied that no damage will occur, you can moisten the paper towel or cotton ball with acetone. Dab on the glue area and wait until it begins to soften. Take the clean cloth and wipe away the softened glue. Keep on going until you have removed all the glue residue. Finally, wipe the area with a cloth and some clean water and then let the surface dry.


How to Get Glue off With Household Products

This includes how to get super glue off plastic and the solutions are usually easy to come by as the methods use utilize materials around the house. One of the simplest methods is to use soapy warm water, although this might require a bit more patience. Moisten a clean cloth in some warm water that has a little dishwashing liquid added and drape it over the glue area.

Removing Glue from Plastic

To make sure the cloth remains damp, you can tape a plastic bag or plastic wrap over the area as well. Leave the cloth and plastic cover over the glue for about three hours. Try to pick the cloth and glue up instead of wipe, as you do not want to spread the glue everywhere, then allow the area to dry. Below are a few more ideas on how to get glue off plastic.


Baking Soda and Vegetable oil

Most of us have some baking soda and oil in the pantry, so this should be an easy method. Simply mix equal amounts of the oil and baking soda, it does not matter what type of oil, all oils should work the same. Here are a few examples, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil. Combine the two ingredients until the mixture becomes a paste. You might consider this as a great skin exfoliator as well.

The amount you combine will depend on the size of the glue residue. To make enough, for example, a label on a jar, 15 ml of each ingredient should be enough. Coconut oil does have more of a fat content which could be more useful on stubborn residue marks. Work the paste into the glue until the entire area is covered. If you do not want to use your fingers, you can also apply with a cloth.

Easy PVC Glue Remover

Leave for at least half an hour for the glue to soften, and then use a scouring sponge to scrub at the residue. Keep cleaning until you notice the glue residue is lifting. Reapply the oil and baking soda mixture again if the residue remains and follow the same process again. Finally, wash the plastic surface using some warm water and soap, to help get rid of the glue as well as any oily residue left over.

Dishwashing soap is best as it is designed to cut through oily and greasy substances. Rinse the plastic surface and leave it to dry.


Removing Glue From Plastic With Vinegar

You can dip a cloth into some vinegar and then lay this over the glue, leave for about 15 minutes to half an hour, and then clean. The glue should have loosened and will come off easily, but you can also scrape it off if you need to or use a toothbrush to remove it. Vinegar does not have the best of smells, so clean the area again with a little soap and water.

How to Get Glue Off Plastic with Household Products

You can also fill a bowl with some vinegar and soak the item with the glue residue on it. Test out the vinegar or any adhesive remover on a minor area of the plastic surface before soaking it. We have already mentioned oil and baking soda, however, you can also try baking soda and vinegar which will bubble when mixed.


Other Household Methods for removing Glue From Plastic

When learning how to get glue off plastic, a milder method is to simply use some moisturizer or plain vegetable oil. Cover the glue residue with the moisturizer or oil, leave for a few minutes, and then clean with a cloth. You can even try make-up wipes, simply rub the area with the wipe, leave, and then clean with a cloth or paper towel. Many of us try to scrape the glue residue off with our nails, which might work, however, you can also use a spatula, snub knife, a razor, or an old credit card. You can also try freezing the glue, place the plastic item in the freezer or you can use ice cubes in a bag to rub over the area.

How to Get Super Glue off Plastic

The glue should become hard and can then be scraped off. You can also try using heat from a hairdryer, hold it a distance away so as not to damage the surface. Instead of a hairdryer, you could also try lightly steaming the surface. More household items you can use to remove glue residue include peanut butter and mayonnaise. The oil in these products is what does the job, apply a layer onto the glue you want to be removed and leave for 30 minutes. Wipe off with a clean cloth.

You can also try using a rubber eraser; however, this might only work on thin or residual layers of glue. Wipe firmly over the glue residue with the eraser. If it is a small area, using the eraser at the end of a pencil should do the job.


How to Remove Glue From Plastic With Rubbing Alcohol and Acetone

As with the vinyl, you might want to consider acetone or rubbing alcohol to remove the glue from the plastic surface. These are more abrasive, so they could damage the plastic surface. Again, test out an area first before using it. Dip a piece of cotton ball or paper towel in the acetone and dab at the glue residue until it softens. Dab do not rub with a clean cloth to remove.

How to Get Glue Off Plastic Easily

How to get super glue off plastic? One other option that is milder than the two options above, is called a de-bonding agent which has a nitromethane component. Even though it is milder than acetone, caution must be taken when used on plastics. This product can easily be located at a store close by or you can search for it online.


Commercial Adhesive Removers

There are also products for removing glue from plastic. These are products like Goo Gone which is specifically made to remove glue residue from surfaces. You simply have to follow the product instructions, apply, and scrape or wipe off. Then, you get some products that are more versatile and can be used to remove grease, dirt, and, of course, glue from surfaces. We are talking about WD-40, a lubricant and cleaner product that is mostly used as a solvent and rust dissolved.

Spray onto the glue you want to be removed, leave for a few minutes, and clean with a cloth.


PVC Glue Remover

Your average superglue and Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) glue are not the same. PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) glue is also known as solvent cement glue and does not simply form a bond, it forms a chemical reaction and fuses two pieces of PVC material to create a permanent bond. You cannot use a PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) glue remover; you will have to cut out the section that is causing problems.

PVC Glue Remover

You will then have to sand the edges to create a smooth surface and wipe the dust away. Connect a new fitting and pipe, prime the pipe and fitting with PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) primer, and then apply the PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) cement. Place all the components together and leave to dry and fuse



Removing Glue From Plastic Tips and Tricks

Sometimes, when using do-it-yourself remedies for problems like removing glue from plastic surfaces, things can possibly turn out worse than before. For example, using a strong solvent adhesive remover on a soft plastic that becomes damaged in the process. So, it is best to follow a few guidelines and tips to achieve the best outcome.

  • Acetone and other stronger adhesives should be tested out first to avoid causing any damage.
  • When removing the glue, blot to get rid of it as wiping softened glue only spreads it around more.
  • When using acetone, do not leave it on the surface too long.

Best Ways for Removing Glue from Plastic

  • Always read the product labels of adhesive removers to make sure you can use them on plastic.
  • Using a scourer or other abrasive tool to remove the glue from plastic will scratch the surface.
  • If you are not all that concerned about the plastic surface, you can try using sandpaper to remove the glue.


After reading this article, you should be able to remove a range of different types of glue from plastic surfaces. Whether you have spilled hot glue on vinyl surfaces or you need to remove PVC glue, you now have all the knowledge necessary to do the job perfectly.


View our Removing Glue from Plastic web story here.



Frequently Asked Questions


Is Goo Gone a Good Adhesive Remover for Plastic?

Yes, Goo Gone is a product designed to remove glue and sticky residue and can be used on plastic. However, it is best to test out the product on a small section of the plastic item before using it. This is just to make sure the plastic surface does not become stained or cannot be damaged.


Can you Remove PVC Glue?

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is not the same as your regular glue as it is used to fuse PVC components. The solvent cement or ‘glue’ forms a chemical reaction that melts the PVC parts and fuses them permanently. So, it is impossible to remove, you will have to cut out sections and replace them.


How to get Super Glue off Plastic?

There are several ways for removing glue from plastic, from simple at-home remedies like scraping off or using oil, to applying a commercial adhesive remover. Since there are various types of plastics and adhesives, not all methods will work the same. You can start with the simplest method of warm soapy water, and if that does not work, try something else.


Can you use WD-40 For Removing Glue from Plastic?

Yes, you can use WD-40 as an adhesive remover, simply spray a little directly onto the glue residue, or first onto a cloth, and then wipe the area. The glue residue should come off quite quickly. However, simple vegetable oil will produce the same results.