The Surefire Way To Banish Hot Glue Gun Stains From Fabric

It's a Sunday afternoon full of arts and crafts, and you've just grabbed the hot glue gun to finish off the project you're working on. What you likely didn't anticipate was the stream of glue that suddenly dispenses from the nozzle onto your clothes and the sofa below you, leaving you with a thick, sticky, and stubborn problem to deal with. Big oops.

Even though banishing super glue stains from clothes and other fabrics isn't easy, it's not as hard as you may think — and it's likely the solution is lying somewhere around your household essentials. All you need is some rubbing alcohol, acetone, and a scraping tool like the ever-versatile butter knife, an instrument just as useful for scraping glue or cleaning air vents as it is for spreading jam on your toast. 

Before you jump right into cleaning up your mess, it's important to do some damage control. For starters, you'll want to allow the hot glue to dry completely (weird, right?). This ensures that you can remove the stain in one quick sweep, rather than remove it piece-by-piece and waste time in the process. Some home improvement experts suggest placing clothing items in the freezer for approximately 45 minutes to speed up dry time and allow the glue to harden, leaving you with an easier canvas to work with. Once that's set, here's what you do next. 

Try peeling dried hot glue off with your fingers

Once you grab the affected clothes from the freezer, use your fingers or a scraping tool to peel the dried glue off. In many cases, the dried glue will lift right off from the surface. Remove any loose pieces that you're able to peel off, but don't be discouraged if the stain is much more stubborn than you anticipated — we're just getting started. For now, the goal is just to get the big chunk of glue itself off, and work from there. 

Dab rubbing alcohol and acetone around the hot glue stain

If peeling off hardened glue doesn't do the trick, it's time to bring in rubbing alcohol and acetone. Using a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol, dab around the stain for several minutes before observing whether the glue loosens. If you're starting to see some progress, soak a cotton ball or pad in acetone and press it against the loosened stain for a few minutes. 

Once the glue is soaked in a mix of alcohol and acetone, try peeling it off using your fingers. You may need to use a scraping tool and some additional alcohol and acetone to continue removing the product. If this doesn't work, though, it's time to try some slightly more drastic measures. 

Use heat to help peel off hot glue stains

Some glue stains can be so stubborn that even a chemical intervention won't be able to do the job. If that's the case, apply heat to the stain using a hair dryer, steamer, or something else that produces that level of heat. Turn the heated product up to its highest setting and hold it above the stained item of clothing, getting closer if the stain isn't budging. After several minutes, use your scraping tool to peel off the glue. At this point, be sure not to use your fingers until the fabric has cooled down — you don't want to remove a hot glue stain at the expense of your skin!

Wipe the stained area with warm water

Do note that heat is the last resort for a stubborn hot glue stain, which hopefully means your clothes are now stain-free. However, there may be remnants of alcohol, acetone, and an imprint of the stain left behind, especially if the glue touched other fabrics. 

To clear any trace of the stain, soak a soft cloth in warm water and dab it around the stain. While the water and soft cloth will absorb any remaining ingredients, you may also feel free to throw any clothing items into a load of laundry to ensure the fabric is as good as new. Now that you've gone to all this work, though, don't forget to wear an apron or dirty T-shirt the next time you're working with a hot glue gun!