Fabric glue is a fantastic tool for bonding fabrics – until it goes where it is not wanted. Oopsie! Now what?
If you accidentally get fabric glue in places where it should not be, don’t panic. There are some methods to remove it without damaging your clothes.
So how do you remove fabric glue from clothes? It’s important to know what type of glue was used on the fabric and make sure that you don’t totally destroy the fabric in the process of removing the glue. Some fabric glue can be removed using hot steam from an iron, but heat-resistant fabric glue needs to be removed using a solvent.
If you want to learn the step-by-step method to removing both heat-resistant fabric glue and normal fabric glue, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’m going to show you how to remove fabric glue from your clothes with the least amount of damage possible.
Removing Fabric Glue – What You Need To Know
This super adhesive is not designed to be removed. It is permanent, so once it is applied, it stays there! Getting it off without damaging the fabric is almost impossible.
Luckily, there are a few tricks you can try. Many people have had success in removing fabric glue from clothes.
First, you need to determine what type of glue it is. There are many types of fabric glues, including:
Trying to dissolve or melt these adhesives could very likely dissolve or melt the fabric it is attached to, especially if the fabric contains synthetic fibers.
5 Ways to Remove Fabric Glue from Clothes
Fabric glue is not a new invention. People have been using it for years, and for years they have been accidentally getting some where it is not wanted.
Here are some more tried and true methods people have discovered over the years for getting fabric glue off of clothing.
1. Try Dry Cleaning or a Dry Cleaning Solution
Most types of fabric glue are made to withstand washing machines, but can not stand up to the solution used in the dry cleaning process. Therefore, this type of fabric glue can be removed from your clothing by taking it to the dry cleaners.
Taking it to the dry cleaner
Unfortunately, one treatment will not remove all of the glue completely.
You might have to have it to get cleaned several times for the best results. The first time will loosen the glue and subsequent cleanings will get rid of the fabric glue completely.
Alternately, you can use a home dry cleaning kit. This is much more convenient and it will save you a ton of dough!
You will still have to clean the garment several times, but you can do it at your convenience and in the comfort of your own home.
Using a dry cleaning solution
If you don’t want the entire dry cleaning kit, buy just the dry cleaning solution on its own.
The kit is handier because it comes with all of the rags and stuff you need, but the solution itself is what removes the glue.
This is a good method for hard to reach areas of the garment. With a rag or swab soaked in the dry cleaning solution, wipe the glue until it is completely removed.
Some PVA glues can be dissolved in a warm ammonia solution and can then be gently scrubbed away with a stiff brush. You will need a clean, cotton rag and a clean stiff bristle brush.
Some types of glue can be removed by saturating the gluey area in a strong, hot TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate) solution until the bond softens and starts to dissolve.
This method is usually safe and effective, but the color from your fabric might also come out.
2. Scraping off the Glue
If the garment is made of a tough fabric, you can manually scrape off the glue with a dull knife.
Big clumps of glue will need a sharp knife, just be careful not to cut into the fabric. If you just have a few little specks of fabric glue, you can scrape it off with your fingernail.
Whichever tool you use, the method is the same. Slide the tool or fingernail underneath the clump of glue and gently push or wiggle until it loosens.
After a bit of wiggling, it will pop right off. Use this method with dry, brittle glue.
Fresh glue is best removed with a cloth dampened with some type of solvent. Trying to wipe off fresh, wet glue with a dry rag will only smear it all over and make the situation worse.
3. Hot Steam
If it is the heat-bonding type of glue, you can place a clean strip of cotton (terry cloth or a piece of an old sheet) over the glued section of the fabric and press lightly with a very hot iron. Pass the iron over the area several times.
Press lightly, never applying excessive pressure, and never holding the iron in one place for more than a split second. You don’t want to go fast, but you also don’t want the iron to sit in one place.
Once you are confident the area is thoroughly heated through, lift the strip off of the fabric.
If you are lucky, the glue will pull clean away. If not, keep trying. It may take a few tries to get the glue to come off completely. Try not to damage the fabric during the process.
Steam can moisten and soften the adhesive which will loosen it enough to pull the fabric apart.
To remove the glue completely, you need to apply a damp cloth to the area covered in the glue you want to remove and apply enough heat to transfer the glue from the clothing to the rag.
Any left over stains and residual glue spots can be scraped off with an old stiff toothbrush and some laundry soap.
Once you are satisfied that you have removed all of the glue, wash the garment by hand or machine to remove any left over residue.
4. Baking Soda
For many years, long before the store shelves were filled with every type of cleaner imaginable, the power of baking soda was the housewife’s best friend.
From cleaning your teeth to cleaning the grout in your bathroom, there is no other product as powerful and versatile as baking powder!
To remove fabric glue from clothing, take two parts baking soda and mix it with one part coconut oil. Other types of vegetable oils might work, too, but coconut oil seems to work the best.
Using a toothbrush or some other stiff-bristled brush, scrub the area with the mixture and then wash as normal. If you don’t get it all out the first time, repeat until the garment is free of the unwanted glue.
5. Nail Polish Remover
Fabric glue that is solvent-based can usually be removed with toluene or benzene, or even acetone. Goo Gone is a popular cleaner that may be worth a shot.
Always test the fabric first to see how it will stand up to these chemicals. When using solvents, do a test on a small, hidden area of the garment or on a similar fabric.
Since everyone usually has some nail polish remover on hand, this is the go-to cleaner for all types of mishaps. It is the active ingredient acetone that makes this product so useful for removing glue.
You could use acetone in its pure form, but for more delicate fabrics, the less powerful nail polish remover might be a better choice.
Do not use nail polish remover on color dyed fabric because it will remove the color as well as the glue. Apply the liquid with a cotton ball or swab. Wash the garment as soon as the glue is removed.
The longer the acetone stays on the fabric, the better chance of it damaging the fabric.