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How to Remove Glue from Wood: Easy Tips

How to Remove Glue from Wood

You probably understand how disastrous glue can be on wood.

Anyway, accidents do happen. While working with wood, you need glue to stick pieces of wood together. However, you may mistakenly spill glue on the wood. When this happens, how do you clean and remove the adhesive from wood? Worry less! This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to remove glue from wood easily.

It takes time and effort to remove the glue spilled on wood since it is porous and quickly soaks in spilled materials. Nevertheless, if the bond is not removed quickly, it may cause damage or leave stains on the wood.

In this article, you will learn various commercial or DIY (Do It Yourself) methods to get rid of glue on wood efficiently and effectively. It is imperative to note that some removal methods work best for raw wood while others work best for finished wood.

Read on to understand how to remove glue from wood easily.

How to Remove Glue from Raw Wood

Raw wood is different from finished wood since it may absorb oils that the finished wood does not absorb. In this regard, you need to be careful and use a different approach from that of finished wood. While removing the glue, you will require the following:

  • Acetone/ nail polish remover
  • Blow Dryer
  • Cotton ball
  • Sandpaper
  • Clean towel
  • Razorblade/ putty knife

Remove glue using Razor Blade

You can use the putty knife/ razor blade to scrape off dried glue drips/ fabric glue from wood. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Take the razor blade/putty knife and try to get it underneath the surface of the dried glue.
  2. Try to peel it upwards, then once done, hold and peel the glue off.
  3. Connect the blow dryer to a power source, set it to heat, and blow the area with the hot air.
  4. The glue will soften due to hot air; you can remove it using a warm and clean towel from the wood.

Using Acetone

Though using the razorblade is effective, it may still leave some adhesive after removing the glob. To remove the adhesive, break it down using acetone.

Use these easy steps:

  1. Wet a cotton ball using acetone. In the absence of acetone, use nail polish remover or white vinegar to remove the adhesive
  2. Place the wet cotton ball over the adhesive, then rub the adhesive
  3. If the adhesive is stubborn, place the wet towel/cotton ball for around 15 minutes, ensuring that the area is wet since acetone evaporates very fast.
  4. Next, rub the area vigorously using a clean rag/towel so that you can remove any adhesive leftovers.
  5. Repeat this process until the results are excellent.

Using Sandpaper

Using the razor blade and nail polish remover/acetone may at times not give the desired results; that’s where sandpaper comes into play. Sandpaper comes in fine, medium, and coarse grit. Fine grit ranges from 300 and above, while the coarse one is usually below 100. The grit of the sandpaper to use will depend on how rough your wood is.

For instance, planed wood requires fine-grit sandpaper while rough sawn timber requires medium or coarse sandpaper. In case you have doubts, which sandpaper will work best for your wood, check the online sandpaper guides.

  1. Select your preferred sandpaper and fold it into two halves.
  2. Sand the affected area thoroughly until you remove all the adhesive
  3. While sanding, keep checking your results since over-sanding may damage the wood.

How to Remove Glue from Wood with Stains

Though it is easier to get the glue off stained wood, you should not scratch the finished wood on furniture or flooring. To remove the glue stains from wood, you will require the following:

  • Hairdryer/ heat gun
  • Clean rag/towel
  • Mineral oil
  • White vinegar
  • Soap

Removing Dry Glue Using Mineral Oil

Once the glue has dried, especially on your hardwood floor, it becomes very challenging to remove it with other methods. However, you can get your wood clean again by following these steps:

  1. Heat the area with the glue using either a hairdryer or heat gun. If you are in a poor-ventilated area, ensure you wear a mask.
  2. Place a wet towel into a microwave for about 30 seconds.
  3. Take the towel out and place it on the glue for 15-30 seconds
  4. Remove the glue by hand or using the towel
  5. Pour some mineral oil into any adhesive leftovers and;
  6. Scrub the glue using a clean rag/ cloth

If you don’t get the wood clean enough, you have two options:

  • Sand the wood, then refinish it
  • Contact a flooring specialist/ installer

How to Naturally Remove Glue from Wood

Even without chemicals, you can still use natural materials such as mayonnaise and orange peels to remove glue stains from your wood.

Here’s how:

Using White Vinegar

Vinegar has acetic acid that can break down wood glue so that it is easy to remove it. It removes wet glue easily but can also remove dried glue if used adequately and left for some time. Use the following procedure to remove the glue using vinegar:

  1. Wet a clean towel with white vinegar; for more effectiveness, you can mix it with one cupful of warm water and 2-3 drops of dish soap.
  2. Rub the glue off using the wet towel until the glue comes off.
  3. If it is tough to remove, apply the mixture and leave it for 10-15 minutes. After this, start scrubbing to remove the adhesive.

Using Orange Peels

Peeling from orange contains traces of citric acid which can assist in breaking down the glue particles, making them smaller, thus easy to clean.

  1. Remove peelings from fresh orange.
  2. Let the orange peelings sit on the wet/dried glue for about 10 minutes
  3. Use a rag to clean/rub the wood

Using Mayonnaise

While the previous natural methods utilized their acidic content to break down glue particles, mayonnaise uses its oil to make the glue soft and easy to remove.

  1. Place some mayonnaise and rub it on the glue
  2. Leave the mayonnaise for 10-15 minutes
  3. Use a rag/clean towel to rub the glue off
  4. Repeat the process if all the glue is not yet removed

Using Hot Water

Hot water can wet the glue so that it loses its grip and becomes easy to remove. The procedure of using hot water is quite simple:

  1. Boil water and pour it into a basin
  2. Soak a clean towel on the hot water
  3. Let the soaked towel sit on the affected area for about 5-10 minutes
  4. Remove the towel and start cleaning off the glue
  5. Use a spatula to scrape off any remaining glue

Using Commercial Methods to Remove Glue from Wood

For quick and easy removal of glue on wood, use a commercial remover. Using commercial cleaners is easy, just read the buyer’s guide and follow the outlined instructions.

You can try the Goo Gone cleaner, which removes adhesive from floors, doors and can also be used to clean wood furniture. Alternatively, you can purchase Goof Off, which removes glue and adhesive from wood, including finished wood.

Other Hacks to Remove Glue from Wood

While the previous methods are great ways to save your wood, they may not be satisfactory to you or lack some of the required materials. However, you can try these other hacks to protect your wood from glue damage and stains:

Using Petroleum Jelly

One of the best removal agents for dried glue is petroleum jelly. Additionally, petroleum jelly is safe to apply in treated wood.

  1. Apply petroleum jelly to the wood surface stained with glue
  2. Leave the jelly overnight or for around eight hours
  3. After this, the glue will have a weak bond. Use a clean towel/rag to wipe off the glue
  4. If you ruined the wood appearance, polish it.

Using White Spirit

White spirit is a cost-effective and safe method of removing glue from surfaces of wood. To remove using this method, follow this procedure:

  1. Apply white spirit on the affected wood surface
  2. Leave the area untouched for about 5 minutes
  3. Wet a clean towel with warm soapy water
  4. Use the damp towel to clean the wood’s surface
  5. Repeat this process until you remove all the glue

Using Dry Ice 

Though dry ice is an effective method of removing glue from wood surfaces, it should be your last option since it is hazardous and requires you to have safety clothing. Nevertheless, you can dash to a grocery/ hardware, buy dry ice and then follow these steps:

  1. Wear protective clothing like gloves and eyeglasses
  2. Place a dry ice cube in a metallic sheet, then place it on the glued surface
  3. Leave it for 2-3 minutes, then remove the sheet
  4. Scrap off the glue


You can use natural, commercial, and other methods to clean glue from your wood. However, the methods may not give satisfactory results. So, what do you do? You can creatively use a home décor or other furniture to cover the stained area. You have learned numerous methods you can use to remove glue stuck on wood. Fortunately, some of these methods are cost-effective and easy to do. So, why not give them a try?

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