“Consumer Reports” ran tests and experiments on the best glues, which included 23 products at the time of publication. The criteria included water resistance as well as the force needed to separate glued metal, plastics and wood. You obviously have numerous choices of glues for various personal projects, including crafts, home improvement and repairs. Unfortunately, this abundance of glue formulas means that cleaning caked-on glue stains from fabrics will vary significantly as well. Glue-removal techniques from laundry often are a matter of the type of glue or adhesive.
Regular All-Purpose Glue
Students may use all-purpose glue for school projects, and anyone can use it for crafts and other fun activities. When all-purpose glue dries on a surface, such as a table or even the body’s skin, most people use hot water and soap to effectively dissolve away glue. To remove dried-on glue in clothing, you should soak the fabric in lukewarm water for about 24 hours to soften the hardened glue film, according to Elmer’s Products, Inc. After the soaking time passes, launder the garment in the washing machine, per usual. Follow the fabric care label, such as how to avoid fading.
Glue is also a repair aide, sometimes requiring a strong and enduring bond. For example, people commonly repair broken ceramic coffee-mug handles with strong bonding glue, which can withstand repeated dishwashings in water. According to the Super Glue Corporation, you need to use the chemical solvent acetone to remove strong bonding glue from garments. Acetone is one of the ingredients in fingernail polish removers. Test a few drops of acetone on an inconspicuous spot of the fabric first, to test for fading or damage. Then, use a cotton swab soaked in acetone to dab the dried-on glue stain. Gently scrape away at the glue using an old toothbrush. Continue to reapply acetone, while scraping at layers of glue, until the glue is gone.
Another category of glue is called adhesives, which also create a strong bond. As an example, the 3M Corporation manufactures a spray-on adhesive that binds a variety of items, including cardboard, metal, wood and plastic. It is easy for users to overspray, getting some glue on garments. The company recommends that people use a piece of masking tape to pull as much of the adhesive away from fabric as possible first. Afterward, dab a cloth in solvent, such as turpentine, mineral spirits or citrus-based cleaners. Gently wipe away the residual adhesive with the solvent cloth. Again, test the solvent, as well as the masking tape, on an inconspicuous area. The tape could actually pull too many fibers away from the garment, leaving a blemish.
Stickers have a self-adhesive on the back that, if abruptly removed from fabric, can damage that section of your garment. Leave the sticker attached if you have not already removed it. Mary Gagliardi, also known as “Dr. Laundry,” gives expert advice on soaking the garment with a stain cleaner and water in a bucket overnight, per instructions on the packaging. Do not just target the stickered spot, because the stain remover may slightly change the color of that area only, if it does not have a color-protecting formula. Her method essentially dissolves the sticker away, but you may have residual adhesive “goo.” Use a “goo removal” product found at local hardware stores. Again, always test any chemical on the fabric.