How to Remove Hot Glue from Plastic

Knowing how to remove hot glue from plastic is a technique that every DIY master should know. I have been there joyfully working on my crafts when abruptly, hot glue spilt off to an unintended surface, spoiling my moods immediately. It may also happen to you. 

 Whether the hot glue spilt off accidentally or you are separating two plastic surfaces joined together initially with hot glue, this guide will tell you how to remove hot glue from plastic. 

Let’s go through the methods. 

How To Remove Hot Glue From Plastic

Use rubbing/isopropyl alcohol to remove hot glue from plastic. In a well-ventilated workstation, soak the hot glue-stained surface with rubbing alcohol and let it sit for a few minutes as the alcohol weakens the glue stains before scraping off with a knife or a scraper. 

Tips and Precautions 

If you spill the hot glue on an unintended surface, wait for the glue to dry or harden before you start removing it. You can speed up the hardening process by placing an ice cube or running cold water on it. 

Wear protective gear such as rubber gloves because some of the hot glue solvents suggested in this article can cause skin irritation. 

Work in a well-ventilated area for proper air circulation.

Test the solvent in an inconspicuous area because some solvents can damage or melt some plastic types. If safe, continue with the project. 

Seek medical attention if the pain does not subdue within two days after removing hot glue from your skin. 

Give your preferred method a second try if all the hot glue doesn’t lift off on the first attempt. 

How To Remove Hot Glue From Plastic With Vegetable Oil 

Apart from frying our favorites, vegetable oil has cleaning properties. Using vegetable oil is the cheapest way to remove hot glue from plastic because it’s a household product. 

The Supplies You Will Need 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Water 
  • Soft cloths 
  • Gloves 
  • Cotton swab
  • Scouring pad 
  • Dish soap 
The Steps 

Step 1: Prepare your products and tools. Put the items together to make the work easier. Also, remember to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin. Vegetable oil may not be harmful, but some people have sensitive skin. 

Step 2: Soak the plastic surface. Pour enough vegetable oil on a cotton swab and spread it on the hot glue residues. Spread the oil in circular motions to saturate all of the hot glue. 

Step 3: Let the oil soak into the hot glue residue for an hour. It allows the oil to weaken the hot glue bonds, making them easier to remove. 

Step 4: Scrub off the glue. Gently scrub the surface with a scouring pad. You can also use the abrasive side of a standard kitchen sponge if you can’t access a scouring pad. 

Continue scrubbing until you lift off all the hot glue residues. If the glue doesn’t come out, soak the glue residue again for another hour before scrubbing it off again. 

Remember, the more you soak, the more the hot glue weakens. So do not shy off from repeating the process. 

Step 5: Wash the surface with warm water and soap. Wipe down the surface with soap and a soft, damp cloth to remove hot glue and oil residues. Rinse with warm water until the surface is no longer sticky. 

Step 6: Allow the surface to dry. You can dry the surface with a clean, soft cloth or let it air-dry outdoors. 

How To Remove Hot Glue From Plastic With Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing alcohol is a regular cleaning solvent for most DIY projects. It has cleaning properties that break down the toughest stains on various surfaces, including hot glue on plastic. 

The higher the percentage of alcohol, the more reliable it is when removing stains. 70% alcohol concentration will work effectively on hot glue residues. 

Apart from rubbing alcohol, you can also use acetone or nail polish remover because it contains acetone as the main ingredient. However, be careful when using acetone because it can easily damage the surface. 

The Supplies You Will Need 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Water 
  • Scraper 
  • Soft cloth 
  • Spoon/Butter knife 
  • Gloves 
  • Paintbrush/Cotton swab 
The Steps 

Step 1: Test the effects of rubbing alcohol on your plastic. Dab a few drops of rubbing alcohol in an inconspicuous area of the plastic and gauge its effects. Some plastics may melt or dent on contact with rubbing alcohol. Testing reveals how the plastic surface will react with rubbing alcohol. If safe, proceed with the cleaning project. 

Step 2: Immerse a cotton swab or paintbrush in the alcohol and rub it on the hot glue. Ensure the glue is saturated with alcohol 

Step 3: Let the alcohol work on the glue for  2-5 minutes. The rubbing alcohol will react with glue, weakening its grip on the plastic surface. 

Step 4: Peel the glue off with your fingers or scraper/butter knife. Use the whole fingers to gain more control when peeling off. Avoid using a metal scraper as it can scratch the plastic surface. 

If the hot glue is holding two surfaces, carefully remove one surface and then remove the glue from the other surface or both. 

Step 5: If the glue doesn’t peel off easily, add more rubbing alcohol and wait for 2-5 minutes. The longer you wait, the easier it becomes to remove the glue. Once it has weakened, peel it off using your scraper, fingers, or butter knife. 

Step 6: Clean the surface. After you have removed all the glue, wipe the surface with a soft, damp cloth to wipe away the glue and alcohol residues. 

Step 7: Allow the plastic surface to dry. 

How to Remove Hot Glue from Plastic with Vinegar

If you don’t mind the smell, you can use vinegar to remove hot glue from your plastic. Vinegar contains acetic acid that breaks the glue bonds making it easy to peel off the surface. 

The Supplies You Will Need
  • Dish soap
  • Plastic scraper/Palette knife
  • Water 
  • White vinegar 
  • Spray bottle 
  • Paper towel
  • Soft cloths 
  • Gloves  
The Steps 

Step 1: Soak the glue stains with white vinegar. Add enough white vinegar to a spray bottle and spray it on the plastic surface with hot glue. You can also dampen a paper towel or clean cloth and lay it over the unwanted hot glue. 

Step 2: Wait for 15-30 minutes as the acetic acid loosen the hot glue grips. 

Step 3: Peel off the hot glue with a palette knife/plastic scraper. The hot glue should come off quickly. If it doesn’t, repeat steps 1 and 2, then give it a second try. 

Step 4: Once clean, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove vinegar and hot glue residues. 

Step 5: Wash the surface with dish soap and warm water to remove the unpleasant white vinegar smell. 

Step 6: Let the plastic surface dry. 

How to Remove Hot Glue from Plastic with Baking Soda and Oil 

A concoction of oil and baking soda removes all types of glue from plastic, including hot glue. So you only need to be patient and put in some effort. 

The Supplies You Will Need 
  • Clean towel 
  • Dish soap 
  • Baking soda
  • Oil (olive, vegetable, or coconut)
  • Kitchen sponge 
  • Soft cloths  
  • Gloves 
The Steps 

Step 1: Mix equal parts of baking soda and oil in a container. Stir the mixture until it forms a thick paste, maybe to the consistency of toothpaste. Baking soda works as an exfoliant scrub to lift off the hot glue.  

You can use any oil such as olive, vegetable, or coconut oil. A few drops of essential oil into the mixture will leave your plastic smelling nice. The size of hot glue will determine the amount of paste you should make. 

Step 2: Spread the paste on the hot glue spots. Use a soft cloth to spread the paste on the surface, ensuring all the hot glue is covered completely. 

Step 3: Let the paste sit on the glue for 30 minutes. The paste will soften the glue, making it easier to peel off or wipe away. The more the paste stays on the hot glue, the easier it becomes to remove. 

Step 4: Scrub off the glue with an abrasive kitchen sponge. Scrub the surface thoroughly until you remove all the hot glue. Repeat steps 2 and 3 if the glue isn’t lifting off before scrubbing again. 

Step 5: Wash the surface with warm soapy water. Dampen a cloth with soapy warm water solution and wipe down the plastic surface to remove the paste and glue residues. 

Step 6: Allow the surface to air dry. You can also dry the surface with a clean towel. 

How to Remove Hot Glue from Skin 

If hot glue could spill onto the unintended plastic surfaces, the hot glue could also get to our skin. So why not learn how to remove them off our skin. 

Accidents do happen, and at some point, hot glue may spill to your body, especially the hands. Therefore, it is essential to know how to remove hot glue from your skin. 

The Supplies You Will Need 
  • Distilled vinegar 
  • An ice cube or cold water 
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage 
  • Soft cloth 
  • Olive oil/Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball 
The Steps

Step 1: Let cold water run over the affected area for 10 minutes. The cold water helps to prevent further burning. Alternatively, you can place an ice cube over the glue if the burning is not severe. 

If you don’t have a running tap, pour cold water in a bowl and soak the affected area for 10-15 minutes. While at it, rub the affected area with your fingers to remove the outer coat of the hot glue. 

Step 2: Allow the hot glue to dry completely. Avoid removing hot glue from the skin when it’s melted or hot because it may cause deep and severe wounds. 

Step 3: Dampen a cotton ball in olive oil, then rub it on the affected area. Apply firm pressure while rubbing back and forth to get the glue lifting off.  

Repeat the process as you dampen the cotton ball until you remove all the glue. 

Alternatively, you can use rubbing alcohol. However, rubbing alcohol may cause more harm, especially if the skin is burned. 

Step 4: Wipe the glue residues off your skin with a soft cloth. Be careful not to pull your skin off or hair from the affected area. 

Step 5: Run cold water over the affected area once more. The water will further cool the affected area while also removing excess oil or alcohol from the affected area. 

Apply distilled vinegar to the affected area to further reduce the pain and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it. 

Step 6: Apply an antibiotic ointment. Spread an antibiotic ointment on the affected area and cover it with a bandage. You may as well take some painkillers. 

Let the spot heal naturally. Some blisters may develop; however, do not pop them. 

If the pain persists beyond two days, visit your doctor for professional services. 

How to Clean a Hot Glue Gun 

Hot glue guns often attract dust that forms debris over time. Glue residues may also block the gun nozzle if left to accumulate. Therefore cleaning a hot glue gun after use is a necessary process. 

The Supplies You Will Need 
  • Aluminum foil
  • Heat gun/Blow dryer 
  • Acetone/Rubbing alcohol 
  • Clean rag/Paper towel 
  • Gloves 
The Steps 

Step 1: Tear off a sizable piece of aluminum foil. Cut a square piece from your aluminium foil and roll it into a ball. 

Step 2: Scrub the gun tip with the foil ball. Ensure the gun is warm as you rotate the ball on the tip to scrub off glue and debris. 

Step 3: Rub the gun with the foil ball. Once the tip is clean, rub the ball on the rest of the gun. Again, ensure the gun is warm to easily remove glue and other debris.  

Step 4: Heat the gun with a blow dryer or heat gun. Place the gun on a silicon mat and wrap it tightly with aluminium foil. Heat it with a blow dryer or heat gun. The debris and glue should lift off and stick to the foil, making it easier to remove. Repeat the process if necessary. 

Cleaning the Hot Glue Gun with Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol 

You can as well use acetone or rubbing alcohol to clean your hot glue gun. Apply enough acetone/rubbing alcohol on a clean rag or paper towel and spread it on the hot glue gun. Let it sit for a few minutes as the acid works on the stains. Once clean, wipe off the stain and dried glue residues. You may need to repeat the process a few times to achieve the desired results.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Does acetone dissolve hot glue? 

Acetone dissolves hot glue and any other adhesive. Before applying, test in an inconspicuous area to gauge if acetone will damage the plastic. If safe, soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and apply on the hot glue stain. Wait for a few minutes before scraping or wiping away. Then, wash the surface with warm water and allow it to dry. Nail polish remover contains acetone as one of the ingredients.  

How do you remove dried hot glue? 

Dampen Q-Tip in rubbing alcohol and brush the hot glue spots starting from the edges with the Q-Tip. Wait for 2-5 minutes as the hot glue weakens, then peel off the hot glue from your surface. 

What is the best solvent for glue? 

The best solvent for glue is isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl dissolves adhesives from various surfaces such as ceramics and plastics. However, do not rub too hard or use alcohol on delicate surfaces.

Test the alcohol in a small hidden area to check if it will damage the surface. If safe, proceed with the project. 

How to remove hot glue from fabric 

Step 1: Soak a Q-Tip in rubbing alcohol

Step 2: Brush the dried glue spot with the damp Q-Tip

Step 3: Wait for a few minutes as the alcohol weakens the hot glue 

Step 4: Catch from the edge and peel the hot glue off the fabric 

You can also remove hot glue from the fabric by freezing it for 30 minutes as the glue hardens. Once hardened, peel the glue off the fabric. 

Wrapping Up 

You don’t need to do expensive bulk shopping to clean up hot glue from plastic and other surfaces. Most of the supplies required are household products, and they will help you remove hot glue from plastic if you put effort and follow the correct procedure. 

Now that you know how to remove hot glue from plastic using various methods,  ensure you have this guide on standby before starting your DIY project because you never know when that hot glue will split on an unintended surface.