How to Remove Super Glue from Fabric

Super glue is a substance well known for gluing fingers together. This thin, clear liquid easily drips and runs from the intended surface onto your clothing. The fast-setting adhesive is dry almost instantly, bonding with the fibers of the fabric. The immediate reaction may be that the super glue cannot be removed; after all, it is designed to create permanent bonds. Don't fear, super glue is also designed to be easily removed from skin and fabric. 

remove super glue from fabric

When considering how to remove super glue from fabric, keep in mind that the glue will cure over time. The longer you wait to remove the glue stain, the harder it will be to remove. The amount of glue spilled will also affect the ability to completely remove the stain. Large spills will often result in burned fabric. Cyanocrylate, a main ingredient in super adhesives, polymerizes upon contact with clothes, fabric, rags, tissues and paper towels. Large spills have the potential to create intense heat. Depending on the fabric type, the heat may permanently burn the fabric. 

Basic Removal of Super Glue from Washable Fabrics

When super glue drips and falls on washable fabric, it often dries before you can react. If the glue is still wet, avoid touching or rubbing the area. Wet glue can be easily spread onto your fingers or over a larger area of fabric. Cornell University recommends soaking small spills in cool water to soften and loosen the glue. If the water alone does not work, stain removal products become necessary.

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Prewash stain treatment
  • Heavy-duty liquid detergent
  • Chlorine or color-safe bleach

Apply a generous amount of stain treatment to the super glue stain. Aerosol treatments work best on adhesive stains, but all types of prewash stain treatments can be used. Allow the stain treatment to remain on the stain for several minutes. Immediately wash in cold water and heavy-duty laundry detergent. 

Inspect the garment carefully before drying. The glue should be completely removed from the fabric, but a color stain may remain. Some brands of super adhesives are yellow tinted and can discolor certain fabrics. If a stain remains, wash the fabric in the appropriate bleach for the fabric type.

Removal of Difficult Super Glue Stains 

When super glue forms a heavy layer on washable fabrics, it can often be difficult to break down the layers for easy removal. The use of dry cleaning solvents will break down the glue for easy removal.

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Clean, white towels
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  1. Fold a clean, white towel so that it is several layers thick. Place the stained area of fabric stain-down on top of the towel. The towel will keep the solvent on the stained area and protect the surface below.
  2. Apply a generous amount of dry cleaning solvent to the stain. Allow to dry and rinse thoroughly under cool, running water. 
  3. Wash in cold water and heavy-duty laundry detergent.

Inspect carefully for any color discoloration before placing the fabric in the dryer. If a color stain remains, wash the fabric using chlorine or color-safe bleach, depending on the type of fabric. 

Removing Super Glue from Upholstery Fabric

Some upholstery fabrics may be removed from cushions and pillows for easy washing. These fabrics can be treated using the methods suggested above. Non-removable fabrics must be treated by a process of treating and blotting. 

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Clear acetone
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Eye dropper
  • Clean, white towels

Due to the strength of the stain removal agents, perform a test run on a hidden section of upholstery fabric. Look for any discoloration or bleaching. If none occurs, you can safely use the chemicals to remove super glue from fabric.

  1. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.
  2. Use an eye dropper to apply a few drops of clear acetone to the surface of the super glue.
  3. Immediately blot with a clean, white towel.
  4. Repeat the process until the stiffness of the super glue is removed. 
  5. Apply dry cleaning solvent to a clean, white towel. Blot the stained area with the solvent.
  6. If the stain is persistent, use an eye dropper to apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the stain. 
  7. Sponge with a towel dipped in cold water. 
  8. Blot thoroughly with a clean, dry towel.

Allow the upholstery to air dry. Large amounts of super glue can be removed in small sections using the same process. 

Super glue bonds are not always permanent. The key is to take stain removal steps as soon as possible, treating the stain while it is fresh. Avoid placing stained fabrics in the dryer, as the heat can further set the glue and strengthen the bond. With proper removal techniques, you can successfully remove super glue from fabric and upholstery.