It’s a story that anyone who has ever worked with super glue knows all too well. You’ve super glued something prematurely or crookedly or otherwise incorrectly, and now you’re “stuck” trying to figure out how to get the glue out.
If you have to remove that glue from skin or a body part, you should apply a warm compress and consult a doctor immediately.
If you have to remove it from glass, it won’t be quick or easy, but because super glue has a harder time binding to a smooth surface such as glass or plastic, with enough time and effort there’s a good chance it can be done.
But what about removing super glue from a surface to which it really sticks, like wood? Super glue is okay at sticking wood together (obviously not as good as a solid wood glue like I’ve written about here), which can make it incredibly difficult to remove it. Nevertheless, by following one of these procedures, you can remove super glue from wood effectively.
5 Tips for Removing Super Glue from Wood
If you have it available, one of the first options that you’ll want to consider is acetone. It is a commercial glue remover that can handle most weaker glues, and can sometimes be up to the task of removing super glue from wood. Acetone can damage paint, so you’ll want to be sure to put down tape to prevent the acetone from leaking into the wood or getting into your paint.
Instead, you’ll want to gently wet a rag or cotton swab. Let the acetone sit for at least a minute, and then check the progress.
As will be the case with several of the options on this list, one dose alone may not be enough to do the trick. Given how strong super glue is, sometimes the best way to try to loosen things stuck together with it is by applying the removal agent multiple times. This will take time and patience, but it can be done.
That’s the attitude that you’ll want to take when using acetone. If necessary, add more, but take care not to add too much for the reasons mentioned above. You can find acetone here on Amazon if you don’t have it lying around.
If you are looking for an alternative to acetone that is less of a risk to your paint and wood, you may want to consider using white vinegar instead. Take your time when applying white vinegar, as applying too much too quickly can risk causing the same problems that you were trying to avoid with acetone. Apply about 120ml to the super glued area, press firmly, wait at least 15 minutes, and check the progress before considering applying more.
Mayonnaise and Orange Peels
If you’re the type of person who prefers an all-natural approach to things, you may want to consider using mayonnaise and orange peels to help remove super glue from wood. If the idea of using either of these to remove super glue from one wood sounds a bit odd, remember that mayonnaise has natural oils that can be useful in breaking down adhesives.
In addition, the citrus that is contained in orange peels can also help break down adhesives, while the peels themselves can soak up small glue spots.
You can use mayonnaise and orange peels together or separately. In the case of the latter, you’ll want to let them sit on the super glued surface for at least ten minutes, remove them, and swab the area with a cleaning agent such as those described above. As with the previous methods, for best results, you may need to resort to repeated applications.
For as strong as super glue is, no substance is without its weakness. Heat is one of the great super glue killers. While super glue can still be used in hot temperatures, it does have its limits, and prolonged exposure to heat is one of the biggest obstacles to effectively working with super glue on outdoor projects.
Thankfully, this means that it can make for an ideal way to melt super glue and remove it from a wooden surface. There are any number of different tools that you can use to generate heat, though given the fact that you are still working with a wooden surface, you’ll want to be careful that whatever you use does not inadvertently scorch the surface itself. A hair dryer may be sufficient.
When it comes to using heat to remove super glue, the more direct the application, the better.
Sanding Things Down
Last but not least, if you are looking to remove super glue from wood and don’t mind potentially smoothing the surface a bit, sandpaper may be a viable solution. You’ll want to use sandpaper that is at least 600-grit, and firmly press and rub the paper over the super glued area while taking care not to press so hard as to damage the surface.
Accidentally super gluing surfaces together can be quite frustrating. However, as these methods show, there are ways to undo your super glue accident. If you want to read more about the 4 major differences between super glue and gorilla glue, click here to read my comparison post on them.