Fabric glue can be a time saver. But it can also make a bit of a mess. If you’re going to use it, it’s a good idea to know how to remove fabric glue from clothes, tools, and other items. Just in case.
Removing fabric glue can be difficult, especially because there are different types of glue, and different types of fabric. Removing fabric glue stains from dried glue can be even more difficult.
Learning ahead of time how to remove glue can save you frustration…and it may even save your project.
What is Fabric Glue?
The short answer is that fabric glue is exactly what it sounds like: adhesive for sticking fabric together. However, there are several different kinds of fabric glue — and glue that can be used to attach fabrics, even if that’s not its main purpose.
Permanent Fabric Glue
Permanent fabric glue bonds fabrics together permanently. It’s a fantastic tool for when you want a lasting, unbreakable bond.
Temporary Fabric Glue
Temporary fabric glue provides a temporary bond. Removing glue is often a matter of washing or rinsing it out.
Fabric Glue Tape
Some fabric glue comes in tape form. Fusible hem tape is one example. This type of fabric glue makes a semi-permanent bond.
Waterproof Fabric Glue
Waterproof fabric glue is meant to stand up to a trip through the washing machine.
You might recognize this kind of glue from other crafts. It’s a plastic based glue that is extruded through a “gun.” You can use it to add embellishments to fabrics and DIY projects. In a pinch, you can also use it to bond fabric pieces together.
Super glues like Krazy Glue are made to form an unbreakable bond. Generally these glue types are less effective on porous materials like textiles, but some brands have a special version for fabrics.
Why Would You Want to Remove Something You Added?
We can think of a lot of reasons you might want to know how to remove fabric glue after you’ve applied it.
First, if you’ve made a mistake, you’ll want to take the work apart and try again.
If you’ve spilled or dripped or used too much, you’ll obviously want to remove glue from where it doesn’t belong. And you’ll want to remove fabric glue from any clothing, furniture, or items that it may have contaminated.
Different Types of Fabric Glue May Require Different Methods
Knowing how to get glue out of clothes isn’t always intuitive. There are a lot of factors that can make it easier or harder to remove fabric glue from items, including the type of adhesive. And, of course, it’s important to consider the fabric, and what it can tolerate.
Don’t worry. In the next section, we’ll teach you how to remove a variety of different types of glue from fabric and other items.
How to Remove Fabric Glue From Clothes and Other Materials
There are numerous methods for removing glue, but not all are fit for all glue types, or all fabrics. Always remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the glue, and the care label for your fabric, before starting.
Remove Fabric Glue With an Iron
Heat loosens some types of glue, especially heat set glues, so that they can be lifted free of the fibres. A very hot iron is great for this. Here’s how to do it.
First, make sure that your fabric is heat tolerant. This generally means natural fibers like cotton or linen. The item should also be able to go through a hot or warm water wash cycle.
- Preheat your iron to the cotton setting. This will be one of the higher settings.
- Place a clean cloth or paper towel on top of the glue. This will protect your iron. It will also absorb the glue once it begins to melt.
- Run the hot steam iron over the glue.
- Once the glue melts and loosens, lift the cloth. The glue should come away as well. Remove all the glue, or at least as much glue as you can.
- You can also gently scrape at this point.
- If there are any glue stains left, apply a pre-wash stain remover.
- Wash the fabric with warm water in the washing machine.
Use Another Form of Steamed Heat
Hot steam can also help to remove unwanted glue. You can use a clothing steamer or an iron set to a steam heat setting. Again, make sure that your fabric can tolerate both heat and moisture before you begin.
Once the glue has softened, scrape it off. This video shows another steam heat method.
Dry Cleaning Can Remove Certain Adhesives
Dry cleaning is a chemical cleaning process that can work for fabrics that can’t tolerate either heat or moisture. Dry cleaning chemicals can break down certain types of fabric glue, but it may take several applications to completely remove all residual glue from fabric.
This is a good way to remove fabric glue from polyester and other heat sensitive synthetic fibers. You can take your item to your local dry cleaners, or save some money by buying a dry cleaning kit to use at home.
Here’s how that works.
Soak in Cold Water
A cold water soak is a safe, easy method for removing fabric glues that are water based, sticky, or come from a glue gun. Make sure that your item can tolerate both moisture and machine washing.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Spoon, dull knife, or stiff brush
- Freezer or ice cubes
- Cold water
- Cotton ball or a clean cloth
- Liquid laundry detergent
First, you’ll want the glue to be dry. A way to speed up this process is to put the item in the freezer. You can also rub ice cubes over it.
Next, use your dull knife, spoon, or brush to break away as much frozen glue residue as you can from the fabric. Remove glue stains by flushing them with cold water. Now, set the item in cold water overnight.
The next morning, dab on a bit of liquid laundry detergent with a cotton ball, then wash the item in cold water.
Wash on a high heat
Another way to remove fabric glue: wash it in the washing machine on high heat. As always, make sure that your fabric can take both machine washing and hot water.
Use Laundry Detergent to Get Rid of Adhesive
A mixture of laundry detergent and warm water can be useful for removing glue from carpet and some types of fabric.
First, scrape off as much of the fabric glue as you can. Then mix one tablespoon of laundry detergent with two cups (500 milliliters) of warm water. Use a clean cloth to apply the mixture to the glue. Then rinse with cold water and blot dry with a dry cloth.
Or, Try Fabric Softener
The surfactants in fabric softener can be helpful for removing fabric glue or a glue stain.
First, mix equal parts of fabric softener and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray it onto the glue, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse. You can also use this method for removing wallpaper glue.
Try Baking Soda
They say that nothing can break the bond made by super glue. We beg to differ. Baking soda can be a big help in removing glue, especially if you want to remove super glue.
First, lay the item out on a flat surface.
Next, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the glue spot.
Pour white vinegar into a small container, and use a toothbrush or other stiff brush to apply vinegar over the baking soda.
You may have to repeat these steps a few times.
Finally, send the item through the washing machine with a small amount of detergent.
Use a Paste of Baking Soda and Coconut Oil
Before using this method, test the paste on an inconspicuous part of the fabric to make sure that the oil won’t cause a stain or other damage.
Mix two parts baking soda to one part coconut oil. Gently rub the area with a toothbrush or other stiff brush. You may have to do this a few times to get all of it.
Remove Glue From Fabric With Vinegar
Vinegar alone, or mixed with soap and/or water can help with removal of some glue types. This works best if there’s a small amount of excess glue. It’s less effective for a large amount of glue.
Although food grade vinegar isn’t poisonous, it can cause the colors of some fabrics to run, so exercise caution. Always do a test swatch first.
Soak paper towels in vinegar. Lay them over the glue, and let the vinegar soak in for five minutes or so. Remove the paper towel then scrub gently with a toothbrush. You should be able to peel away excess glue with your fingers.
Let the spot dry, then wash the item as usual.
You can also use a combination of soapy water and vinegar to remove sticker residue.
Use Acetone to Get Glue off of Clothes
You can use acetone nail polish remover to remove different types of glue (particularly to remove super glue) from different types of fabric, including polyester and leather.
Another danger is to your fabric. Acetone can potentially dissolve or discolor some types of fabric, so make sure to test the chemical out on an inconspicuous part of your item before starting.
Now here’s how to remove fabric glue with nail polish remover.
Put a small amount of nail polish remover on a cotton swab or cotton ball. Apply the nail polish remover to the glue. Wait a bit, while the nail polish remover softens the bond.
Next, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off the nail polish remover and the glue. Finally, take a new cloth, wet it with a small amount of warm water, and wipe off any remaining residue.
Dry the entire area with a dry cloth.
This video shows you how.
Scrape the Glue Off
This is a good method for removing temporary and semi-permanent glue from fabric, glass or plastic.
Use a dull knife, plastic scraper, or even a credit card to scrape glue from fabric. That’s it.
Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Glue From Fabric
Rubbing alcohol (aka isopropyl alcohol) can dissolve glue from fabric or plastic. Again, test the alcohol on an invisible part of your item to make sure that it won’t damage the fabric.
As with acetone, you should use rubbing alcohol in a well ventilated area and make sure not to get it in your eyes or mouth.
Wet a cotton ball, cotton swab, or cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Place it over the glue, and let it sit for two to three minutes. After that, the glue should be easy to scrape off.
Alternatively, you can use vodka or vinegar.
How to Remove Fabric Glue From Certain Materials
Different fabrics respond differently to various removal techniques. Protect your fabrics!
How to Remove Fabric Glue from Silk
Silk may feel like one of the more delicate fabrics, but it’s actually quite strong. To remove fabric glue from silk, do the following:
- Soak the item for half an hour in liquid hand detergent or a mild clothing detergent for half an hour.
- Wash according to the manufacturer’s directions. Some silks are hand wash or dry clean only, while others can go into the washing machine.
How to Get Rid of Adhesive From Polyester
Methods for removing adhesive from polyester include:
- Freezing the garment and scraping off the glue
- Boiling the item in water
- Dry cleaning
- Cleaning with acetone
- Cleaning with isopropyl alcohol
Remember that polyester is a synthetic fabric, so don’t use one of the heat methods.
How to Shift Fabric Glue from Cotton
First, scrape as much of the glue as you can from the fabric.
Next, use a solution of two cups (500 milliliters) of warm water plus one tablespoon of liquid detergent. Apply the solution with a cloth, and gently rub until the glue is gone. Rinse.
How to Wipe Glues From Leather
The acetone method described above works best for leather.
How to Lift Glue Stains From Woolens
Lifting glue from woolen fabric requires the same process as removing it from cotton. Apply a solution of two cups (500 milliliters) of warm water plus one tablespoon of liquid detergent. Rub until the glue comes off.
If there’s any glue left, you can repeat the process using a solution of two cups of water plus one tablespoon of ammonia.
How to Get Fabric Glue off of Chiffon
For many types of glue, use steam heat. For super glue, you should purchase a commercial super glue remover.
How to Remove Fabric Adhesive from Denim
Denim is a heavy cotton fabric. Follow the procedure for cotton (ie; a solution of detergent and water).
How to Clean Fabric Glue From Canvas
Canvas is a hard wearing natural fiber. Follow the same process for denim and cotton.
How to Remove Adhesive Material From Nylon
First, try freezing the glue and scraping it off. If that doesn’t work, try acetone nail polish remover or isopropyl alcohol.
How to Get Rid of Glue From Velvet
There are two methods.
First, you can use vegetable oil, baby oil, or WD-40. Apply it only to the adhesive. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wash away with a solution of dish soap and water.
You can also dab on isopropyl alcohol to disintegrate the glue.
For either method, test your solution on an inconspicuous part of your item first.
Removal From Fabric by Glue Type
Different glues need different removal techniques:
How to Lift Gorilla Glue from Clothing
To remove Gorilla Glue, use acetone, vinegar and baking soda, or isopropyl alcohol.
How to Remove Hem Tape Adhesive From Fabric
Hem tape is a heat-set adhesive, which means that heat can loosen it up, too. Use an iron to melt the residue then scrape it off.
How to get Super Glue off of Clothes
Again, use acetone, vinegar, or isopropyl alcohol.
How to Remove Elmer’s Glue From Material
Elmer’s is water based and washable, so you can rinse it out with water.
How to Clean Eyelash Glue From Your Garments
Use oil or steam, depending on your fabric. Always test a swatch first.
How to shift Krazy Glue From Fabrics
To remove Krazy Glue, use isopropyl alcohol or acetone nail polish remover.
How to Get Glitter Glue off of Clothing
Don’t use hot water, as it may cause the dye in glitter glue to stain your fabric. You can scrape off dry glitter glue, or soak your item in cold water for 10 minutes. You could also use an oxygen bleach and water solution, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to Remove Tear Mender From Fabric
Tear Mender can only be removed with one of two medical adhesive removers: Detachol or Uni-Solve. 
How to Clean Beacon Fabri-Tac From Clothes
Dry cleaning is the best method. You could also use acetone. 
How to Clean Waterproof Glue From Fabric
It depends on the fabric and also on the type of glue. Use acetone or isopropyl alcohol if the fabric can tolerate it. You could also try dry cleaning.
Getting Rid of Fabric Glue From Other Surfaces
What if your glue goes somewhere other than on your project? Don’t worry.
How to Clean Fabric Glue off of Plastic
Scraping is the go-to method for this. You could also use isopropyl alcohol, vodka, or vinegar.
How to Lift Fabric Glue off of Carpet
Scrape off as much of the glue as you can. Then wash with a solution of warm water and laundry detergent.
How to Shift Fabric Adhesive From Glass
Apply nail polish remover or WD-40 then wipe away the residue.
How to Get Fabric Glue off of Wood
Moisten a paper towel with virgin olive oil. Let it sit on the wood for a minute, then wipe the glue away.
How to Clean Fabric Glues off of Your Skin
Soak the area for five minutes in a solution of detergent and water.
Now You Know How to Remove Fabric Glue From Almost Anything!
Did we answer your questions? Let us know in the comments!
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- Healthline | Acetone Poisoning | https://www.healthline.com/health/acetone-poisoning
- Sciencing | What Gloves Should be Used for Handling Acetone? | https://sciencing.com/gloves-should-used-acetone-8536346.html
- Tear Mender | Removal Directions | https://www.tearmender.com/content/files/Tear%20Mender%20Web/Documents/Spill%20Removal.pdf
- Beacon Adhesives | FAQ | https://www.beaconadhesives.com/fabri-tac-faq/