If you are an avid crafter or enjoy home projects, you will probably have accidentally spilled some hot glue. Fortunately, it is always possible to remove the hot glue from a range of surfaces, you just need the know-how. Depending on the surface, be it wood, plastic, fabric, skin, or carpet, you will use a slightly different technique. Below you will find solutions for almost any situation involving hot glue. We will also discuss maintenance and how to clean a hot glue gun.
Table of Contents
- 1 Removing Hot Glue
- 1.1 How to Remove Hot Glue from Fabric
- 1.2 How to Remove Hot Glue From Carpets
- 1.3 How to Get Hot Glue Off Wood
- 1.4 How to Get Hot Glue Off Plastic
- 1.5 How to Dissolve Hot Glue from Other Surfaces
- 1.6 How to Remove Hot Glue From Skin
- 2 How to Clean a Hot Glue Gun
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Removing Hot Glue
Part of crafting with hot glue is that inevitably it may drip or leak onto surfaces that are unprotected. You may end up with hot glue on your wooden tables, carpets, plastic, and clothes. It is not, however, the end of the world! These mishaps can easily be rectified with little trouble, all you need is a little know-how. Below you will find the steps for removing hot glue from various surfaces.
How to Remove Hot Glue from Fabric
It is very easy for hot glue to accidentally get onto your clothing or fabrics that you may be working with as part of a craft project. Below we explain how to remove hot glue from fabric safely, so as not to cause any damage to the fabric.
The most important thing to remember when removing hot glue from the fabric is to let the glue dry completely. Messing with the glue before it has dried may result in it soaking into the fibers.
The Freezing Method
- To be sure that the glue is dry and to not mess with it as mentioned, test if it is still tacky using a toothpick or skewer.
- If you are able to put the item into the freezer for half an hour to an hour, once the glue has hardened you will easily be able to peel it off with your finger or lightly using a butter knife.
The Rubbing Alcohol Method
- Another method is swabbing the edges of the dried glue with a cotton wool bud soaked in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, which contains acetone. This should begin to loosen the glue so that you can lift the edges and peel it away. Be sure to rinse the fabric afterward to remove any traces of glue or alcohol.
The Ironing Method
- You can also use the hot iron method in the answer to how to dissolve hot glue. Be very aware of watching the fabric closely with this method so as not to melt the glue into the fabric. Set your iron to medium heat, place a sheet of brown paper over the fabric, and iron over the paper pressing down on the glue for about 20 seconds.
Check whether the glue has transferred to the paper, if not rearrange the paper so that a clean area is over the glue spot and continue. One can also use a cloth or another piece of scrap material instead of brown paper. Be sure not to use the steam setting on your iron.
- If two pieces of fabric are unintentionally stuck together, twist them apart as the glue will usually stick to one item. You can then use one of the above methods to remove the glue. If this does prove difficult, you can use alcohol or acetone on the area that they are glued together and then twist.
How to Remove Hot Glue From Carpets
Hot glue on a nice plush carpet sounds like an absolute nightmare! This surface is a little more difficult as the methods used for removing hot glue from fabric aren’t as simple on a carpet or rug. There are however ways to save the situation.
- Should you only notice the spilled glue once it has dried, you will need a cloth or spare scrap of fabric. Place this over the glue spot and being very careful place a medium heat iron over the fabric.
- Do not move the iron around as this may spread the glue into the carpet fibers. You can also use a hairdryer to heat the area.
- Once heated lift the fabric and the glue should have adhered to this, coming away from your carpet. It is advisable to wipe the carpet with water and your usual carpet detergent to remove any sticky residue.
If you are fortunate enough to notice the glue spill immediately whilst it is still hot, quickly use a kitchen knife or craft knife to scrape it off in one quick sweep. This should easily and effectively remove the spill. You should then also wipe the area of the spill with water to remove any hot glue residue.
How to Get Hot Glue Off Wood
A wooden work surface is probably the most common surface on which you may find glue spills. However, we can teach you how to safely remove hot glue from any wooden surface.
- Much like the advice given for how to remove hot glue from fabric, it is always best to allow the glue to dry on your wooden surface rather than spread sticky wet glue over the surface.
- After allowing the glue to dry, test a very small area of the wood with either nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. In some cases, these substances can react adversely with the varnish or surface finish on the wood.
- Should there be no reaction, using a cotton wool bud soaked in the alcohol or acetone, gently place around the glue spill. This method will break the bonds in the glue and after a few minutes, you should be able to gently loosen the edges of the glue and lift it off the surface. Once you have removed the glue wipe the surface with a damp cloth and dry carefully.
If this first method does not work, or you are nervous about using alcohol on your precious wooden surfaces, there is another method you can try. This method is much more simple, all you need is some kind of knife and some heat.
- Another method is to gently try and lift the edges of the glue with a sharp kitchen knife, blade, or craft knife. Be very careful not to scrape the surface, particularly if it is varnished or treated.
- Using a hairdryer gently heat the glue which will melt it slightly, you should then be able to use a hot cloth to quickly wipe away the glue. Wipe down afterward with water and dry thoroughly.
How to Get Hot Glue Off Plastic
Many people work on plastic surfaces rather than wooden ones as they are easier to clean for the most part. However hot glue on a plastic surface is just as messy as any other. Below are a few tricks for how to remove hot glue from plastic.
- You can once again use a cotton wool bud and soak it in any type of oil- olive oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable oil. Lavishly cover the glue in oil and leave it for a few minutes to absorb. Using a cloth, once the glue separates from the plastic surface you should be able to simply wipe it off.
- You can also use the rubbing alcohol or acetone method as is used with other surfaces, just be aware of damaging the plastic with this method.
- Vinegar is also a good option for removing hot glue. Saturate the area with vinegar and then gently use something flat like a palette knife to lift the glue from the plastic easily.
As with all methods, be sure to wipe your surface with a damp cloth.
How to Dissolve Hot Glue from Other Surfaces
Most surfaces will react well to most of the methods mentioned above. Just a quick mention of metal and glass surfaces, which some crafters do like to work on as well. The most effective method for these common surfaces is to use the cotton wool bud and rubbing alcohol or acetone.
This method is a suitable option as neither of these materials will react to the alcohol. As always just be careful not to scratch the metal or glass.
How to Remove Hot Glue From Skin
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and it is possible to end up with glue on your hands and even glue your fingers together. This is quite an important part that everyone should know.
- This is one instance where you do not wait for the glue to dry and stick to the skin! Act quickly and run the affected area under a stream of water and massage the area to get rid of the glue. If it is burning an ice cube is very effective.
- Then using a cotton wool bud apply olive oil or vegetable oil to the glue to loosen it. Do not use alcohol or acetone as this will burn the wound further.
- Petroleum jelly or lip ice can also be used to remove the glue.
- Clean the area carefully once the glue has been removed and either bandage at home with an anti-septic ointment or seek medical attention immediately if it is a bad burn.
How to Clean a Hot Glue Gun
In order to maintain your hot glue gun and ensure that it lasts, you will need to regularly clean it to remove the dirt and hardened glue on the outside. This is the least fun when it comes to crafting, however, if it is cleaned after each use it won’t be a difficult task and your gun will be a pleasure to use.
- If your glue gun is in a pretty bad state, you will need to remove all the outer dried glue. Scrunch up a ball of tin foil to scrub the outside. If the gun is still warm you will need fabric gloves to protect your hands from burning. Scrub the tip of the gun and the outside with the foil, the glue should stick to it and come away easily. Alternatively, wrap the gun in a piece of tin foil and heat it up, the dried glue will stick to the foil once you remove it. Be aware that the foil will be hot.
- Another method is to wipe down your cooled gun with a cloth and rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. This may take a bit longer but eventually, the dried glue will dissolve.
How to Clean Your Hot Glue Gun Nozzle
The nozzle of your hot glue gun needs to be cleaned regularly as it can become blocked with dried glue and affect the efficiency and life expectancy of the gun. If you do this often it really does not take too much time or effort.
- Again, use the ball of tinfoil that you may have used earlier. Warm up your gun and be sure to use heat-resistant gloves. Use the tinfoil to scrape all the glue from the nozzle.
- Wipe down your gun and nozzle after each use.
- A pin can help to scrape away dried glue on the nozzle.
Now that you have learned how to get hot glue off wood, fabric, plastic, and other surfaces with household items that you will probably already have, you no longer need to worry about accidental spills. Have fun and enjoy your next project!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hot Glue Toxic?
Hot glue is non-toxic and should not emit fumes at all. Glue guns should however be used correctly and safely because they are hot and you can easily burn yourself.
How Do I Know When My Glue Gun Is Hot Enough?
The glue gun should be fully heated within about 3-4 minutes. Once your gun is hot enough, the glue should easily flow, and it should not be hard work to squeeze the gun.
Should I Wear Gloves When Using a Glue Gun?
It is not necessary to wear gloves when using a glue gun, however, when removing hot glue it is advisable to prevent skin irritation from the rubbing alcohol.
I have been into woodworking since 2005 and woodturning since 2011. Because of my love for wood and woodworking, I started woodhappen.com to teach other enthusiasts about how to finish and seal wood, the best woodworking tools, the different types of wood, and everything else related to woodworking! Read more about me here.