How To Get Hot Glue Off Fabric

February 26th, 2020

Sort out hot glue mishaps with this quick and easy tutorial.

We know how it goes. One moment you’re in your happy place, crafting up that awesome project you spotted on Pinterest… and the next moment some melted glue from your glue gun lands on your tablecloth, clothing, carpet, or the fabric that you intended to use for your project.

What a mood killer.

Happily, we’re here with some good news: while hot glue can’t just be pulled or scraped off fabric (it tends to wrap around the fabric threads), it’s still possible to remove it if you know how.

In this article, we’re going to describe four different ways to remove hot glue from fabric. Then we’ll cover how to get it off your carpet. Finally – because we’ve got your back – we’ll explain what to do if you get hot glue on your skin (ouch)… and include an awesome recipe for a healing burn balm that you can make yourself. Because clearly, you like to DIY.

4 Ways to Get Hot Glue Off Fabric

Before you start, be aware that there is no “prescription” method for getting rid of that pesky hot glue glob. One of these methods may work on your very first attempt – yay! – or you may have to cycle through several methods until you’re happy with the results.

Also, to avoid further damage, proceed with caution. No gung-ho hacking at the glue, or splashing it with heavy duty paint remover. For each method, we’ll explain how to avoid damaging your already soiled item.

Without further ado, let’s jump into our hot glue-removing strategies.

The Freezer Method

You will need:

  • A spoon or butter knife

How to do it:

  1. Place the soiled fabric in the freezer. Leave it in there until the glue is brittle and hard (around an hour).
  2. The frozen glue should now be easier to release from the fabric. Quickly lay the fabric item on a flat surface, and snap or scrape the frozen glue off.

Caution: If the fabric is very delicate (think silk, netting or lace), you will have to work carefully to avoid tearing it.

The Iron Method

You will need:

  • An iron
  • A brown paper bag
  • Or, white cotton cloth

How to do it:

  1. Place the soiled fabric on a hard surface (like an ironing board), glue facing upwards.
  2. Place the cotton cloth or paper bag on top of the glue spot.
  3. Heat up your iron, using the correct setting for the type of fabric you’re cleaning. Switch the steam setting off.
  4. Press the iron down on top of the cloth or bag that’s covering the glue. Hold for up to 20 seconds.
  5. Move the cotton cloth or paper bag, so that a clean spot now covers the glob of hot glue. Use the iron again.
  6. Repeat until all the hot glue has been soaked up into the cloth or bag.

Caution: Watch what you’re doing here. You don’t want to overheat the glue and risk melting it further into the fibers of your fabric item.

The Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol Method

You will need:

  • Acetone (like nail polish remover)
  • Or, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol with a percentage of 70 or up)
  • A cotton swab (like an earbud)
  • A spoon or butter knife
  • A clean, wet wiping cloth

How to do it:

  1. Wet a swab with some acetone or rubbing alcohol.
  2. Dab a little on an area of your fabric that’s hard too see: under a hem, or on a corner.
  3. If the fabric’s dye doesn’t react negatively to the liquid on the swab, it’s safe to proceed. If it does, give this method a skip.
  4. Dab the alcohol or acetone around the glue glob. Turn the fabric upside down and cover the base of the glue spill, too.
  5. The alcohol or acetone is going to react with the glue and partially dissolve it. Wait a couple of minutes for the magic to happen.
  6. After you’ve a few minutes, use the spoon or butter knife to gently scrape off the loosened glue.
  7. Wipe down the spot where the glue was with a wet cloth, to help remove any glue, alcohol or acetone that’s left behind.
  8. Put the fabric item through the wash, as you normally would.

Caution: once again, be careful not to tear delicate fabrics when you’re scraping them.

The Goo Gone Method

You will need:

  • Goo Gone
  • A soft cloth
  • Or, a cotton ball

How to do it:

  1. Soak the cloth or cotton ball with Goo Gone.
  2. Gently rub the glue spill with it.
  3. Reapply Goo Gone whenever needed, until the glue has been wiped away.

Caution: don’t use Goo Gone on silk, leather or suede, as it can damage these materials. It’s best to do an inconspicuous spot test before you start.

How to Get Hot Glue Off a Carpet

We’ve covered how to get hot glue off your beloved fabric item. Now, let’s look at four effective ways to remove it from your fluffy carpet. Remember to finish each method off with some carpet cleaner, applied according to the instructions on the packaging.

Scrape It While It’s Hot

By the time you’ve gotten to this point in our article, your glue spill is hard and dry. However, here’s a tip for next time: if glue drops on your carpet, quickly grab a sharp knife or another sharp blade and scrape the glue while it’s still melted. Use a quick, upward flick, wiping the glue off the blade as you go to avoid spreading it.

This method works best on a carpet where any remaining glue won’t be noticed that easily – like a carpet that’s already seen some wear, or a highly patterned carpet. If your carpet is plain, or still in pristine condition, rather leave the glue to dry and use one of the methods below.

Freeze It Off with an Ice Pack

Once the glue has hardened, grab an ice pack from the freezer. A DIY ice pack of a Ziploc bag filled with ice cubes works well, too. Place it on the glue spill. Wait a while for the glue to freeze and become brittle. This may take an hour or more, and require changing the pack or cubes. Once the glue is frozen, you can use a spoon or butter knife to scrape it off.

Iron It Away

You can use the ironing method we described above on the carpet, too. Use an extension cord for the iron if there’s no power outlet close to the spill. Be sure to look up what temperatures can be used on the materials of your carpet before you begin.

Melt It with Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol

If you decide to attack the glue spill with some acetone or rubbing alcohol, do a spot test first on a small area of carpet that’s hardly ever seen. If you rarely move your furniture around, you could use a spot under your couch or bedside table. Or if you have a sample from when you were carpet shopping, or a scrap left over from the installation, you could use that. Test out the acetone or rubbing alcohol on the spot you’ve chosen, to make sure it won’t damage your carpet. If it’s safe to proceed, follow the method we described above.

How to Wash Hot Glue Off Your Skin… And How to Heal the Burn

Hot glue guns are awesome. But sometimes, painful accidents happen. Here’s what to do if hot glue lands on bare skin.

  1. Rush to a faucet and run cold water over the affected area. This will cool the glue down and prevent further burning.
  2. If you can’t get the affected area under a faucet, soak it in a bowl of cold water, or press an ice pack onto the glue.
  3. Once the glue is cold and hard, soak a cotton ball in olive oil and start to rub the oil all around the glue spill. This should help to loosen the glue. Use the oil-soaked cotton to gently work off the hardened glue.
  4. If the glue isn’t coming off, seek medical attention.
  5. Once all the glue is rubbed off, run the area under cold water again to rinse off the olive oil.
  6. Proceed as you usually would with treating the burn.

And here’s a recipe for an amazing homemade burn balm that cleans, soothes, moisturizes and regenerates. While this balm should never be used in place of professional medical treatment, it’s a sweet-smelling home remedy that can help to heal everyday burns.

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