How to Remove Hot Glue – An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

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When it comes to working with glue, things can be tricky enough. Working with and removing hot glue has its own processes and is particularly tricky. The purpose of this article is to narrow down the best methods and advice on how to remove hot glue when you find yourself in a sticky situation. To make things a little easier, we will highlight different methods on how to dissolve hot glue as well as how to clean your hot glue guns.



How to Dissolve Hot Glue

Let’s face it, we have all had an accident or made a mess while crafting, maybe you spilled paint on your white rug or you managed to glue your fingers together. It happens to the best of us. Using a corded hot glue gun  or a portable hot glue gun is no exception. Sometimes accidents happen, but the good news is, you can fix them! Just because it is glue does not mean it cannot be removed. In the steps below we are going to investigate methods for removing hot glue from hard surfaces.

removing hot glue


How to Get Hot Glue Off Wood and Other Surfaces

Getting glue off your surfaces is not as scary as it sounds. There are a few simple processes that you should have the tools for at home already.

  • When removing things from wood that has been varnished or painted, there is always the risk of damaging it. Sometimes the simplest way may be the best way.
  • To remove dried glue from wood, use a flat, sharp object such as a blade or putty knife. This will get underneath the glue and lift it from your wooden surface.
  • The key is to try and maneuver the tool you are using to get right between the glue and the wood.
  • Next, you will need a hairdryer. Slowly heat the area with the dried glue causing it to soften. Then use a hot towel to remove the glue from the area. Be sure to take caution when working with extreme temperatures.

There is another more common method below which makes use of alcohol for tougher spills.


Second Method:

  • The first and most important rule – never try to clean glue or hot glue while it is still wet. This will only make things worse. The best advice is to wait for it to be dried completely before removing hot glue.
  • Next, dip a cotton swab into some acetone or rubbing alcohol. Use this to gently coat the edges around your spill. Allow for a few minutes so that the alcohol reacts with your glue, then it should be looser allowing you to lift it off the surface.
  • The downside of using this method on painted or varnished surfaces is of course that alcohol may affect it. This is why it would be beneficial to first try a small spot of alcohol on your surface to see how it reacts.
  • Try not to overcoat the glue, just a little alcohol is strong enough to react with it.
  • Once you have successfully removed the dried glue from your surface, make sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth.



How to Remove Hot Glue From Fabric

Spilling hot glue on your clothing or other fabrics around the home can be a frustrating experience. But luckily, it does not have to be a complete disaster. In the method below, we will outline a simple process on how to remove hot glue from fabrics without damaging them.

  • Remember our first rule – do not attempt to remove or touch your hot glue once it has spilled on your fabric. If you have spilled on an item of clothing, it is best to gently remove it to avoid disturbing the glue. Touching your hot glue will cause it to seep further into the material, being absorbed into the fibers. This is exactly what we do not want.
  • The next step is to place your fabric into the freezer, again without disturbing the glue that is drying. The cold air will ensure the glue dries completely, making it much easier to remove without damaging your fabrics.
  • After about an hour you can remove it and slowly peel the dried glue off your material. Viola!


Removing Hot Glue From Your Carpets

This must be the worst type of hot glue gun mess. Depending on the fibers and materials your carpet is made from, this process can be particularly difficult. Technically carpets are fabric, but we cannot exactly pick up our entire carpet and place it in the freezer and we certainly cannot use any alcohol on them. So here is another easy method to tackle any hot glue spills on your rugs or carpets.


First Method:

  • The first way to do this would be to act fast! Unlike our other surfaces, taking immediate action may save our carpets if we are quick enough.
  • If you are aware of having just dropped hot glue on your rug or carpet, you can immediately take a sharp knife or object and in one swift motion scrape it off.
  • Be sure to clean your knife so it is not damaged by the glue.



Second Method:

  • This technique is used after your glue spill has been left unnoticed and dried on your carpet.
  • You will need a scrap piece of fabric that will not melt under heat, or when using an iron.
  • Carefully lay your fabric over the dried glue. Then place your hot iron over it and gently apply pressure. Make sure to keep your iron still, as moving it around will move your glue around too and push it further into the fabric.
  • The heat in your iron should effectively allow the glue on your carpet to adhere or even melt into the scrap fabric. It can then be safely and easily peeled off your carpets.
  • Once you have successfully removed the hot glue from your carpets, it is beneficial to vacuum them to remove any residue.

how to get hot glue off wood


How to Get Hot Glue Off Plastic

You may think doing your crafts on a plastic surface makes them easier to clean up afterward. But what about using hot glue and messing that onto your plastic surface? Here we have two methods you can try at home on how to get hot glue off plastic surfaces.

  • One could use the same method for removing glue from other surfaces when removing it from plastic. However, some plastics may react poorly with alcohol.
  • Instead, one method would be to use something oily such as your skin moisturizer or even sunflower and vegetable oil. The goal here is to completely saturate your dried glue area with the oil, allowing it to be absorbed and ultimately separating it from the plastic surface. Once it has soaked in, use a cloth and it will wipe right off.
  • Another simple method would be to use some white vinegar. If you can handle the smell, soak your dried glue area with some white vinegar. Then use a flat tool such as a spatula or bank card and lift it. Your dried glue should peel off with a little work.
  • You may want to wash that area with soap and water to remove the smell when you are done.


Now that we know all the tricks and tips for removing hot glue from fabrics and materials, let’s take a look at how to clean your hot glue guns.



How To Clean A Hot Glue Gun

Using hot glue guns is always fun, cleaning them, not so much. That’s why we are going to take you through a few different ways on how to clean a hot glue gun.


Cleaning Your Hot Glue Gun

The worst part about cleaning a hot glue gun is all the dried glue that sticks around the outside. This often seems impossible to remove and much easier to just leave be. Well not anymore! Here are three simple ways to clean the caked and hardened glue on your glue guns.


First Method:

  • For this method, you will only need some acetone or rubbing alcohol and an old rag or paper towel.
  • Make sure your tools are cool down before using this method.
  • Apply some of the acetone to your paper towel and wipe your gun handle and nozzle.
  • The acidity will dissolve the dried glue. This process may need to be repeated a few times depending on the state of your gun.
  • Once done, wipe down your gun and remember to wash your hands.



Second Method:

  • The only thing you will need for this method, besides your gun is some aluminum foil.
  • Tear off a piece large enough to cover the outside of your gun. Wrap it up nicely.
  • Next, you want to plug in and turn on your glue gun. Allowing it to warm up and heat the dried glue within your foil.
  • Once it is warm enough, you can remove the foil and scrape off any dried glue pieces left behind.


Third Method:

  • This method involves the same tools as before, with the addition of a hairdryer and some gloves.
  • Wrap the areas of your gun that are covered in glue with the foil and gently rub it on there.
  • Next, you want to take your hairdryer and hat your foil. This will allow the glue to soften and in some cases melt.
  • Do this until your foil is sufficiently heated, then using your gloved hand peel it off the gun taking with it any glue residue.

how to dissolve hot glue


How to Clean a Hot Glue Gun Nozzle

It is no surprise that our glue gun nozzles will need special attention when it comes to cleaning. These will usually get backed up with dried glue which can affect the performance of your gun. Here is a quick way to clean your glue gun nozzle that takes under 30 minutes.

  • For this one, we are using foil again. Just a small piece, rolled into a ball.
  • You may want to wear some heatproof gloves or be sure to roll a ball big enough so that your hands do not get burned.
  • Next, turn on your gun and let it get warm so that the glue around the nozzle starts melting.
  • Once it is ready, use your foil to rub along the outside of your nozzle removing all the rough bits.
  • Another simple trick you can try is wiping your gun down when it is still warm with a dryer sheet. That way you can get into the habit of regular cleaning whenever you are done using your glue gun. This would apply to the nozzle and base of your hot glue gun.

Now you know all the different ways to clean your hot glue gun and remove hot glue from your fabrics and surfaces. We hope you found these tips helpful and effective.

cleaning supplies for removing hot glue



Frequently Asked Questions


How to Dissolve Hot Glue?

Removing hot glue is not as difficult as one may think. A great tool for dissolving hot glue is acetone or rubbing alcohol. Both of these chemicals will strip the adhesive properties of your glue allowing them to be easily peeled off of surfaces. Using white vinegar is also very effective for those wanting to know how to dissolve hot glue.


How to Get Hot Glue Off Wood?

Wait for the glue to be completely dry before attempting to remove it. Next, you can use some acetone or rubbing alcohol applied gently to the edges of the glued area. After a few minutes, your glue should peel right off.


How to Remove Hot Glue From Fabric?

If you have messed hot glue on an item of clothing or other fabric at home, do not touch it! Touching the glue while it is wet, will cause it to soak into your fabric fibers. The best thing to do is to take the item of fabric and place it in the freezer. Leave it to dry there for up to an hour. Once done your can easily peel your glue right off without any damage to your materials.


Knowing how to remove hot glue is important information for all crafters. Be sure to have this guide ready next time you start a project, because you never know when you might need to remove spilt glue.