Close up of an adhesive glue stain on a table.

How to remove adhesive glue from clothes

When you’re fixing a small chip in your favourite vase, or doing a bit of hasty shoe repair, strong adhesive glue is your friend. It can end up in the wrong place, though – like on your clothes. If you’ve gotten as much glue on the front of your shirt as you have on your latest DIY project, don’t worry. It’s not too hard to remove glue from clothes if you know the right way to go about it!

How to get glue out of clothing

It’s always good to know what you’re trying to remove, so have a look at the list of ingredients on the glue’s product label to see what’s actually in there (and if there are any specific removal tips) before beginning the stain removal process.

We recommend this method for lighter household adhesive stains on durable (not delicate) clothing. For tips on epoxy glue removal, skip to the next section.

Here’s how to remove adhesive glue:

  1. Allow the glue stain to dry. Wet glue is easy to accidentally spread around.
  2. Gently scrape off as much glue as possible using the back of a spoon.
  3. Dab with acetone-soaked cotton wool. This should help you soften and remove the remaining glue. Keep dabbing until the glue has been removed. Acetone can strip the dye off some fabrics, so read the garment care label and try it on a hidden part of the garment before treating a larger area.
  4. Pre-treat the stain with OMO Ultimate Liquid. Use the bottom of the dosing ball to rub the detergent into the fabric.
  5. Wash the item at a low temperature. All other washing machine settings should be selected based on the care label instructions.
  6. Before your garment dries, check to see if you can still see the stain. If the answer is yes, repeat steps 2 through 5. If you can’t see any glue, allow the item to dry naturally, checking it every five minutes or so. Do not tumble dry! If you’re wondering how to remove glue from a delicate fabric, you should probably bring the garment to a professional dry cleaner. They will either tell you how to gently remove the sticky stain, or take care of it for you.

Is epoxy glue removal from fabric possible?

Epoxy glue is an industrial-strength glue, so it can be quite difficult to remove. It may be possible to salvage your clothing, though! Here’s an epoxy glue removal method you can try at home:

  1. Lay the item out on a piece of cardboard to dry. A flattened cereal packet will do. If the stain is on a shirt, it’s a good idea to put the cardboard inside the garment to keep the front and back from sticking together.
  2. Soak in a mixture of warm water and OMO Ultimate Liquid. Check the packet for dosage instructions. This should help to soften the epoxy glue.
  3. Scrape off the glue, soak, and scrape again. After the garment has been soaking for a few minutes, use a spoon to remove as much glue as you can. Keep soaking and scraping for 15 to 30 minutes, making sure that the garment doesn’t dry out. You probably won’t get all of the glue off, but the more you can remove at this point, the better.
  4. Pre-treat with acetone, then rinse. As before, check your garment’s care label first, and test the acetone on a hidden part of the fabric. If the acetone is okay to use, dab it on until the epoxy glue dissolves. Rinse out the acetone with cold water before moving onto the next step.
  5. Apply a commercial stain remover. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, and test on a small area first.
  6. Rinse all products out with cold water.
  7. Check for stains, then repeat or allow to dry as needed. Inspect the area to make sure the glue has come off completely – if there is any left, repeat steps 3 and 4 and then have another look.

Again, this stain removal method isn’t suitable for delicate fabrics, so take any silk or wool with epoxy glue on to a professional!

Now you know how to remove two types of tricky adhesive glue! The good news is that this is about as tough as glue stains get – if you’re dealing with a craft glue stain, things are much easier. Find out how to tackle craft glues like PVA here.