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How do I clean hot melt glue from fabric?

Hot melt glue is strong stuff. Since it is applied in a liquid, melted state, it is able to wrap around the fibers before hardening to a solid bond. There are a few methods that can be implemented to remove the glue from fabrics. It may take several attempts to find the right solution for the particular fabric.

Freezer Method

You Will Need:

  • Freezer
  • Spoon or dull knife

Steps to Remove the Hot Glue:

  1. Hot glue becomes brittle when it gets extremely cold. In this case, it’s an advantage. Place the item in the freezer and allow the glue to get very cold and brittle.
  2. Remove it and work quickly with a spoon or dull knife to break up the glue and scrape it away. Often the glue will pop off of the surface when it is so cold.


Iron Method

You Will Need:

  • Iron
  • Cotton cloth

Steps to Remove the Hot Glue:

  1. Find a scrap piece of cotton fabric and lay it flat on an ironing board.
  2. Lay the glued piece, glue side down, on top of the cotton fabric.
  3. Apply a hot iron (no steam) for 10-20 seconds.
  4. Remove the iron and carefully peel the clothing off of the fabric.
  5. Move the glue spot to a new area on the cotton fabric and repeat.
  6. Continue until all of the glue is transferred off of the clothing and onto the cotton piece.


Acetone Method

You Will Need:

  • Acetone or
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls or soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Hot Glue:

  1. Acetone is a well-known adhesive remover and works well for removing thin layers of hot glue.
  2. It is important to test a small, hidden area first to ensure there is no damage to the colors or fiber of the clothing.
  3. Once the test area comes out fine, moisten a cotton ball with acetone or acetone nail polish remover and apply it to the glue.
  4. Blot with a clean cloth. The acetone will break down the glue so it can be transferred to the clean cloth.
  5. Continue applying the acetone and blotting to remove until the glue is completely gone.


Additional Tips and Ideas

  • A brown paper bag, newspaper (NOT with print) or wax paper can be substituted for the cotton cloth if necessary.
  • Westech CCAR is an adhesive remover that is readily available at Monarch Industries. Simply apply with a soft cloth or cotton ball and rub gently until the glue is gone.