Can Acetone Remove Glue?

by ReAgent Chemicals

Acetone has many remarkable uses, including cleaning lab equipment, lifting oil stains from driveways and its most well-known, removing nail polish. Cleaning patent leather shoes? Check. Tracing fluorescence? Of course.

Amongst its many and varied uses is removing glue, from sticky residue to Superglue. Superglue is an especially fast-acting adhesive and has an annoying habit of getting everywhere and setting immediately once you open it, but never fear, acetone is here.

How does acetone remove glue?

Acetone is a useful organic solvent which breaks down glue and sticky residues it comes into contact with, effectively dissolving them and leaving the surface free of stickiness. You may need to wash the surface with soapy water or rub it gently with a toothbrush afterwards.

Can acetone be used to remove glue? | ReAgent Chemicals
Acetone being used to separate dried glue from a surface

Can acetone remove glue from anything?

Almost! Yes, acetone can remove glue from almost anything, but be careful. It is excellent for removing glue from glass, porcelain and rubber for example, but if you’ve accidentally spilt glue on your favourite silk scarf or a highly varnished table top, you may want to consider other options such as warm soapy water. Acetone will remove the glue from silk scarves and varnished tables, but it may also discolour or damage more delicate surfaces. There are some great tips for removing acetone from clothes, such as scraping with a blunt spoon on non-delicate material or using a pre-treatment stain remover.

You can also use acetone to remove glue from your skin, but again try warm soapy water first as this will soften the glue and you’ll probably be able to peel it off. If you do use acetone, do so only in small doses, not in any sensitive areas such as near your eyes, and be aware that acetone dries and de-fats skin, so wash the area thoroughly and moisturise afterwards.

A step-by-step guide to removing glue from glass, porcelain or rubber with acetone

  1. Wait for the glue to dry completely – if you try and remove it while it’s still wet, you may spread it around the surface.
  2. Make sure the area you’re working in is well-ventilated because of fumes from both the acetone and the glue.
  3. Use acetone to soften the glue. Put a little of the solvent on a cotton bud or small piece of cotton wool and dab at the glue.
  4. Once the glue starts to soften (you’ll be able to feel it happening), scrape, brush or peel the glue off.
  5. Repeat steps two and three until you have removed all of the glue.

At ReAgent, we make and supply acetone for analytical, general and laboratory use, but you can also use it to remove glue.


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